STOP PRESS: Saturday January 20th at 2 PM A reading from 'A Christmas Carol' Eastgate House, Rochester ME1 1EW
In support of the Dickens Chalet Restoration Fund
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The Rochester Dickensian Christmas celebrations took place on the weekend of December 2nd and 3rd 2017. The weather on the first day was sunny, and milder then the preceding few days. This led to what
felt like a record turnout, which at times was quite uncomfortably crowded.
Sunday was overcast but milder still, with large but more comfortable numbers of visitors.
One feature of Rochester High Street that has attracted comments from Dickens supporters around the world is the absence of the eighteenth century High Street clock. After a major refurbishment it made a hurried return to its proper place on the day before the festival. It was still surrounded by scaffolding, but it was telling the right time and should soon be visible in all its splendour.
The candle-lit parade and carol service outside the Cathedral was as always the high spot of the day; this year Canon The Rev'd Rachel Phillips led the proceedings with an endless supply of corny Christmas jokes. We ended with two verses of 'Jingle Bells'. The second verse ends up with the sledge running into a ditch and the occupants getting 'upsot', which can be read as either 'upset' or 'drunk' as the listener prefers! (more on Wikipedia)
Angela Clark has published a huge album of excellent pictures on Facebook.
We have been sent an album of 81 pictures by Ian. You can download the images - you will be asked to register your email address, but
nothing bad seems to follow! Ian has told us that some of his pictures were lost in transfer to the server. He has since added them, so he suggests that you might like to revisit his site.
You can see a video of the candle-lit parade on our new Facebook group page - anyone can see the page and if you join the group you can post your news and pictures there as well.
We welcome any pictures you want to share with us - join the Facebook group or click here to find out how to send them by a more traditional route.
Scroll down the page or click here to see our 2018 festival news.
This year the Dickens Festival Mistletoe Ball took place in the magnificent Corn Exchange in the High Street on Saturday December 2nd.
The evening kicked off with a tremendous Christmas themed three course meal, followed by dancing with Tony Ellingham and his band 'Unit Five' in a wide range of styles.
We understand that the 2018 Rochester Dickens Festival will be a two day event on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2018 (local half term week) and the Dickensian Christmas will be Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December 2018.
Can we help the City of Rochester Society? Yes we can! On August 13th we asked if anybody had a copy of the programme for the first Dickens Festival in 1979 for a history of the City of Rochester Society Rob Flood is writing. Within eight hours Mark Dennis had seen the request on our Facebook page, unearthed his copy and scanned it for us! Such is the power of the social network.
We are also trying to set up a picture archive for the festivals for this website. If you have anything from the early years please contact us.
Sorry that the visit to Foshan China for the 2017 Autumn festival did not go ahead, I hope as we have a longer time frame to get things organised it will happen, I have been given dates of either 27th and 28th Oct or 3rd and 4th Nov, Dickens characters welcome, e.g. 2 sailors and their ladies, Fagin and Nancy, plus ballroom dancers( able to waltz ) 5 couples, 2 Victorian policeman, there will be 1 nights stay in Hong Kong going out and as many nights as you wish to stay after,
these are at your ex spence as will visas and train fare to China , you will get discounted flights plus free accommodation and food in Foshan. If you'd like to know more please email me email@example.com,
We have now lost four good friends of the festivals since Christmas 2017. Robin Burfoot, the town crier of Medway since 2004 died of heart failure on 22nd March 2017. Until his recent health problems he was regularly seen at events all around Medway, including the Rochester festivals.
Keith Biddlecombe passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on 6th March. Keith was a regular and much loved participant at the Dickens Festivals as well as being a regular and very visible helper at the Dickens costume sales.
We feel the loss
particularly because Vicki is an administrator and regular contributor for our Facebook page.
We are sad to report that Harvey Haynes, who was a supporter of the Dickens festivals over many years passed away at the end of January.
We have also lost Marion Stokes, who passed away in January. Our condolences to her husband Joe, also a great supporter of the Festivals.
The Rochester Flea is a monthly fleamarket which has been one of our favourite local venues when we can get to it. Recently they have been 'taking a break', but the good news is that they returned in June 2017!
Saturday January 20th at 2 PM A reading from 'A Christmas Carol' Eastgate House, Rochester ME1 1EW
The Dickens Declaimers from the Broadstairs Dickens Fellowship will perform a reading from 'A Christmas Carol' on Saturday 20th January at Eastgate House, Rochester, at 2 pm. Broadstairs branch will be supported by Rochester and Chatham members in this fund raising event. Limited ticket availability at £5 each. All proceeds to go to the fellowships Dickens Chalet Restoration Fund. There will be a short introduction on the history of the story and Dickens' life at the time of writing it by TV historian Steve Martin (BBC The One Show, Great British Railway Journeys, Secret Britain etc).
Name of attendees and a cheque payable to 'The Rochester & Chatham Dickens Fellowship’ may be sent to: Treasurer R&CDF. 90, Taverners Road, Rainham, Gillingham, Kent. ME8 9AQ.
Unsold tickets (subject to availability) will be on sale at the venue prior to the performance.
2018 is the 175th anniversary of the first publication of A Christmas Carol. Dickens undertook fund raising readings in Chatham at least six times and read The Carol at least twice
Easter Weekend 1-2 April 2018
Festival of Steam and Transport The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE
More on the website -
Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2018 Rochester Dickens Festival Click here for provisional information from Medway Council, the event organisers
20-26 August 2018 The Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival 2018 Temple Street, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5DY
Provisional schedule -
This year the funfair will comprise a Helter Skelter, Big Wheel, Steam Organ, Flying Chairs, Cup and Saucer plus two others; please check the local papers from 1st August for free ride coupons. Old favourites such as Gypsy Rose will be back plus stalls a Military Enclosure and Archeology Cymru with their Ghost Walks. The Suffragette Demonstration and Mardi Gras will also be part of the week's activities.