Upcoming Events

 Please note the conference this year will be at the slightly later date of 5-8 August 2024, at Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Further details here.


Regular meeting venue: Meeting are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month, normally in the hall of Gad’s Hill School which is in the grounds of Charles Dickens’ home, Gad’s Hill Place. Entrance is via the main school entrance in Crutches Lane. There is a car park, good wheelchair access and facilities for the disabled.
Hon Gen Secretary: Steve Martin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 01474 560250
Treasurer: Vacant post
Webpage administrator: Claire Hitchcock This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web page for house: www.gadshillplace.co.uk
Membership Application Form 

One of the oldest and most respected branches in the Dickens Fellowship, branch 13 was founded in 1903. Rochester and Chatham have close links with Dickens, who spent his childhood years in Chatham and his later years at Gad’s Hill in Higham near Rochester. The connecting towns are featured in many of his novels. Rochester has two Dickens festivals a year. Our branch president is Gerald Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens. We have an interesting and varied programme of talks and social events. We strive to be all inclusive and pride ourselves on our proactive outreach attitude. Some of our members are part of our voluntary team of guides that host tours of Gad’s Hill Place during its open season.

Rochester & Chatham Dickens Fellowship

Secretaries “What’s on Guide”, 6 April 2024

Branch Meeting Thursday 18 April: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Jeremy Clarke has had to postpone his talk about William Cuffay to a future date. This will now be a Members reading night consisting of several short extracts from Dickens books or about his life followed by branch business read by members.

Rochester Sweeps Festival: Provisional dates for the 2024 Rochester Sweeps Festival are Saturday 4th, Sunday 5th and Monday 6th May. We have been asked to take part in the festival. Sweeps parade to be on Monday 6th May.

Branch Meeting Thursday 16 May: David Burton with his presentation "The Tales of the Riverbank" talk part two.

Rochester Summer Dickens Festival: The Rochester Summer Dickens Festival has been cancelled. Some groups intend to turn up on Saturday to walk about but there is no organised festival.

Broadstairs Dickens Festival Friday 14th to Sunday 16th June: The Director of the Broadstairs Dickens Festival has invited our members at attend. We are invited in costume to take part or not in costume to just enjoy the festival. Details to follow, further information from Steve Martin and their web site below. Some of the draft Saturday events are also below, the Grand Parade is probably the highlight - www.broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk

Saturday   - Victorian Fayre at Pierremont Hall - outside

          - Display and sale of costumes - Pierremont Hall

           - Grand Parade - 12 noon (time tbc as waiting on approval)

           - Punch & Judy at Pierremont

           - Coffee/tea and bar available all day @ Pierremont

           - Declaimers @ Dickens House Museum - 2 pm (time tbc)


Branch Meeting Thursday 20 June, Deborah Collins - "Drunkenness, Madness and Bigamy - The Staff of Strood Union Workhouse".

Armed Forces Day Saturday 29th June, This year’s national Armed Forces day is on Saturday the 29th June. This years Armed Forces Day is being held in Chatham Historic Dockyard, details to follow. No reply to date.

Branch Meeting Thursday 18 July, The July branch meeting is the summer outing. It starts with a guided tour of Rochester Cathedral. The tour starts at 11am and estimated to take an hour and cost £5.50, in advance, per person. After the tour, it is hoped members stay and purchase their own refreshment in the Cathedral Crypt Café, tables have been reserved. Member Christine Bostock has taken over the running of the event and details have been emailed to members. Further information and details of how to pay for your tour to follow.

Ellenor Hospice Open Garden Sunday 28th July: We have been asked if we would like to attend in Victorian/Dickensian costume to add colour and may be provide a talk. The event is an open garden fund raising event at Little Hermitage in Higham on Sunday 28th July between 1 and 5 pm. Details to follow, further information from Steve Martin.

Dickens Fellowship Conference 5 to 8 August: The 117th Annual Conference of the International Dickens Fellowship, themed “Dickens on Holidays” is in Portsmouth from 5–8 August 2024.

Hoo Peninsula Heritage Festival - 7th and 8th September

We have been asked to take part in the Hoo Peninsula Heritage Festival taking place on 7th and 8th September in Hoo. The five areas at the centre of the festival are: Thomas Aveling, the artist William Lionel Wyllie, Charles Dickens, William Hogarth and pioneering farmer Henry Pye. Details to follow, further information from Steve Martin

Salute to the 40’s September We have been asked to take part in the Salute to the 40’s event in Chatham Historic Dockyard. Details to follow but home front WW2 uniforms or civilian costumes and be prepared to educate on Charles Dickens and his descendants connection to the Dockyard. Notes on the connections will be available from Steve ASAP.

Branch AGM Meeting Thursday 19 September The branch AGM is on Thursday 19th September, there will be no speaker

Branch Meeting Thursday 17 October, Details TBC.

Branch Meeting Thursday 21 November, Details TBC.

Branch Meeting Thursday 19 December The December meeting will consist of a Christmas Dinner. Suggestions from members on a venue are welcome. Further details TBA.

Notes: Further information from Steve Martin via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01474 560250

Branch meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month, 6.15 for a 6.30 pm start between September and June. Venue - Gad’s Hill School Hall. Gravesend Road, Higham ME3 7DS (School car park entrance via Crutches Lane).


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