Charles Dickens thought himself then as a "very small and not- over- particularly- taken- care- of boy". He spent his time outdoors, reading voraciously with a particular fondness for the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett and Henry Fielding. He talked later in life of his extremely poignant memories of childhood and his continuing photographic memory of people and events that helped bring his fiction to life. Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens's family was moderately well-off, and he received some education at a private school but all that changed when his father, after spending too much money entertaining and retaining his social position, was imprisoned for debt. At the age of twelve, Dickens was deemed old enough to work and began working for ten hours a day in Warren's boot-blacking factory, located near the present Charing Cross railway station. David Copperfield
He spent his time pasting labels on the jars of thick polish and earned six shillings a week. With this money, he had to pay for his lodging and help to support his family, most of whom were living with his father, who was incarcerated in the nearby Marshalsea debtors' prison.
After a few months his family was able to leave the Marshalsea but their financial situation only improved some time later, partly due to money inherited from his father's family. His mother did not immediately remove David Copperfield from the boot-blacking factory, which was owned by a relation of hers. Dickens never forgave his mother for this, and resentment of his situation and the conditions under which working-class people lived became major themes of his works.
As Charles Dickens wrote in David Copperfield, judged to be his most clearly autobiographical novel, "I had no advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolation, no assistance, no support, of any kind, from anyone, that I can call to mind, as I hope to go to heaven!" In May 1827, David Copperfield began work as a law clerk, a junior office position with potential to become a lawyer. He did not like the law as a profession and after a short time as a court stenographer he became a journalist, reporting parliamentary debate and travelling Britain by stagecoach to cover election campaigns.
His journalism formed his first collection of pieces Sketches by Boz and he continued to contribute to and edit journals for much of his life. In his early twenties he made a name for himself with his first novel, The Pickwick Papers.
On 2 April 1836, he married Catherine Thompson Hogarth (1816–1879), with whom he was to have ten children, and set up home in Bloomsbury. Their children were:
• Charles Culliford Boz Dickens (6 January 1837–1896).
• Mary Angela Dickens (6 March 1838–1896).
• Kate Macready Dickens (29 October 1839–1929).
• Walter Landor Dickens (8 February 1841–1863). Died in India.
• Francis Jeffrey Dickens (15 January 1844–1886).
• Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens (28 October 1845–1912).
• Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (18 April 1847–1872).
• (Sir) Henry Fielding Dickens (15 January 1849–1933). He was the grandfather of the writer Monica Dickens.
• Dora Annie Dickens (16 August 1850–April 1851).
• Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (13 March 1852–23 January 1902). He migrated to Australia, and became a member of the New South Wales state parliament. He died in Moree, NSW.
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