Yesterday, I took a trip into London for an appointment at the British Museum. Taking a taxi from the station, I looked out for glimpses of London’s past, St Botolph’s church, Aldgate; St Paul’s Cathedral ; The Temple Bar in its new setting of Paternoster Square and The Museum of London, housed in the Barbican complex, with its remains of The London Wall.
Later, I walked back to the station, doing a bit of Blue Plaque spotting and calling in at The Charles Dickens Museum at 48, Doughty Street, a house which Dickens rented for the first years of his marriage to Catherine Hogarth. It was saved from demolition in 1923 by The Dickens Fellowship. The latest 2007 exhibition at the top of the house is Ignorance and Want: the Social Conscience of Charles Dickens and
….tells the story of Dickens’s social conscience through his traumatic childhood experiences and his novels Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, both written at the Museum.
“his traumatic childhood experiences”, I think, refers to his having to work in a blacking factory when he was aged twelve and his father was in debt.
Over a year ago, I came across an intriguing book: The Real Oliver Twist which is still on my get-from-the-library-and-read list. In 1828, Robert Blinco, was the focus of a extraordinary biography A memoir of Robert Blinco by John Brown and believed to be the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.