Charles Dickens Statue – Portsmouth, England - Atlas Obscura

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Charles Dickens Statue

A rare full-sized statue of one of Britain's famous writers. 


In the bustling Guildhall Square, where citizens and visitors of Portsmouth flock, Charles Dickens is immortalized and gazes at the people as they walk the area. Crafted by sculptor Martin Jennings, the Portsmouth Branch of Dickens Fellowship commissioned this magnificent sculpture of one of Britain’s best writers. After 20 years of planning and preparation, on February 7, 2014, 202 years after the birth of Charles Dickens, the statue was unveiled to the public in the city Dickens was born.

To symbolize his literary legacy, Dickens is depicted with an open book in hand as he sits with his legs crossed and surrounded by numerous books. The unveiling ceremony, which over a hundred guests attended (including 40 of the Dickens family members), emphasized the enduring legacy of Dickens’s works across generations. His most notable works include A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, and Great Expectations

The man behind the statue, sculptor Martin Jennings, had previously crafted literary sculptures, such as one of the poet John Betjeman at London’s St. Pancras Station and another of Philip Larkin in Hull. His Portsmouth statue of Charles Dickens is especially notable since it is the only full-sized statue of the writer in Britain. 

Although Dickens was humble and had his wishes against personal memorials, the statue is a great physical reminder of his literary impact and unique storytelling. 

Know Before You Go

The closest station is Portsmouth and Southsea Train station, which is less than a five-minute walk. 

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