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 and major news events from across the world at the time.


March, 5. The Britannia Bridge opens, designed by Robert Stephenson to carry the Chester and Holyhead Railway across the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales.

March 30. First edition of Household Words. The article The Amusements of the People, about popular theatre, is published in the first edition.

March, 31. The paddle steamer RMS Royal Adelaide, bound from Cork to London, sinks off Margate with the loss of all 250 on board.

April 13. Third edition of Household Words. A second article entitled The Amusements of the People is published, about a visit to a the Britannia saloon theatre in the east-end of London.

May 5 (Sunday). Charles Dickens, along with friend Jacob Bell (founder of the Pharmaceutical Society), visit an East-End (London) workhouse. The visit will form the basis of the article A Walk in the Workhouse published later that month.

May 18. The Begging-Letter Writer is published in Household Words.

May 25. A Walk in the Workhouse is published in Household Words.

June, 27. Robert Pate attacks Queen Victoria as she leaves Cambridge House in London’s Piccadilly. Pate was later sentenced to seven years transportation.

July, 3. The Koh-i-Noor diamond is presented to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace by the deputy chairman of the East India Company on the Company’s 250th anniversary.

August 16. Dickens’s ninth child, Dora Annie Dickens, is born.

August 29. Newcastle Railway Station is officially opened in a ceremony attended by Queen Victoria.

November 18 (Monday). Dickens stages amateur theatricals at Knebworth House.

November 19 (Tuesday). Dickens stages amateur theatricals at Knebworth House.

November 19. Alfred Tennyson is appointed as Poet Laureate.

November 20 (Wednesday). Dickens stages amateur theatricals at Knebworth House.

December 14 (Saturday). A December Vision is published in Household Words.

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.