Charles Dickens was born at Landport, near Portsmouth. In 1814 he moved to London, then to Chatham. There he had some schooling, but his real education was the streets of London. All the best scenes in his later novels deal with London characters and his humour is racy of the streets.

Dickens decided to become a reporter and at age 22 he joined a London newspaper. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogart; they had 10 children but separated in 1858.

Dickens published several sketches in various magazines and newspapers. After the 'Pickwick Papers' were published in 1836 his career was a succession of triumphs, for Dickens appealed to the people in an age when popular influences had begun to count for much in literature.

In rapid succession he produced several successful novels, including 'Oliver Twist'; (1837), 'Nicholas Nickelby' (1839) and 'The Old Curiosity Shop' (1841). Two years later he wrote the popular christmas story 'A Christmas Carol'.

Dickens spent a large part of his later life abroad, where he wrote several notable novels including 'David Copperfield' (1850) 'A Tale of Two Cities' (1859) and 'Great Expectations' (1861). He died at Gadshill, Kent in 1870.

People: 1500-2000 Events: 1841-1850