Charles Dickens was born February 7, 1812. He was the most popular novelist of the Victorian era and is
responsible for some of literature's most iconic characters (like Scrooge!).
Dickens grew up in various fishing villages on the southern coast of England where his father worked as a
naval clerk. Dickens home at 393 Old Commercial Rd, Portsmouth, England.
A short time after moving to London, his father was imprisoned in the Marshalsea Debtor's Prison for failure
to pay the family's bills. Charles' mother and siblings moved into the prison to live with his father, but Charles,
who was around 12 years old at the time, was forced to work at Warren's Blacking Factory (picture) to help pay
back the family's debt.
After his father was released from prison, he enrolled Charles at a day school in London. Charles' brief
employment at the Blacking Factory haunted him all of his life - but the misery he experienced there provided
inspiration for his writing. Many of his characters were based on his own experiences in the horrible working
conditions, long hours, and poor pay at the Blacking Factory.
In 1829 he became a newspaper reporter and then married Maria Beadnell. Their marriage ended after
only three years. Charles then married Catherine Hogarth in 1836 and moved to 48 Doughty Street, London,
which has since been turned into a museum. Charles and Catherine would have ten children: Charles, Mary,
Kate, Walter, Francis, Alfred, Sydney, Henry, Dora, and Edward.
In 1836 he published his first monthly serial, The Pickwick Papers.
Dickens became know for his remarkable characters, and his writings described the social classes, mores and values
of his time. He became a spokesman for the downtrodden and the have-nots.
His birth place in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England is now the Dickens Birthplace Museum.
Dickens died from a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) on 9 June 1870 at his home, Gad's Hill.
Dickens is buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abby, London. On his headstone is written: "He was a sympathiser to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed; and by his death, one of England's greatest writers is lost to the world."