The History of Portsmouth Page

Charles Dickens Birthplace

In 1801 Southsea Common was known as The Little Morass because for many years a morass covered a large part of the common. There was also a great morass near Southsea Castle and Milton was a small village. Great Salterns takes its name from the salt-extracting works which were opened up after the area was drained at the turn of the 18th Century.

In 1805 Nelson left the George Hotel by the back entrance in Penny Street to escape the crowds gathered to greet him as he sailed to war. The George Hotel is now a block of flats in the High Street. The ruse was soon discovered and the crowds made their way to see him on Southsea Common. The people cried out "God bless you, Nelson" and on Southsea Common the Admiral embarked to join his ship HMS Victory for the Battle of Trafalgar.

On 7th February 1812 in Commercial Road, which is now Old Commercial Road, Charles Dickens was born. The Dickens family moved to Chatham when Charles Dickens was two and Charles Dickens died at Gadds Hill Kent on 9th June 1870.


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