By 1821 his father, John Dickens, was in financial difficulties. This led to the family moving to a cheaper property in St Mary’s Place on The Brook.
Next door to their home was the Particular Baptist Providence Chapel where William Giles senior was the minister. The Giles family featured heavily in the early life of the Dickens family.
John Dickens kept a small library in the attic at St Mary’s Place. Mary Weller recalled Charles retiring to the top room of the house at The Brook, spending what would have been his play hours in poring over the books or acting to the furniture in the room. Even at this age Charles had a flair for telling stories and wrote a tragedy called Misnar, the Sultan of India.
Quote from David Copperfield:
My father has left a small collection of books in a little room upstairs to which I have access (for it adjoined my own), and which nobody else in our house ever troubled. From that blessed little room, Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, Tom Jones, the Vicar of Wakefield, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and Robinson Crusoe came out, a glorious host, to keep me company. They kept alive my fancy, and hope of something beyond that place and time, - they, and the Arabian Nights, and the Tales of Genii, - and did me no harm; for, whatever harm was in them, was not there for me; I knew nothing of it, it is astonishing to me, how I found time, in the midst of my porings and blunderings over heavier themes, to read those books I did… When I think of it, the picture always rises in my mind, of a summer evening, the boys at play in the churchyard, and I sitting on my bed, reading as if for life.
Charles Dickens’ home, St Mary’s Place & The Providence Chapel, The Brook, Chatham (Medway Archives Centre CHA/STR/B2A/8)