Monica Dickens

Monica Dickens MBE (1915-1992) was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. Expelled from St Paul's Girls' School, she was then sent to a finishing school in France, before returning home to life as a debutante: 'The deb scene and the dances were absolute agony. I would look at the waiters and the maids at balls and know for certain that they were having a better time than I was. So I wanted to belong with them, down there where there was a bit of life.' She then spent two years as a cook and general servant, which she wrote about in her first book, One Pair of Hands (1939). The book, published when she was twenty-four, was a bestseller and established her reputation as a writer. During the Second World War, Dickens trained as a nurse and again successfully recounted her experiences in One Pair of Feet (1942). In her career she wrote over fifty books for both adults and children, including the Follyfoot series, and for twenty years wrote a much-loved column for Woman's Own. She was also involved with the NSPCC, the RSPCA and the Samaritans.