Maritime activity 7: the Pelter Brig - a visit from Charles Dickens
Using Learn with Objects Maritime 9: Pelter Brig the children investigate a mysterious Victorian boat house on the beach in Folkestone Warren, and a similar one mentioned by famous writer Charles Dickens in his novel David Copperfield.
They imagine an encounter between Dickens, who walked regularly in The Warren on his visits to Folkestone, with some of the characters who lived on board the boat… and write a piece of creative writing inspired by it
Increased knowledge and understanding of Victorian Folkestone (including smuggling, the Coastguard and The Warren) and the life and works of Charles Dickens.
Skills and confidence in developing a piece of creative writing inspired by an imagined visit to the Pelter Brig by Victorian writer Charles Dickens.
KS1-2 History (Local History Study).
KS1-2 English (the author Charles Dickens, creative writing)
KS1-2 Art and design (book illustration)
Investigate the story of the Pelter Brig in Folkestone Warren.
What do you think life was like for the families who lived on board?
Read a short extract from Charles Dicken’s novel David Copperfield about the boat-house on Yarmouth Sands, lived in by the Peggotty family. How does this compare to the Pelter Brig?
Explore the Learn with Objects Master topic to see how old ships were also re-used as prison hulks and housing for the poor.
Charles Dickens stayed in Folkestone at the Pavilion Hotel and called the town Pavilionstone in his writings.
He often went for long walks in The Warren, both for exercise and to get inspiration for his writing, and would have seen the Pelter Brig at close quarters.
It is likely he would have chatted to some of the coastguard families and may even have been invited onboard.
Imagine you’re a child living on the Pelter Brig.
Write about a visit from a mysterious man who’s interested in finding out all about your life on the ship. You later discover he’s the world-famous author Charles Dickens!
Or imagine you’re Charles Dickens. Write about some colourful characters you met on the Pelter Brig. You could give them some good ‘Dickensian’ names, ready to include in one of your best-selling novels.
Why not illustrate your writing, with drawings of the Pelter Brig (inside or out) and of some of the imagined characters who lived on board. Or sketch a portrait of Mr Charles Dickens himself, standing next to the boathouse by Horse’s Head Rock.
Look at drawings of Peggotty’s boathouse in David Copperfield for inspiration. Use the search term ‘David Copperfield Peggotty boathouse’ in Google Images to bring up lots of illustrations.