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The man remembers the boy's sorrow


By1843 Charles Dickens had become Britain's most brilliant Parliamentary reporter, a popular author, and a husband and father, but he could not forget the poor, hungry, terrified boy he had been. In 1824, his father had been incarcerated in debtors' prison with Dickens' mother and several younger brothers and sisters. Just twelve years old, Dickens was forced to leave school. He went to work at a blacking factory at Hungerford Stairs, where he pasted labels on blacking bottles for 6s. a week. He wrote later, "No words can express the secret agony of my soul. . ."

According to Oxford's DNB -

In October 1843 he had the sudden inspiration of writing a Christmas story intended to open its readers' hearts towards those struggling to survive on the lower rungs of the economic ladder and to encourage practical benevolence. . .The result, written at white heat, was A Christmas Carol.

It was published on 19 December, and was

a sensational success. The story of the archetypal miser Scrooge's conversion to benevolence by supernatural means, and the resulting preservation of the poor crippled child, Tiny Tim ('who did NOT die'), was greeted with almost universal delight. . .

The story is a wonderful combination of terror, greed, despair, goodness, hope, and Christmas traditions - roast turkey and Christmas pudding, church bells and carol singing, frost and snow and hot drinks, and a Christmas spirit of generous giving.

The remaining decades of the 19th century in Britain saw the overhauling of the poor laws, the establishment of Friendly Societies, and universal education provided by trusts, charities, and local communities. One inspiration may have been The Christmas Carol.