Britain: the real Oliver Twist

This video is called Oliver Twist English Trailer (2005).

By Phil Shannon:

A true tale of Dickensian England

The Real Oliver Twist: Robert Blincoe — A Life that Illuminates an Age

By John Waller

Icon Books, 2005
468pp, $39.95 (hb)

The beatings and tortures were cruel and constant — Robert Blincoe, a mere child, would be kicked into the air; knocked to the ground with punches; thrashed with sticks, belts and rope; pelted in the head with metal machine parts; lifted by the ears, shaken violently and tossed to the ground; forced to eat candle, tar and tobacco spittle; and had nails dug into his ear lobes and metal vices hung from his ears.

Small, crooked and horribly scarred from a childhood spent working in English cotton mills during the Industrial Revolution, Blincoe went on to belie his appearance and become an imposing upright figure in the political movement for human rights for working people.

The Real Oliver Twist, by Melbourne University’s John Waller, is an impressive tribute to Blincoe, whose story of appalling suffering, ill-treatment and neglect inspired Charles Dickens to write Oliver Twist.

Abandoned as an illegitimate orphan soon after his birth in 1792, Blincoe was thrown on the meagre charity of the local authorities of the parish of St Pancras on the outskirts of London.

The parish workhouse which fed — and controlled — the poor, offered vermin, overcrowding, rigorous discipline and drudgery to its young inmates.

Dickens‘ Great Expectations: here.

Nicholas Nickleby: here.

11 thoughts on “Britain: the real Oliver Twist

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