We kick off this week’s special – which looks at some of the London premises in which Dickens spent his working life – where we left off last week. Charles Dickens, now 15, had once again been forced to leave school and seek employment – this time as a solicitor’s clerk. From 1827 to 1828, the future author worked at two firms before, having taught himself shorthand, he launched his career as a journalist.
Dickens started his life in his new profession as a freelance law reporter working out of Doctor’s Commons where civil cases were heard (the site of which is marked with a blue plaque on the north side of Queen Victoria Street). Around 1830, he began to work for the newspaper, Mirror of Parliament, which was owned by his uncle and then, in 1832 he was employed at the True Sun newspaper.
His first published literary works started appearing in Monthly Magazine in December the following year (his first printed story was initially entitled A Dinner at Poplar Walk) and eight months later, in August 1834, he took on a new job as a reporter at the influential Whig paper, the Morning Chronicle. His writing was subsequently also published in the Evening Chronicle.
Among the magazine’s Dickens edited were Bentley’s Miscellany – this was the vehicle in which Oliver Twist was first published – and Household Words – Hard Times was first published in this – as well as All the Year Round. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations were both first serialised in this magazine which was located at 26 Wellington Street not far from Covent Garden. The building is now the home to the Charles Dickens Coffee House (pictured).
Next week we’ll be taking a look at some of places in London where Dickens lived…