Cambridge historian and Oxford publisher under scrutiny over claim made in Dickens book

Historians in the News

A book about Charles Dickens’ life in Cleveland Street written by a Cambridge historian and published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in February has been criticised after it failed to acknowledge previously published works.

In Dickens & the Workhouse Dr Ruth Richardson uncovers new material about Charles Dickens’ life in nineteenth-century London. She discovers that many of the characters in Dickens’ books were based on real people living in and around Cleveland Street in what is now Fitzrovia. In the book she provides historical material that for the first time shows how the workhouse in Cleveland Street was the inspiration for Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist.

Dr Richardson’s work has been credited with being the main reason why the former Strand Union Workhouse was given listed status by the government last year and subsequently saved from demolition. She was internationally recognised for her work....

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