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. PC Joseph Grantham is murdered in Somers Town, north London, becoming the first police officer to be killed on duty in the United Kingdom. Grantham was kicked to death while trying to break up a fight between two drunk men.

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, 25. Riots break out in Brussels on what would be become the first day of the Belgian Revolution (25 August 1830 – 21 July 1831), a conflict which led to the the southern provinces of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands breaking away to form the independent Kingdom of Belgium.

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. Prime Minister Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, rode on one of the eight inaugural trains. During the opening, Liverpool MP William Huskisson is accidentally killed by Robert Stephenson’s Rocket, whilst trying to board the Duke’s railway carriage. He thereby becomes history’s 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 politician Earl Grey succeeds the Duke of Wellington as Prime Minister.

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

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.