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Senate House Library

Criminality and Redemption

Charles Dickens knew from his own childhood that the actions of adults, and the ensuing reactions of the State, could affect children’s lives. His works show the impact adult behaviour can have on children, either for good or ill. On display are works which reflect 19th-century attitudes towards street children. Some use language and reflect attitudes which are offensive to us today and consider the street children to be a threat to society. Other works show a more compassionate stance and highlight some of the methods of providing alternatives to street poverty.