Mummy, I Want to Visit the Blacking Factory Again!

Literary tourists brace yourselves, for this month a theme park based on the life and characters of Charles Dickens opens in the author’s childhood home of Chatham Maritime, Kent.

Dickens World, as it’s been christened, will be a loving homage to one of Britain’s greatest writers.

The experience will feature a Dickensian Shopping Mall, together with a multitude of attractions and rides, including a mix of themed restaurants, bars and a multiplex cinema. Dickens World will also have facilities for seasonal variations, particularly over the Christmas period in which the attraction will convert into a Dickensian winter wonderland, replete with snow and other characteristics of a bygone era, complemented by a magnificent water feature which over the festive season changes into a spectacular ‘ice fantasia’ dominated by ‘The Spirit of Christmas’, ‘JackFrost’, ‘Scrooge’ and a host of other delightful characters who magically come to life. This and other seasonal events throughout the year an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

A series of ‘burlesque’ evening dinner shows are being especially created to provide a nightly menu of ‘naughty delights’ in the ‘Free and Easy’ Victorian Music Hall.

Naughty delights? Like what, syphilis? The press release promises attractions like “Peggoty’s Boat House – a moving platform experience, The School Room – The Dreaded Disciplines of Victorian Education, Crime and Punishment and The Old Curiosity Shoppe complete the experience.”

Imagine all that atmosphere! All those employees costumed as lovable urchins, begging for change and picking visitors pockets. Oh, the fun of the theme restaurant! More gruel, please! I hope the gift shop sells Madame Defarge knitting needles and a replica of Tiny Tim’s crutch.

If this thing takes off, well, consider the possibilities. Tolstoy Land. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness Adventure Park. James Joyce World.

As big a book nerd as I am, Dickens World strikes me as all sorts of wrong. Maybe a few glasses of red in the Defarge wine shop will change my mind.

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