Dickensian exhibition launches today

Dickens exhibition at Horsham museum. Volunteer Tilly Traill
Dickens exhibition at Horsham museum. Volunteer Tilly Traill

A DICKENSIAN exhibition goes live TODAY (Thursday April 5) at Horsham Museum in the Causeway, charting some of the town’s 19th-century history.

Horsham Museum’s new temporary exhibition ‘So very ‘umble - Horsham in the Age of Charles Dickens’ explores echoes between the writer’s life and works and Horsham’s story.

Charles Dickens never visited Horsham, but his son did. On November 6 1888, Charles Dickens Junior gave readings from his father’s works David Copperfield and Bob Sawyer’s Party from Pickwick Papers at the King’s Head Assembly Rooms.

The exhibition draws on a fantastic survival of Dickens’ popularity as they have late Victorian postcards that bring his celebrated characters to life. One of his great strengths is his ability to create characters to drive his stories, a key aspect of today’s soap operas. The exhibition ‘So very ‘umble’ uses these postcards and small carte de visite cards blown up many times their original size to populate the story of Horsham. These images along with rare photographs from the 1850s and 1860s form the backdrop to a selection of amazing items that are Horsham Museum’s homage to Charles Dickens.

Dickens’ deals with electoral corruption; he was after all a parliamentary reporter at the time of the Great Reform Act of 1832. Horsham held the most corrupt election of the 1840s and Dickens railed against bill-posters everywhere. On display there are just a few of many such Horsham posters that brought out life on the Georgian and Victorian street. Dickens’ loved popular entertainment and music, and Horsham was famous for its fairs and street songs, some of which are on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 5 April at 2pm and runs until Saturday 19 May. The museum is open 11-4pm Good Friday, 10-5pm Saturday and 11-4pm Easter Monday.