5 facts about… Charles Dickens

A new star-studded film that tells the story of Charles Dickens' secret mistress premiered in London this week


Ralph Fiennes directed The Invisible Woman, in which he also stars as Dickens, while Felicity Jones plays lover Nelly Ternan.


He’s one of England’s greatest writers, but here are some facts you may not have known about Charles Dickens:

1) His father, John Dickens, was put in prison when Charles was 12, forcing Charles to work in a factory for 10 hours a day to support his family

2) Dickens’ fascination with ghosts went beyond the pages of his books. He was one of the earliest members of the Ghost Club, a group in London dedicated to investigating paranormal events

3) Charles Dickens had 10 children with his wife Catherine during their 22-year marriage. Charles married Catherine, the daughter of one of his editors, in 1836, and they caused scandal in Victorian society when they divorced in 1858

4) While travelling through Kent, Charles Dickens survived a train crash. Most of the carriages fell off a bridge in Staplehurst but Dickens, who was travelling with his mistress Nelly Ternan, was sat in the only first class carriage not to be derailed


5) No stranger to giving his characters unusual names – Harold Skimpole, Luke Honeythunder and Pumblechook being some of the highlights – Charles Dickens used to write under the pseudonym Boz