London Personalities - Charles Dickens
Best known for Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol, this quintessential Victorian novelist depicted contemporary life just as it was, and brought to light many difficulties and struggles faced by the lower class of London.
Born in Portsmouth in 1812, he was lucky enough to be sent to school at nine, but when his dad was imprisoned for debt (the inspiration for Mr Micawbers character in David Copperfield) his luck was soon cut short.
His father along with with the rest of the family were sent to Marshalsea - a notorious prison in Southwark. Being twelve years old meant that Charles wasn't to accompany his family, and instead was sent to work in Warren's blacking factory. Here he experienced appalling working conditions which were emotionally draining on him, with memories he was never able to forget. These later went on to influence many of his novels, such as in David Copperfield and Great Expectations.
He started off his writing career in journalism, then going on to work as a parliamentary journalist. Not long after he was also started to publish a series of anonymous sketches under the name Boz. This soon lead onto his publications of the Pickwick Papers and this saw Dickens career as a writer really take off.
As well as the many classic novels we have to thank Dickens for, he also wrote many travel books, plays and administered charitable organisations.
He died in 1870 of a stroke and is buried at Westminster Abbey.
Have you visited the Charles Dickens Museum? Found at 48 Doughty Street is the London home of Dickens, and it's packed with all you could ever want to know about one of Londons favourite celebrities.