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Academic Books & Book Chapters

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Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women

Jenny Hartley


Jenny Hartley's 2008 book, Charles Dickens and the House of Fallen Women, tells the fascinating story of Charles Dickens setting up a refuge for girls and women where they were trained as domestic servants and then set out to the colonies.

Urania Cottage was funded by philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts but Dickens was involved from the outset, organising furniture and detailing how the Cottage was to be run.

The Cottage had room for 13 girls (some as young as 14) and young women and on entering Urania they had to agree to migrating after 12 months or so.

Jenny Hartley estimates 100 girls emigrated during the 12 years Dickens was involved. Many then disappeared, but she's managed to trace the descendants of some.

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