Charles Dickens brought to life


This week’s Ryecast recreates the day when one of the world’s literary greats visited Rye’s Flower & Vegetable show – and talks to the organisers of this year’s event.

Charles Dickens made a day trip to the Rye District Horticultural Society Show in 1852. Excerpts from his journal, read by local actor Ian Klemen, detail his thoughts about our town and describe the tents and produce on show. Dickens was hugely impressed by what he saw as you’ll hear on the podcast, writing that “there was the most refined politeness in the whole spirit and manner of this little confabulation”. In an echo to modern day Rye, he had to rush to get the last train home and missed some of the judging. For Ian, playing Dickens is a first in a long career.

Rye fruit and veg show organisers Helena Hudd and Lorna Hall

Not long to go to the show

The current organisers of the show – which takes place on Saturday, September 3 at the Rye Community Centre – are proud to be continuing a long tradition. Lorna Hall and Helena Hudd restarted what’s now called The Rye Flower & Veg Show 17 years ago and have been telling Ryecast presenter James Stewart about why they’re so passionate about it. They explain how to enter, who can take part, and reflect on what Dickens has to say.

You can hear the podcast by searching for Ryecast in Apple and Spotify etc or by visiting On the website you’ll find a link to Charles Dickens’ journal to read more about his visit to Rye. For more about this year’s show visit

Image Credits: James Stewart .

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