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'Oliver Twist' workhouse campaign gathers pace

23rd February 2011

A campaign to save a London workhouse thought to have been the inspiration for Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist has reached a milestone following a positive report by English Heritage.

Campaigners believe that the former Strand Union Workhouse in Fitzrovia, which is currently earmarked for demolition, should be preserved due to the 'historical and architectural contribution' it makes to the city.

Charles Dickens lived just doors away from the workhouse in his late teens and the Cleveland Street Workhouse Group (CSWG) has called on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to give the building - built in 1775 - listed status.

Tourism and heritage minister John Penrose will be responsible for making the decision but, according to the CSWG, the new English Heritage report 'clearly expressed its considered opinion that the workhouse should be listed'.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently granted grade I protected status to Bunhill Fields Cemetery in central London, the resting place of writers William Blake, John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe, with English Heritage describing the site as 'the terra sancta of English non-conformity'.

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