The following is a detailed timeline we are compiling of the movements of the life of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens during the year 1840, as we come across them in letters, newspaper articles and other research. We have also included some key contemporary events that occurred in society.
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.
January (10). A new national postal service with a universal rate, the penny post, begins. The first stamps go on sale a few months later.
- January (14). Dickens attends an inquest at Marylebone workhouse into death of the infant child of a young maid, Eliza Burgess.
- February (29, Saturday). Dickens, along with friends John Forster and Daniel Maclise, travel to Bath by coach, departing London at 9.30am and arriving in the evening just before 8pm, after a lunch stop at 2pm. The party stay over at the York House hotel.
- March (1, Sunday). In Bath. Dickens visits his friend Walter Savage Landor for dinner. Writes to his wife Catherine, from Landor’s house at 35, St. James Square.
- March (2, Monday). In Bath.
- March (3, Tuesday). In Bath.
- March (4, Wednesday). Evening. Travels from Bath to London, returning to the family home the following morning.
- April. The Old Curiosity Shop is published weekly between April 1840 and February 1841.
- July (6). Dickens, along with William Makepeace Thackeray, attend the public hanging of François Benjamin Courvoisier outside Newgate Prison. A crowd of around 40,000 witness the execution.