- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

LONDON (AP) - A group of Londoners are fighting to save a crumbling brick building that may have inspired Charles Dickens‘ “Oliver Twist.”

The novelist lived down the street from the former workhouse when he was beginning his writing career. Academics say the sights and sounds of poverty likely influenced his novel about a workhouse boy who falls into London’s seamy underworld.

The building’s owners want to tear it down and build new apartments, but protesters hope the government will order it protected.

Historian Nick Black says it’s important that London keep “some vestiges of the 18th-century world of the impoverished and the poor” and not just preserve the homes of the rich.

The U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport says it will make a decision by early March.

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