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.


January, 3 (Sunday). The sketch The New Year appears in Bell’s Life in London.

January, 17 (Sunday). The sketch The Streets at Night appears in Bell’s Life in London. It is the final sketch in a series of twelve that appeared in Bell’s Life in London between 27 September 1835 and 17 January 1836 under the general title of Scenes and Characters. For the series, Dickens adopted the pseudonym Tibbs.

February, 7 (Sunday). Charles Dickens’s 24th birthday.

February, 8 (Monday). Dickens first book, Sketches by Boz is published by the publisher John Macrone.

February, 8. First section of London and Greenwich Railway, the first steam-worked line in London, begins operating between Spa Road (Bermondsey) and Deptford stations in south-east London.

March (18, Friday). The sketch Our Next-Door Neighbours is published in both The Morning Chronicle and The Evening Chronicle.

March (31). The Pickwick Papers is first published. It is serialized monthly between March 1836 and October 1837.

April, 2. Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth at St. Lukes, Chelsea.

April. Charles and Catherine honeymoon for a week in Chalk, Kent.

April, 18. Dickens holds a meeting with Robert Seymour, the then illustrator of the The Pickwick Papers. Two days later Seymour commits suicide.

June, 7. The first University Boat Race is held on the Thames in London.

July, 9 (Friday). Sunday Under Three Heads, a campaign pamphlet by Charles Dickens under the name Timothy Sparks, written to oppose a proposed law prohibiting all work and all recreation on Sunday, is published.

August, 6 (Saturday). The sketch The Hospital Patient is published in the Carlton Chronicle.

August, 10 (Wednesday). The Morning Post newspaper publishes a complimentary review of Sunday Under Three Heads.

August, 15. Liverpool Lime Street railway station opens in the centre of Liverpool, the first grand terminus building in the world. It replaces the smaller Crown Street station.

August, 22. Dickens signs an agreement with Richard Bentley to write two novels.

September, 17 (Saturday). The sketch Hackney-cabs, and Their Drivers is published in the Carlton Chronicle.

September, 24 (Saturday). The sketch Meditations in Monmouth Street is published in The Morning Chronicle.

October, 2 (Sunday). Naturalist Charles Darwin returns to Falmouth, Cornwall, aboard HMS Beagle after a 5-year journey collecting biological data he will later use to develop his theory of evolution.

October, 4 (Tuesday). The sketch Scotland-yard is published in The Morning Chronicle.

October, 11 (Tuesday). The sketch Doctors’ Commons is published in The Morning Chronicle.

October, 26 (Wednesday). The sketch Vauxhall-Gardens by day is published in The Morning Chronicle.

Dickens’s play The Strange Gentleman and the ballad-opera The Village Coquettes are staged at the St James’s Theatre.

(? Late 1836). Resigns from The Morning Chronicle and The Evening Chronicle.

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.