Marshalsea Prison: Background information when reading The Devil in the Marshalsea

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The Devil in the Marshalsea

by Antonia Hodgson

The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson
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    Jun 2014, 400 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Marshalsea Prison

A fragment of a wall is all that is left of Marshalsea Prison.

But Charles Dickens has made sure that its memory lives on. His father was imprisoned in Marshalsea Prison in 1824. He owed forty pounds to a local baker (about 3000 pounds today). Charles scurried around the city trying to collect money on his father's behalf but it was insufficient and his father was arrested. Dickens was only twelve years old at the time. While the rest of his family moved into the prison with his father, he took up lodging nearby, worked full time and used the money to support them and his lodging. The whole experience left a huge, terrible impression on him; one that he never quite shook off. It showed up in his work often.

Marshalsea PrisonMarshalsea Prison was active from medieval times through 1842. The original gaol (prison) was on the south bank of the River Thames, near Mermaid Court in Southwark. The exact date of its construction is unknown. It was initially used to hold pirates and smugglers and other ...

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