Significant Dickens artefacts from Medway have gone on loan to France as part of a new exhibition near Boulogne.

The Guildhall Museum and Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre have both sent items to Le Centre Culturel de l’Entente Cordiale Chateau de Hardelot [near Boulogne], which is run by the Pas de Calais Departement Council.

Original paintings and objects with direct links to Dickens and his family have been given to the exhibition from the Guildhall Museum, while the archives centre has sent over 12 volumes from the Percy Fitzgerald Collection.

The French exhibition celebrates Dickens love of that area of France. Other items on loan include furniture and costumes from the Dickens Museum in London and Broadstairs.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services Cllr Howard Doe said: “This exhibition in France, in many respects, is being viewed as the start to the Dickens 2012 celebrations.

“Our colleagues in France recognised the importance the artefacts that Medway holds relating to Dickens, and it is a pleasure to help the exhibition.

“Dickens fans can be reassured that all items loaned by Medway Council will be back with us before the launch of our own Dickens celebrations in 2012.”

The exhibition in France runs until 23 October.