This drawing represents Lant Street in Borough, south London. Although the illustration depicts a clean and orderly row of terraced houses, Lant Street was part of one of London’s many notorious slum areas. Charles Dickens lodged here alone as a child during his father’s imprisonment in the Marshalsea debtor’s prison, which was located just a few streets away. To help the family bring in an income, each day the 12 year old Dickens made the journey by foot to work at Robert Warren’s boot-blacking factory on the Strand. Dickens only revealed these difficult early experiences in the 1860s when his close friend John Forster was working on his biography, The Life of Charles Dickens (3 vols., 1872–74).