October 1st, 2010
Episode 155 of 492 episodes
At the age of 12, the delicate and genteelly brought up Charles Dickens was plunged into employment in a boot-blacking factory, while his father was incarcerated in Marshalsea debtors' prison. These events traumatised the young Dickens, and greatly influenced his future work. However, as an adult this difficult period was never discussed, and only after his death did his account come out. That account has never been corroborated or challenged, but author Michael Allen has discovered that Dickens' employers at Warren's Blacking were fighting each other in the Chancery Court, revealing a great deal of new information.