Readership: All those interested in the writings of Charles Dickens, nineteenth century English literature, and the history of Victorian London.
Ruth Richardson, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; Affiliated Scholar in the History & Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge; Hon. Professor of Humanities and Medicine, Hong Kong University.
Ruth Richardson is a historian and the author of a number of books. The Wall Street Journal described her last book, The Making of Mr. Gray's Anatomy (Oxford University Press) as 'one of those rarities, history that reads like a novel'. That book won the 2009 Medical Journalists' Open Book Award.
"Richardson has set out where others will follow ... by sprinkling a fairy dust of creativity and imagination over mundane primary sources like maps, books, directories and newspapers, she has breathed new life into Dickens's early years This is a delight of a book, fresh and stimulating." - Michael Allen, Dickens Quarterly
"Historian Dr Ruth Richardson's meticulously researched book paints a lively portrait of every day life in 19th century London." - Alice Coke, Absolutely Chelsea
"Richardson's enthusiasm for her subject shines throughout this hugely engaging and informative book" - BBC
"The important discoveries in this surprising book come from an intimate knowledge of Dickens and London, coupled with a historian's passion. We're seized by the hand of a detective and walked into Dickens's world. Unputdownable." - Miriam Margolyes
"The book offers a detailed study of the Dickens's family home and its surrounding neighbourhood, as well as an evocative and damning portrait of Britain's de-facto 'prison system to punish poverty'." - New Yorker
"Gives an intimately evoked view of Dickens's childhood and the New Poor Law of 1834 by which workhouses became 'a sort of prison system to punish
[the poor]." - New York Review of Books
1: Discovery: threat, silences, discovery, Dickens' first London home
2: Vicinity: environs of gentility, Norfolk-street, medical charity, environs of poverty
3: Home: house, landlord, inside, views: upstairs/downstairs
4: Street: looking down, and around
5: Calamity: gap years, catastrophe, blacking factory, Marshalsea, Somers Town, schooling
6: Young Dickens: Return to Norfolk Street: clerk, young professional, Parliament, first essays
7: Workhouse: government/management
8: Works: family moves, Sketches by Boz, Oliver Twist, Marylebone borders, human heaps
9: Poor Law: visitor, doctor, master, commission, change
10: The Most Famous Workhouse in the World