Happy Birthday Mr Dickens, our former Trustee!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 | Posted in Blog

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, Chairman of Appeal, FTCT 1856-1857

Today famous writer and social commentator Charles Dickens would have celebrated his 205th birthday!  It is widely known that Charles Dickens was passionate about storytelling and in particular about discussing and drawing attention to social issues.  What you may not know is that Mr Dickens was in fact our Chairman of Appeal in 1856-1857.

For a year, he encouraged his peers to donate money to fund our charity in its original form, a school called the ‘Warehousemen and Clerk’s School’ for the orphaned children of warehousemen and clerks in the textile and allied trades.  At the anniversary dinner on Thursday 5 November 1857, he addressed an audience at The City of London Tavern on Bishopsgate Street,

‘…the aim must still be upwards, the motto always “Excelsior”’ and concluded his speech with his desire to continue to raise money for the charity, inviting his audience to imagine – in a way only a great storyteller can – the children who will benefit from the fundraising,

‘…will you think of the number of children tugging at my skirts, when I ask you, in their names and on their behalf .. and in no strength of my own, to encourage and assist this work.’

Our links today


Gerald Dickens’ great great grandson of Charles Dickens with Meg Lustman, former FTCT Chair of Trustees (far left), Anna Pangbourne (left) and his wife Liz (right)

In June 2016, we were delighted to welcome Gerald Dickens’ great, great grandson of Charles Dickens to attend our House of Lords event celebrating over 160 years of the charity supporting families in fashion and textiles. As one of our special guests, Gerald was extremely positive about the work we continue to do today and our historical ties to his great-great-grandfather.  Anna Pangbourne, the charity’s Director says, ‘Whilst the needs of children have changed over the last 163 years, children today are still affected by illness, bereavement and the financial difficulties of their parents. That’s why the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust is just as relevant today as it was in 1853.’

Today, the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust is delighted to continue to support children whose parents work in the many fashion and textile businesses throughout the UK, including small companies and high street fashion retailers.  To find out more about how FTCT help children and their parents, visit our Grants page to see if you are eligible for support.

Further reading:
Our Story
Our Team

Gerald Dickens is an actor and also a brilliant storyteller traveling around the country bringing to life the classics of his great great grandfather. For details of his 2017 shows visit http://www.geralddickens.com/events.htm

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