Thank-you Diane for the answer to question #4:
Which characters in ‘A Christmas Carol’ are drawn from Dickens’ own life experience?
Like the Cratchits, the family in which Dickens grew up were always on the edge of poverty. Charles was well acquainted with pawnshops just like Peter Cratchit who was frequently dispatched to hock the Cratchit family’s few valuables when money was short. When Charles was 12, his father John was clapped up in the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison and the family had to rely on the meagre six shillings a week that young Charles earned applying labels to jars of bootblacking. Like the Cratchits, Charles, his father and mother and five siblings lived in a cramped house (two rooms up, two rooms down) in a seedier part of London.