Warren’s Blacking was a leading manufacturer of shoe-black (shoe-polish) in the 19th century. Available as a liquid in bottles or as a paste in pots, the blacking was ‘sold in every town in the kingdom’ as this advertisement boasts. Notoriously, Charles Dickens worked at Warren's Blacking Factory when he was 12 years old, during the period his father was imprisoned for debt. His job was to paste labels onto the blacking pots.
This small printed advertisement is cut from a newspaper. As typical of all of Warren’s advertisements, its header illustration is comic in tone and emphasises the blacking’s high quality: a cat bristles at the sight of its own reflection in the newly shined and blacked shoe.
- Full title:
- Advertisement for Warren's Blacking Warehouse with cat crest. Pencil inscription G. Ck., with additional note: 'C. Dickens lived here'. No source apparent for either advert. [from the author's presentation copy of The Life of Dickens, 1872-74]
- n.d., London
- Advertisement / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
- George Cruikshank, John Forster [compiler]
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Dex.316. - Vol I, part I
- Article by:
- Emma Griffin
- Childhood and children's literature
Industrialisation led to a dramatic increase in child labour. Professor Emma Griffin explores the dangerous, exhausting work undertaken by children in factories and mines, and the literary responses of writers including Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
- Article by:
- Philip Horne
- The novel 1832–1880, Crime and crime fiction, London
Dickens's Oliver Twist depicts the excitement as well as the danger surrounding the criminal underworld. Here Professor Philip Horne examines how Dickens’s portrayal of crime was influenced by public executions, contemporary criminal slang and other sensational literary works.