Charles Dickens was born in 1812 to a middle class family with plenty of books around the house. He even had a nurse to care for him who would tell the boy strange tales. However, the family’s finances were never stable and when Dickens was twelve years old his father was imprisoned for debt and Charles was sent to work in a boot blacking factory. These early experiences, on his own in the great city of London, gave him an insider’s view of the lives of the poor and influenced his ideas on social reform.