Broadstairs Dickens Festival

The Broadstairs Charles Dickens Festival has been taking place on the third week in June since 1937, when the local council wanted to celebrate one hundred years since the famous Victorian writer began visiting the town for his Summer holidays. With varying levels of enthusiasm, the tradition of holding readings and performances of his works and dressing up as his characters has continued ever since. It remains so delightfully amateurish that I actually found it difficult to work out the actual date and time of this year’s parade from the organiser’s website and very nearly got my granddaughters all dressed up a week early for a completely different event in Rochester.

Well, I’m not sure that Lily wouldn’t have preferred to miss out the dressing-up part altogether, judging by the disdainful look on her face when I picked her up from school in a crinoline and poke bonnet but little Rose was in her element. Six years old and already announcing that she was learning about “The Christmas Carol” at school, she sat and watched a film version of “Great Expectations” all the way through in preparation for her part as Estella, taking careful note of the number of hair ribbons and petticoats needed to achieve an appropriate level of hauteur.

No, Grandma did not give in to the temptation to appear in a bedraggled wedding dress as poor Miss Havisham but instead donned a tricolour and a bloodstained apron and went to the parade as Madame Defarge much to the delight of some visiting foreign students that we met later on the sea front. It seems that someone actually appreciated the way in which I’d hung severed heads from my basket of knitting wool and, much to my granddaughter’s embarrassment, we posed for several pictures.


Categories: Britain, East of England

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