This day in 1812 marked the birth of the famous English writer Charles Dickens.
His childhood left a strong mark on world literary tradition, because he wrote some of his most powerful and moving novels based on his experiences from the war. His dark memories were strongly influenced by the fact that Dickens fell into poverty at the age of around 12.
Namely, his father John Dickens fell into debt and had to go to a debtors’ prison. At that time English jails were privately-owned, and the prisoners brought their families with them. In order to pay off their debts, the prisoners had to make money in some way, especially since they were also required to pay rent to the private owners of the prisons.
The prison to which Dickens’s father went together with his wife and four youngest children was called Marshalsea, and was located in the London district of Southwark, south of the River Thames. Young Charles wasn’t among the four children who lived in prison with their parents, but instead lived with the family of an acquaintance.
In order to help his family, the young Charles had to leave school and work around 10 hours a day in a shoe-polish factory. On Sundays he visited his family in prison. He incorporated a good part of the memories of these difficult times into his novels.