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.


February (7). Charles Dickens’s 21st birthday.

February (11). Dickens’s parents hold a belated birthday party for him.

May. Dickens ends his relationship with Maria Beadnell.

May (11). The sailing ship Lady of the Lake sinks off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada after hitting an iceberg, with the loss of up to 265 passengers and crew.

May (15). Edmund Kean, celebrated Shakespearean actor, dies aged 45.

August (28). The slavery abolition act, banning slavery throughout British colonies, receives royal assent. Comes into force on 1 August 1834.

December. Dickens first published work A Dinner at Poplar Walk appears in the Monthly Magazine.

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.