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. Martin Chuzzlewit is published monthly between January 1843 and July 1844.

January (20). Civil servant and member of the Drummonds banking family, Edward Drummond is fatally shot in Whitehall, London. It is believed the assassin was targeting Prime Minister Robert Peel.

August (19). Large fire breaks out at Topping’s Wharf, on the east side of London Bridge, causing considerable damage including to nearby St Olave’s Church.

August (22). The Theatres Act passes, ending the virtual monopoly of theatrical performances held by the patent theatres and encourages development of popular entertainment.

August – September. Dickens spends the summer in Broadstairs.

October (2). Returns to London from Broadstairs.

October (5). Gives a speech to members of the Manchester Athenaeum on the virtues on education and learning at the institution.

October (5) – December. Dickens writes A Christmas Carol.

November (late). Towards the end of the month advertisements are taken out in newspapers for Dickens forthcoming work, A Christmas Carol.

December (19). A Christmas Carol is published (in one volume). All 6,000 copies of the initial print run sell out within days.

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.