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Harry Lloyd (and his mom) to oficially re-open former home of Charles Dickens to the public

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The former home of celebrated author Charles Dickens is to be opened to the public for the first time since the great novelist’s death in 1870.

Current owner Gad’s Hill Independent School is opening the Grade One listed Georgian Gads Hill Place in Higham, near Rochester, following the completion of the first phase of a major multi-million pound project to build two new schools in the grounds of the old house.

Gads Hill Place, where Dickens penned classics including Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, has been used by the school for teaching since the 1920s.




But headmaster David Craggs said the fragile 18th century building can no longer keep up with the “demands of modern day education” and instead students will be taught in the two new state-of-the-art schools.

“Ninety years ago John Burt brought Gad’s Hill Place to convert it into a residential school,” said Mr Craggs.

“Since then, thousands of children have had the rare honour of being able to learn English in what was Charles Dickens’ bedroom.

“While I will miss the unique privilege of running a school from the great man’s own study, I feel that we have built a new school of the highest quality and standard that the 21st century can provide, which is only right for our truly outstanding students.

“I feel certain that in 90 years time, everyone involved in the school will look back and be proud of the values and the building they have inherited.”

The John Melville Building - named after the school’s chair of governors - will be officially opened on September 4 by Marion Dickens, Dickens’ great-great-granddaughter and trustee of the charity due to take over Gad’s Hill Place, and Dickens’ great-great-great-grandson Harry Lloyd, who starred as Viserys Targaryen in hit show Game of Thrones.

Marion Dickens will work through the charity on a series of refurbishment projects on Gad’s Hill Place.

“Since the house was turned into a school, public access to it has been very limited,” she said.

“Now, for the first time, people who love the books will be able to visit his home.”

The new school will span two floors and boast a sports hall, theatre and dining area, as well as performance spaces.

Chairman of the board of governors, John Melville, said: “This school which we have been building over the last few years is having a major impact on the community it serves.

“You only have to see the delight of pupils, parents and staff to understand why we invested so much in improving facilities and buildings at Gad’s Hill.

“Gad’s is committed to teaching our young people in buildings fit for the 21st century.

“This is a wonderful time for the pupils and staff at Gad’s and I wish them many happy years in their state-of-the-art new school.”


Excuse for a Harry Lloyd post AND Charles Dickens/authors discussion bestofbothworlds.mp3


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