In 1799 Blincoe was taken from St Pancras orphanage to Lowdham Mill near Nottingham, and then in 1803 to a brutally run mill near Litton. He struggled to survive and to maintain his dignity, attempting to escape from Lowdham at one point and attempting to contact a local magistrate at Litton. Here, as in many other workplaces, Peel's Health and Morals of Apprentices Act of 1802 had little effect.
When Blincoe finished his indenture, he struggled to find work as a spinner and did a stint in debtors' prison following a business failure. He recovered from this, however, and reached a comfortable and secure old age, with a settled family and a respectable position in society. His son even went to Cambridge University and became a vicar.
Blincoe also became politically active, involved with the campaign to limit child labour both as an example, following the publication of his memoir by Richard Carlile, and directly. Waller uses this as a base to describe the agitation behind the 1823 Reform Bill and the "short time" campaign.
There are elements of dramatisation in The Real Oliver Twist, but Waller stays close to his sources and makes it clear when he is speculating, for example about Blincoe's thoughts and route when he finally left Litton. He draws on a broad range of sources other than Blincoe's Memoir, including government inquiries, parish records, and the memoirs of other workers, as well as the secondary literature on English working life.
The Real Oliver Twist is a serious work of history, with detailed references as well as a bibliography, but it is not at all dry. A lively tour of the life and working conditions of some of the poorest inhabitants of early 19th century England, it would make an excellent text to use in schools alongside Oliver Twist.