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Charles Dickens was born on Friday, February 7, 1812 at No. 1 Mile End Terrace, Landport, Portsmouth. His father, John Dickens, was a clerk in the Navy Pay Office. In 1814 John was transferred to Somerset House in London. In 1817 John moved his family to Chatham and worked in the naval dockyard. It was here, at Chatham in the Medway Valley, that Charles experienced his happiest childhood memories. John was transferred back to the London office and moved his family to Camden Town in 1822.
John Dickens, continually living beyond his means, was imprisoned for debt at the Marshalsea debtor's prison in Southwark in 1824. 12 year old Charles was removed from school and sent to work at a boot-blacking factory earning six shillings a week to help support the family. Charles considered this period to be the most terrible time in his life and would later write that he wondered 'how I could have been so easily cast away at such an age'.
This childhood poverty and feelings of abandonment, although unknown to his readers until after his death, would be a heavy influence on Dickens' later views on social reform and the world he
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