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.


Early. Dickens has a disappointing reunion with Maria Winter (Maria Beadnell).

January, 21. Crimean War Riot. Ten days later, Lord Aberdeen’s government falls.

March, 2. Alexander II becomes Tsar of Russia.

June, 11 (Monday). Writes a letter from Tavistock House to Samuel Morley, saying he is unable to attend the inaugural meeting of the Administrative Reform Association (on 13 June) due to prior commitments.

June, 27. Gives a speech on administrative reform to members of the Administrative Reform Association, held at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London.

June, 29. The Daily Telegraph is launched (originally called the Daily Telegraph & Courier).

July – Sept. Rents a house overlooking the sea in Folkestone at 3 Albion Villas.

October (16) . Dickens rents the top of a house at No. 49, Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris for six months for him and his family.

December. Little Dorrit is published monthly between December 1855 and June 1857.

December. Part I (1) of Little Dorrit published (Book 1, Chapters 1-4).

December (22). Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol in aid of the Sheffield Mechanics Institute.

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.