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Bronkhorst’s Dickens Museum acquires old statues in England

Waning interest at home

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

BRONKHORST - Sixteen life-size statues of well-known figures from a number of books by Charles Dickens have found a new home in the Dickens Museum in the eastern Dutch village of Bronkhorst. The statues, made almost a century ago, were rescued from the Dickens Centre in Rochester, England, which recently shut down due to waning public interest. Dickens (1812-1870) spent part of his youth and his later years in Rochester.

While the Rochester facility suffered from dwindling attendance, the Bronkhorst museum enjoys ever-increasing attention from tourists. The Dutch facility - it also has a small theatre - earlier had obtained other Dickens statues from the Rochester museum. The Bronkhorst collection already was greatly enhanced by the earlier acquisition of the inventory of the Old Curiosity Shop in London, England.

Rochester features in Dickens’ book ‘The Seven Poor Travellers’. The Charles Dickens Centre had its home in Eastgate House. Dickens used the building in ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood,’ where Miss Twinkerton ran her school for young ladies.

Bronkhorst, just south of Zutphen, is known as the ‘smallest city’ in the Netherlands. Much of the townscape dates from the 19th century. The Dickens Museum houses its collection, which consists of letters, first editions and other Dickens memorabilia, as well as special artwork, photos and illustrations, in an urban farmhouse. Last year, the Bronkhorst museum attracted about 80,000 visitors.