Skip header
The Word Banner (980x200)

How Charles Dickens Nearly Died and The Signalman

*Booking required


The story behind the great Staplehurst rail crash of 1865.

On June 9 1865, Charles Dickens was a passenger on the tidal train from Folkestone to London as it crashed off a bridge between the Kentish of villages Headcorn and Staplehurst killing 10 and injuring 40 more.  The great author was fortunate to escape with his life and spent 3 hours assisting in the rescue effort.

Charles's great great grandson Gerald Dickens is currently working on a book about the crash and will be speaking at The Word, sharing his research into the circumstances behind it.  Not only will Gerald talk about his great great grandfather's involvement but also introduce us to those working on the train and the other passengers.

Following his talk Gerald will perform the haunting ghost story The Signalman which was written just a year after the crash and certainly inspired by Charles Dickens's experiences.

Find out more information and book tickets

Visit The Word website

For information on the latest events, exhibitions, opening times and directions, please visit The Word website:

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word

You can also follow The Word on Facebook and Twitter.

Address: The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF