Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812 – 1870) was an English writer and social critic. Charles appears to have had a happy childhood until he was 10 and his father suspended his education. The reason seems to be insufficient funds to provide schooling for both Charles and his older sister, Fanny, who in 1823 left home to become a boarder at the Royal Academy of Music. Young Charles filled in his time by running errands for the family, reading and exploring London. Before he had a chance to get used to his job, John Dickens was arrested and imprisoned. John was joined at Marshalsea Prison by his wife and 3 youngest children, while Charles moved in with a family friend, Mrs Roylance. Later Charles moved in with another family, remembered as the Garland family in his novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, serialised 1840 to 1841. At the end of 1824, the family moved into an impoverished neighbourhood and Charles finally went back to school, at least for a couple of years. Dickens went on to created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime and, by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius.