Before Charles Dickens wrote the novels he his most noted for, he was a journalist, reporting speeches in the House of Commons from 1832 to 1834.
In 1846 he became editor of the Daily News.
Dickens sought through his books and writings to improve conditions of the poorer classes.
Tooting Baby-Farm Scandal.
In the beginning of 1849 there was an outbreak of cholera at a baby-farm in Tooting run by Peter Drouet, which killed up to 200 children. Amid a growing national public outrage about the scandal Dickens wrote four articles for the The Examiner, even whilst Drouet was on trial.
The four articles Charles Dickens wrote for The Examiner in 1849, about Drouet’s pauper-farm at Tooting were:
- The Paradise at Tooting (20 January).
- The Tooting Farm (27 January).
- A Recorder’s Charge (3 March).
- The Verdict for Drouet (23 April).
- The Amusements of the People (Pt. 1) (March, 1850). Explored popular theatre, with a visit to the Royal Victoria.
- The Begging-Letter Writer. (March, 1850). Article about being plagued by begging-letters (as Dickens had been since achieving national fame).
- The Amusements of the People (Pt. 2) (April, 1850). Another article of the same name exploring popular theatre, this time with a visit to The Eagle.
- Pet Prisoners (April, 1850).
- The Heart of Mid-London (May, 1850). An attack on the Smithfield live meat market. Co-authored piece.
- A Walk in a Workhouse (May, 1850). A Walk in a Workhouse. Describes a visit to a workhouse.
- A December Vision (December, 1850). An article criticising Victorian institutions for their inability to solve social issues of poverty and disease.
- Red Tape (February, 1851). An article criticising bureaucracy.
- A Monument of French Folly (March, 1851). Another attack on the Smithfield live meat market with comparisons to Paris.
- The Guild of Literature and Art (May, 1851). Promoting a philanthropic institution of that name that Dickens heavily involved himself with.
- On Duty with Inspector Field (June, 1851). Looked at the work of Inspector Charles Frederick Field of Scotland Yard.
- Drooping Buds (April, 1852). Describes a visit to the newly founded Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street. Co-authored piece.
- A Sleep to Startle Us (March, 1852). Exploring ragged (poor) schooling.
- Down with the Tide (February, 1853).
- Received a Blank Child (March 13, 1853). A look at the Foundling Hospital. Co-authored piece.
- Home for Homeless Women (April, 1853). A look at Urania Cottage, the home for fallen women set-up by Dickens and Angela Burdett-Coutts.
- On Strike (February, 1854).
- A Nightly Scene in London (January, 1856).
- Londoners over the Border (September, 1857). Described the squalid conditions Dickens found when he visited Canning Town.