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.
January, 20. Death of the architect John Soane (born in 1753).
January, 21. Dickens is first elected to join the Garrick Club.
February, 7 (Sunday). Charles Dickens’s 25th birthday.
February, 19. Death of the author, philosopher and Bishop Thomas Burgess (born in 1756).
March, 6. Is She His Wife?, a comic burletta and Dickens’s most risqué work, opens at the St James’s Theatre.
March, 31. Death of John Constable (born in 1776), aged 60. The Suffolk-born painter was noted for his scenes of the English countryside.
May, 13. Mary Hogarth is buried at Kensal Green cemetery.
May, 24 (Wednesday). Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent celebrates her 18th birthday. A State Ball is held at London’s St. James’s Palace in commemoration. A number of celebrations are held in towns across the country. A month later Princess Alexandrina Victoria will become Queen Victoria.
May, 31. Death of the actor, comedian and dancer, Joseph Grimaldi (born in 1778). Grimaldi rose to become the one of the most popular entertainers of the Regency era. Shortly after his death, Charles Dickens is asked to write the Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi.
June, 12. Inventors William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone file a patent for their electrical telegraph.
June, 16. John Forster takes Dickens to see Othello at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Forster introduces Dickens to the actor and theatre manager, William Charles Macready, who would become a close friend for the rest of his life.
June, 20. Death of William IV (born in 1765). Victoria becomes Queen of the United Kingdom.
July, 1. General Register Office begins the practice of registering births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales.
July, 13. Queen Victoria moves from Kensington Palace into Buckingham Palace, the first reigning British monarch to make this, rather than St James’s Palace, their London home.
July, 19. Isambard Kingdom Brunel‘s steamship SS Great Western is launched in Bristol.
July, 20. Euston Station, London’s first mainline railway terminus, is opened.
July, 24 – August, 18. The 1837 general election takes place, resulting in a Whig victory.
September, 9. John Macrone, Charles Dickens’s first publisher, dies aged 28.
December, 7. Death of the poet Robert Nicoll (born in 1814).
? Dickens’ beloved older sister, Fanny, marries Henry Burnett.
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.