The following is a detailed timeline we are compiling of the movements of the life of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens during the year 1842, 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 (2). Charles and Catherine travel to Liverpool, staying the night at the Adelphi Hotel in preparation for their journey to America.
  • January (3). Charles and Catherine depart from Liverpool on the steamship SS Britannia to America.
  • January (22). Arrives Boston.
  • February (2). Visited mills at Lowell, Massachusetts.
  • February (13). Arrives New York by boat.
  • February (14). Ball at Park Theatre in honour of Dickens, attended by 3,000 people.
  • March (2). Visits Tombs Prison and Public Department.
  • March (6). Arrives Philadelphia.
  • March (10). Visited Capitol and White House.
  • March (13). Dinner at the White House.
  • March (29). Arrives Pittsburgh.
  • April (4). Arrives Cincinnati.
  • April (10). Arrives St Louis.
  • April 26 – May 3: Niagara Falls.
  • May 4- 29: Visits Canada.
  • June (7). Departs America for England, sailing in the George Washington from New York.
June (22). Mines Act bans children under 10 from working in mines and females from working underground.
  • June (29). Returns to Liverpool and departs for London.
  • August (1). The Dickens family leave London to spend the summer in Broadstairs. Stays there two months.
August (29). The Treaty of Nanking is signed, ending the First Opium War (1839–42) between the United Kingdom and China, and ceding Hong Kong to the British Empire.