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, 10 (Friday). 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 (Tuesday). 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 on an overnight coach to London, returning to the family home the following morning.

April, 27 (Monday). The Old Curiosity Shop is published weekly in Master Humphrey’s Clock between April 1840 and February 1841.

May, 5 (Tuesday). Aristocrat and former Member of Parliament, Lord William Russell was murdered at his house in Norfolk Street (now called Dunraven Street), London. His valet, François Benjamin Courvoisier, was hanged for the crime (see also July 6 entry).

June, 10 (Wednesday). A young man attempts to assinate the newlyweds Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as they take an evening carriage ride from Buckingham Palace.

July, 6 (Monday). Charles Dickens, along with friend William Makepeace Thackeray, attend the public hanging of François Benjamin Courvoisier outside Newgate Prison (see also May 5 entry). A crowd of around 40,000 witness the execution.

July, 27 (Monday). Dicknes arrives at Alphington in Devon to visit his parents.

August, 4 (Tuesday). Dickens returns to London from visitng his parents.

August, 7 (Friday). The Chimney Sweepers and Chimneys Regulation Act comes into force, making it illegal to make someone under the age of 21 to climb up or into a chimney and a new apprentice in the profession must be at least 16.

August, 25 (Tuesday). Christening of Kate Dickens. Later, Dickens, Macready and Angus Fletcher visit Coldbath Fields Prison.

September. Dickens and his family spend the month at the Kent town of Broadstairs.

October, 11 (Sunday). Dickens returns to London from Broadstairs

November, 7 (Saturday). Dickens attends rehearsals for a forthcoming dramatisation of Old Curiosity Shop at London’s Adelphi Theatre, adapted by Edward Stirling.

November, 9 (Monday). Edward Stirling’s production of Old Curiosity Shop opens at the Adelphi Theatre .

December, 2 (Wednesday). Dickens attends a banquet given by the Southwark Literacy and Scientific Institution at the Bridge House Hotel to celebrate the laying of a foundation stone for a new building. Gives a short speech.

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.