A CITY bookshop has ‘Great Expectations’ of shedding light on a remarkable chapter in Worcester’s history after proving legendary author Charles Dickens stayed there over 150 years ago.
High-street bookshop Script Haven marked what would’ve been the ‘Oliver Twist’ author’s birthday this week by lodging a bid for a blue plaque to be installed on the building to mark the visit.
They are now working with Worcester Civic Society to get the project over the line.
The author visited the building, which, in a quirk of fate has recently been turned into a bookshop, on August 11, 1858, back when it was the Swan Hotel.
Local photo historian Michael Hallett and his friend Chris Garner recently visited Script Haven and told owner Leena Batchelor the tale of Dickens’s stopover and where to find proof.
Eager to find out more, Script Haven bosses delved into the details of Dickens’s stay at The Swan.
With the help of The Hive and Tudor House Worcester, they were able to find definitive evidence of the visit.
Proof includes an abundance of letters Dickens himself wrote, one of which was to fellow novelist Wilkie Collins.
Photos of the building have also been uncovered.
The letters were found in Volume 8 of The Pilgrim Edition of The Letters of Charles Dickens.
Store owner Leena Batchelor told the Observer she hopes this plaque would help people to appreciate and celebrate the Faithful City’s incredible history which so many are unaware of.
“I have always felt drawn to the building when I first started to dream of having a bookshop, but didn’t reveal my dream to anyone for years.
“It’s incredible to think such a prestigious author touched these walls. To have the link that we’re a bookshop where Charles Dickens once stayed couldn’t be more appropriate.
“Worcester deserves to be prominent on the history trail of this country.
“Dickens is internationally recognised for his writings, and to know Worcester played such a prominent part in his life is wonderful.”
Charles Dickens, famous for writing classics such as ‘A Christmas Carol’, was born on February 7, 1812 – 212 years ago this week.
This occasion is marked across the country every year with a day named after Dickens.
To celebrate the date, Script Haven decked out its window and held a free event which included a reading of the letter he wrote at The Swan and readings of one of his works.