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BLOG: Dickens and Copperfield - By Elliot James

In 1849, at the age of 37, Charles Dickens was ready to dig into the parts of his

past that he had repressed; that he had felt shameful about. Until now it had been a deep secret from friends, let alone the public, that his parents went to debtors’ prison. At just ten years of age he had to find lodgings, and to pay his way he worked ten-hour shifts at a blacking factory. He earned six shillings a week

pasting labels onto pots of boot blacking. The boys in the factory also worked in a

large room in which a window gave a view onto the London street… small

audiences often gathered to watch the boys at work. An indignity Charles never

forgot. The conditions were so harsh that they forever inspired Dickens’ passion

for social reform and sympathy for the poor.