The following is a detailed timeline we are compiling of the movements of the life of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens during for each year of his adult life, as we come across them in letters, newspaper articles and other research. We have also included some key contemporary events that occurred in society and major news events from across the world at the time.


Charles’s studies continue at Wellington House Academy, but his family’s financial situation worsens and makes the costs of schooling for Fanny and Charles increasingly unbearable.

January, 30. Menai Suspension Bridge, built by engineer Thomas Telford, is opened between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 14th birthday.

February, 11. University College London is founded, under the name University of London.

February, 24. Treaty of Yandabo cedes Arakan peninsula to Britain, ending the First Anglo-Burmese War.

April. A number of leading scientists form the Zoological Society of London.

May, 26. Birth of Richard Christopher Carrington, astronomer (died in 1875).

June, 19. Tories under Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool win a substantial an increased majority over the Whigs in the general election.

July, 1. The Conway Suspension Bridge, built by engineer Thomas Telford, is opened in North Wales.

July, 5. Death of Stamford Raffles, colonial governor and founder of Singapore (born in 1781).

August, 10. The first Cowes Regatta is held on the Isle of Wight

August, 18. Explorer Alexander Gordon Laing becomes the first European to reach Timbuktu. He is murdered there a month later.

September, 5. Birth of John Wisden, cricketer and creator of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack (died in 1884).

Missing a date? if you know of any movements not covered here we would welcome letting us know, along with a reference to any source material so we can try to fill in the gaps.