Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
Born 1812 – most
popular novelist of his
Dickens was very
passionate about the
Novels reflect the
condition of England
Christmas Carol was
published in 1843. It
sold out in six days.
Dickens' Difficult Life
Charity was needed during the severe economic
depression of the 1840s.
Dickens suffered difficulties and poverty during his
Father arrested at 12, sent to prison
All but Charles moved into the prison; he
worked posting labels on wine bottles
The Cratchits' house is modelled on the small four-room
house at 16 Bayham Street in Camden Town where
Dickens lived in London
The six Cratchit children correspond to the Dickens
children of that time, the character of Tiny Tim being
echoed in Charles's youngest, sickly brother who was
known as "Tiny Fred"
Victorian Era
Reigned 1837 – 1901
She is the longest
reigning monarch in
British history
Britain was at its
wealthiest under her
reign, but citizens
Victorian Era - a time of many contradictions
Many social movements (including women's rights and
unionisation) to do with morals and society clashed
with a class system that permitted harsh living
conditions for many.
There was great contradiction between the an outward
appearance of dignity and restraint and the occurrence
of prostitution and child labour.
The number of people living in Britain more than doubled
from 16 to 37 million, raising demand for food, clothing
and housing.
Victorian ‘Posh’ People
• Upper class families
were very rich
• Their homes & land
were looked after
by servants
• Their food was
prepared by cooks
• Children were
looked after by
Victorian Poor People
• Four or five families
lived in one house
• Toilets were outside
& shared by several
• The old and orphans
had to live in
The Child's Life
• Until 1891 children
had to pay to go to
• Schools for the poor
were called ‘Ragged
Typical work for children
Picking up stones
Factory work
Opening doors in coal
Chimney sweeping
Child Labour
Children were forced
to work as soon as
they could unless
they were from a
rich family.
The Factory Act
(1843) required
working days for
children aged 8-13 to
be 6.5 hours or less
How does it compare
to today's living
The Poor Law
In 1833 Earl Grey, the Prime Minister, set up a Poor Law Commission to examine the
working of the poor Law system in Britain. In their report published in 1834, the
Commission made several recommendations to Parliament. As a result, the Poor
Law Amendment Act was passed. The act stated that:
(a) no able-bodied person was to receive money or other help from the Poor Law
authorities except in a workhouse;
(b) conditions in workhouses were to be made very harsh to discourage people from
wanting to receive help;
(c) workhouses were to be built in every parish or, if parishes were too small, in
unions of parishes;
(d) ratepayers in each parish or union had to elect a Board of Guardians to
supervise the workhouse, to collect the Poor Rate and to send reports to the
Central Poor Law Commission;
(e) the three man Central Poor Law Commission would be appointed by the
government and would be responsible for supervising the Amendment Act
throughout the country.