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.
January, 10. Fire destroys Lloyd’s Coffee House and the Royal Exchange in London.
January, 30. Dickens and Hablot Browne travel to Yorkshire to visit boarding schools.
February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 26th birthday.
February. Dickens begins work on Nicholas Nickleby.
March (6). Dickens’s second child, Mary, is born.
Spring. Dickens is elected a member of the Athenaeum club.
April. Part II (2) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 5–7).
May. Part III (3) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 8–10).
May. The People’s Charter is drawn up in the United Kingdom, demanding universal suffrage.
May, 31. Battle of Bossenden Wood. A battle takes place between a small group of labourers and a detachment of soldiers near Hernhill in Kent. The groups leader, the self-styled Sir William Courtenay, who was actually John Nichols Tom, an eccentric Truro maltster, is killed along with eight of his followers. A soldier and a man helping to apprehend Courtenay are also killed in the skirmish.
June. Part IV (4) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 11–14).
June (28). Coronation of Queen Victoria at Westminster Abbey in London.
July. Part V (5) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 15–17).
August. Part VI (6) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 18–20).
September. Part VII (7) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 21–23).
September. Dickens and family holiday on the Isle of Wight, passing through Portsmouth en-route.
September, 7. Grace Darling and her father rescue 13 survivors from the Forfarshire, off the Farne Islands.
September, 17. London to Birmingham line opens and the railway boom begins.
September, 18. The Anti-Corn Law League is established by Richard Cobden.
October. Part VIII (8) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 24–26).
October, 31. Dickens travels through the Midlands to Shrewsbury, staying overnight.
November. Part IX (9) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 27–29).
November. Dickens resigns from the Garrick Club.
December. Part X (10) of Nicholas Nickleby is published (chapters 30–33).
December, 5. Dickens visits William Charles Macready having written The Lamplighter for him.
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.