THE great, great grandson of the author Charles Dickens will be launching a new book about Shrewsbury’s Lion Hotel.

Gerald Dickens will oversee the launch of ‘Four Centuries at the Lion Hotel, Shrewsbury’, written by former newspaper editor John Butterworth.

The host, whose illustrious ancestor was a regular guest at the hotel, has written the foreword to the book which tells the history of the Wyle Cop building through its VIP visitors.

Over the centuries these have included King William IV, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Disraeli, Niccolo Paganini, ‘Mad Jack’ Mytton, the Tory MP, Jenny Lind and Thomas De Quincey.

In more modern times visitors include The Beatles, Morecambe and Wise and Cliff Richard.

At the launch in the Ballroom Gerald will also be talking about his one-man Dickens shows and revealing his plans for a Dickens weekend at the hotel in 2012, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the author’s birth.

The Mayor of Shrewsbury, Cllr Tony Durnell, will also say a few words about the book.

In his foreword Gerald writes: “There is something very exciting about visiting a building where my great, great grandfather, Charles Dickens, stayed.

“John Butterworth’s wonderful history of The Lion Hotel takes that pleasure to new level.

“His extensive local knowledge and passion for his subject is evident in every sentence.

“As a read I felt part of every event and every anecdote, for this is certainly no dusty, academic collection of facts.

“It is a living, breathing, exciting addition to the rich history of an extraordinary building and town.”

The launch takes place at the Lion Hotel this Friday, July 1, from 11.45am to 12.30pm.

Priced £6.99 the book will be available at local bookshops, tourist information centres, The Lion Hotel itself and from John Butterworth, of 33 Kingston Drive, Stone, Staffs, ST15 0JH.

John can also be contacted by email at