A Charles Dickens Journal

The Boyhood Years - 1820 to 1829

Mo Dt Dy

03 04 John Dickens writes a story for The Times about a fire that destroyed many homes and so makes a first step toward a career in journalism.  
07 Brother Frederick William D_ is born.  

03 21 Family moves "down the hill" to 18 St. Mary's Place.  
CD is now sent to school (next door to the Dickens home) run by William Giles.  
12 11 Aunt Fanny marries Dr. Matthew Lamert and moves to Ireland. James Lamert remains behind as a lodger with the Dickens family.  
12 John Dickens is transferred again and his financial position becomes "less secure".  

03 Brother Alfred Lamert D_ is born.  
06 John Dickens is transferred back to London. CD is left behind in Chatham to finish another quarter in Giles' school.  
09 CD is sent to his family at their new home, 16 Bayham Street, Camden Town.  

04 09 CD's sister Fanny begins 4 years of study at the Royal Academy of Music.
John Dickens debts will not afford Charles the opportunity to attend school.
09 29 ? Family moves to 4 Gower Street North.  
Elizabeth Dickens, in financial desperation, attempts to begin a school for young ladies, called "Mrs. Dickens Establishment", but no students ever attend.  

02 09 M Charles begins working at Warren's Blacking Factory, labeling pots of bootblack.  
02 20 F John Dickens is arrested for a debt of £40. He must raise the money to avoid being committed to prison.  
02 21 Sa Charles, his eyes swollen with tears, runs errands for his father all weekend, but is unable to raise the money needed.  
02 23 M John Dickens is committed to the Marshalsea Prison.  
03 02 John Dickens applies for his retirement from the Naval Pay Office, in an effort to avoid invoking the Insolvent Debtors Act.  
03 25 By Lady Day most of the family's household had been sold or pawned. The Gower Street house was left and Elizabeth, with four small children, moves into John's prison room.  
Charles becomes a lodger with Mrs. Elizabeth Roylance "long known to our family". He must use his six shillings per week wage from the Blacking Factory to pay for his lodging and meals.
On Sundays he and Fanny would visit the family in the Marshalsea. On one of these occassions, Charles broke down in tears from his despair and loneliness and so a new lodging place in Lant Street is found for him. Living closer to the prison now, he is able to have breakfast and supper with the family at the prison.
He suffers repeated seizures of his old illness.  
04 26 Death of Elizabeth Dickens, CD's paternal grandmother. John Dickens inherits £450.  
05 05 John dickens petitions for his release from prison.  
05 28 John Dickens is released from prison under the Insolvent Debtors Act by coming to an arrangement with his creditors. The family moves in with Mrs. Roylance.  
06 04 The Will of Elizabeth Dickens is proved, but John Dickens receives none of the money, which instead goes to his creditors.  
06 The family moves to 29 Johnson Street, Somers Town.  
06 29 Charles and his mother are present to see his sister Fanny receive a prize at the Royal Academy.  
06 CD comes to the end of his employment at the blacking factory. John Dickens quarrels with John Lamert about Charles being put in a front window to work for all passersby to see. His father decides that Charles will not return to work there and will be enrolled in school.  
06 CD is enrolled in the Wellington House Academy.  

CD spends his days at the Wellington House Academy being taught English, French and Latin, writing and mathematics. He and the other boys kept white mice in school desks and Charles entertained his classmates by writing stories and plays for them.  
03 09 John Dickens retires on a pension of £145 a year. This leaves him still poor, or what Charles later refers to as "shabby genteel".  
11 02 As provided in the Insolvent Debtors Act, John Dickens makes payments to his creditors from the legacy left him by his mother.  

CD's studies continue at Wellington House Academy.  
In September and October, John D_ wrote a series of articles for the British Press supporting the underwriters of Lloyd's against some insurance rivals. The British Press collapsed before he was paid, but he managed to obtain a small payment from Lloyd's, which provides some small temporary relief to his financial condition.  
11 13 A second set of payments is made to John Dickens' creditors from the legacy left by his mother.  
The family's financial situation worsens and makes the costs of schooling for Fanny and Charles unbearable.  

The family is evicted from Johnson St for nonpayment of rates and move into lodgings at 17 The Polygon, Somers Town.  
05 CD's mother Elizabeth prevails upon Edward Blackmore, a young solicitor, to take Charles on as a law clerk.  
Charles leaves Wellington Academy and spends seven weeks as a clerk for Charles Molloy, a solicitor.  
During this time CD begins to frequent the London theatres.  
05 12 CD begins work for Ellis and Blackmore, solicitors.  
06 Fanny is asked to leave the Royal Academy because John Dickens cannot pay the back fees that have accrued for her education.  
CD begins to study Gurney's system of shorthand.  
11 Birth of brother, Augustus Newnham D_, later to be called Moses.  

  The family moves to lodgings above a grocer's shop at 10 Norfolk Street, Fitzroy Square.  
11 CD leaves Ellis and Blackmore and begins work as a freelance reporter at Doctor's Commons.  


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