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 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.


Dickens meets Maria Beadnell, his first love interest.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 18th birthday.

May, 3. The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is opened, the first commercial passenger railway in southern England and the first in the country to have a tunnel on the route.

June, 26. Death of King George IV. He is succeeded by his younger brother William IV.

July, 26–29. French Revolution of 1830 (also known as the July Revolution) sees the overthrow of King Charles X, the French Bourbon monarch, and the ascent of his cousin Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans. Charles X and his family went into exile in Britain.

July, 28. First police officer to be killed on duty in the UK, Joseph Grantham in Somers Town.

August. The 1830 general election results in a Tory victory, but with a reduced majority.

August, 9. Louis-Philippe sworn in as King Louis-Philippe I of France.

August, 28. The Swing Riots break out in Kent and spread across southern and eastern England. The protests, by agriculture workers, were in response to mechanisation and harsh conditions.

September, 6. The Otmoor riots break out, a mass demonstration against enclosure of Otmoor in Oxfordshire.

September, 15. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opens, the world’s first intercity passenger railway operated solely by steam locomotives. At the opening, Liverpool MP William Huskisson is accidentally killed by Stephenson’s Rocket, thereby becoming the first railway casualty.

September, 18. Death of William Hazlitt, essayist, drama and literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher (born in 1778).

November, 22. The Whig Earl Grey succeeds the Duke of Wellington as Prime Minister.

December, 16. The last hanging for piracy takes place at Execution Dock, Wapping.

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.