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 Dickens is admitted to the gallery of the House of Commons as a reporter.
January. Joseph Livesey begins publishing The Moral Reformer in Preston, Lancashire, the first publication of the temperance movement in England.
February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 19th birthday.
March, 29 (Tuesday). Exeter Hall opens in London’s Strand, designed to hold meetings for religious, benevolent and scientific institutions. A crowd of 4,000 people attend the celebrations.
April, 12. The Broughton Suspension Bridge, spanning the River Irwell between Broughton and Pendleton (now in Salford, Greater Manchester), collapses under marching troops.
April, 27. Ending of the Anglo-Ashanti war.
May – June. Merthyr Rising in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
May, 30. The 1831 census takes place across the United Kingdom.
June, 8. Dean Forest Riots. Freeminers in the Forest of Dean break down enclosures in the Forest.
June, 29 (Wednesday). The first temperance meeting was held at Exeter Hall.
August, 1. The new London Bridge is officially opened.
August, 17. The paddle steamer Rothsay Castle is wrecked at the eastern end of the Menai Strait with the loss of 93 lives.
August, 29. Michael Faraday demonstrates electromagnetic induction.
September, 8. Coronation of King William IV in Westminster Abbey.
September, 22. The House of Commons passes the Reform Bill. However the House of Lords votes against the reforms to give Britain’s industrial cities and towns better representation leading to subsequent rioting.
October, 9 (Sunday). Nottingham Riots. Thousands of persons assemble after dark in the streets of Nottingham and begin attacking property belonging to anti-reformers.
October, 10 (Monday). Nottingham Riots. Rioters continue to attack property in Nottingham. A mob attacks Colwick Hall. Nottingham Castle, owned by the Duke of Newcastle who opposed parliamentary reforms, is stormed and burned to the ground.
October, 11 (Tuesday). Nottingham Riots. Rioters continue to attack property in Nottingham, destroying a silk mill in Beeston. Troops are called out who restore peace to the area.
October, 12 (Wednesday). London Riots. Hundreds of people riot in central London over the issue of parliamentary reform.
October, 29-31. Bristol Riots. Hundreds of people rioted in Bristol city centre over the issue of parliamentary reform. The disturbances, which lasted for three days, was crushed by troops with several people killed.
November. John Dickens declares himself an insolvent debtor for the second time.
December, 27. Charles Darwin embarks on his historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle from Plymouth.
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.