Not much was known about Charlie's past, just that it involved violence and abuse. Accustomed to the slaps and punches of those older than him, Charlie often flinched when he physically interacted with people.
Sometime during the mid-19th century, Charlie came to live in the Thames Tunnel along with other derelicts and homeless people. Here, the Tunnel Mother Maggie took care of him along with other of the residents.
When the Assassin Jayadeep Mir posed as Bharat Singh and went to live in the Tunnel, he befriended Charlie and often gave him pieces of bread when he returned from work as an undercover in the first underground railway construction.