It is widely known that Charles Dickens was a novelist, who addressed social issues in his fiction. But did you know that he was also one of our trustees? He was also an activist, boldly campaigning for charities like FTCT, with the aim of improving the lives of the most overlooked in society.

He was involved in causes that deeply resonated with him, particularly charitable initiatives focused on enhancing the lives and prospects of people, such as providing education for children.

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

An iconic fundraising speech

We are lucky enough to have access to a speech he gave 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. Download a transcript of his speech here. 

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. 

Find out more on FTCT’s history here