"reading as if for life"
British Museum
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBritish Museum - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Charles Dickens was himself a voracious reader, and on hisĀ 18th birthday he applied for a British Museum reader ticket. At the time the British Museum, a national museum of antiquities, also held a national library (now the British Library in St Pancras). It was well stocked, and Dickens would have had access to a rich body of knowledge.