It is widely known that Charles Dickens was a novelist who addressed social issues in his fiction. He was also an activist who boldly campaigned for charities like FTCT, seeking to improve the lives of the most overlooked in society.

How he helped our charity

In modern terms, 'Chairman of Appeal' equates to Chair of Fundraising. During his time with our charity, known then as the ‘Warehousemen & Clerk’s School’, he encouraged peers to support and make donations. 

We are lucky enough to have access to a speech he gave in our on Thursday 5 November 1857 at The City of London Tavern on Bishopsgate Street. It was a rousing speech full of wonderful imagery and poetic prose which you could only expect from Charles Dickens. 

After dinner, he addressed his audience, urging … 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.

Download a transcript of his speech here. 

Charles Dicken’s Philanthropic Pursuits in 1857

To celebrate our 170th year, we visited the Charles Dickens Museum to interview Dr. Cindy Sughrue OBE. and find out more about his life at that time.

This video explains more about what was happening in Dickens' life at the time he was involved with our charity and why he may have felt compelled to support us. 


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