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A bottle of traditional Victorian herbal remedy will be on emergency standby to help swooning Salopians at the Dickens Weekend in Shrewsbury next month, thanks to expert advice from a town herbarium.

The celebration features Gerald Dickens - the great, great grandson of Charles Dickens - who will follow his ancestor’s footsteps by performing the author’s story of ‘Sikes and Nancy’ from the novel Oliver Twist live on stage in the ballroom of The Lion Hotel at 8pm on Saturday 4th February.
When Charles Dickens gave this particular dramatised reading around the country 140 years ago, there were numerous reports of ladies fainting in the aisles.
“Most of Charles’ readings were safe, well-known and often comic passages from his novels,” said Gerald. “But in 1869 he introduced ‘Sikes and Nancy’ to his repertoire. And when he performed what he called ‘The Murder’, he judged the success of the evening by the number of ladies who had fainted with horror.”
Event organiser Chris Eldon Lee said: “We suspect that people's fainting thresholds are rather higher in the 21st Century than in Dickens’ day. But just in case history repeats itself, we’re taking no chances. We sought advice from The Herbarium just across the road from The Lion Hotel on Wyle Cop and director Paula Tite immediately recommended Pure Essential Oil of Rosemary as the perfect period pick-me-up. So a bottle of rosemary oil and a Victorian lace handkerchief with which to apply it will on hand to help revive anyone suffering a Dickens-induced Shrewsbury swoon.”
‘Sikes and Nancy’ is expected to be one of the highlights of a whole weekend of events to celebrate the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens birth. It will be followed by Gerald Dickens reading from A Christmas Carol.
Sunday 5th February is dedicated to the filming of the movie A Christmas Carol in Shrewsbury during 1984. A talk by photo-historian David Trumper and a guided tour around the town’s film locations will be followed in the afternoon by a special Flicks in the Sticks screening in The Lion Hotel.
Gerald Dickens’ Friday night performance of ‘Mr Dickens is Coming’ is now sold out.
To book tickets visit: or telephone 01743 353107.