Dickens at the Blacking Warehousedetails

[Picture: Dickens at the Blacking Warehouse]
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Dickens at the Blacking Warehouse

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From a drawing by Fred Bernard. Reproduced in “The Dickens Country” by kind permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall

Charles Dickens is here shown as a boy of between eight and twelve years of age, working in a factory:

“Then followed the most bitter experience in the life of Charles Dickens. He was sent to work at a blacking factory in a street near Charing Cross eading from the Strand to the Thames. The work was menial in the extreme and the pay was only a few shillings a week, but exercising strict economy he made his wages support himself. The blacking factory was a crazy, tumble-down old house, overrun with rats. In later life Dickens recalled with painful emotion its wainscoted rooms, with its rotten floors and staircase, and the old grey rats swarming down in the cellars and the sound of their squeaking and scuffling coming up the stairs at all times. The poor boy was very sensible of the humiliation of his work—the typing up and labelling of innumerable pots of paste-blacking—and for the remainder of his life he never recalled the episode without a pang.


Our readers will be deeply interested, we are sure, in the striking and pathetic picture of Dickens engaged at the blacking factory, and showing him in an attitude so suggestive of the grinding, painful toil and the deadly oppression of spirit in which the boy’s days were spent.” (pp. 550 – 1)



95 x 133mm (3.7 x 5.2 inches)

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Scanner dpi:

1400 dots per inch



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