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.


1858.

February, 9 (Tuesday). Gives talk at Freemasons’ Hall to help support Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Feb/Mar. Dickens separates from his wife, Catherine.

March, 26 (Friday). Dickens performs a reading for members of the Philosophical Institution at the Music Hall in Edinburgh.

March, 29 (Monday). Dickens attends the thirteenth anniversary festival of the General Theatrical Fund, held at the Freemasons’ Tavern, London.

April, 15. Gives reading of A Christmas Carol at St. Martin’s Hall, in London’s Covent Garden area, to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

April, 29. Start of London readings. Dickens begins his first commercial readings with a series of 17 readings between 29 April – 22 July, held at St. Martin’s Hall in London.

Spring/Summer. The Garrick Club Affair.

June, 3 (Thurday). Gives a reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm.
Gives a reading of The Chimes.

June, 9 (Wednesday). Gives a reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 3pm. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

July, 12. Dickens resigns from the Committee of the Garrick Club.

July, 21. Dickens attends a meeting at the Princess’s Theatre, London, to discuss the setting up of the Royal Dramatic College, a home for retired actors in Woking.

July, 22 (Thursday). Dickens gives his final London performance of this tour, performing the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

August (2). Government of India Act is passed. The East India Company, the de-facto rulers of India, lose control to the British Crown.

August, 2. Following the success of the London readings ( 29 April – 22 July), Dickens starts a provincial commercial reading tour with 87 readings in 42 towns, starting in Clifton and ending at Brighton.

August, 2 (Monday). Gives a reading at the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, at 8pm. Reads from The Chimes.

August, 4 (Wednesday). Gives a reading at the Royal Public Rooms, Exeter, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 6 (Friday). Returns to Clifton for another reading at the Victoria Rooms, held at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 10 (Tuesday). Gives a reading at the Music Hall, Worcester, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 12 (Thursday). Appears at the Music Hall, Shrewsbury. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

August, 13 (Friday). Gives a reading at the Music Hall, Chester of A Christmas Carol, held at 8pm.

August, 18 (Wednesday). Dickens gives the first of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads A Christmas Carol.

August, 19 (Thursday). Second of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

August, 20 (Friday). Third of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

August, 21 (Saturday). Last of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 3pm. Reads A Christmas Carol. After the performance he travels to Holyhead to take an overnight ferry to Dublin.

August, 22 (Sunday). Dickens arrivies in Dublin for a tour of Ireland. Whilst in the city he stays at the Morrison’s Hotel, Nassau Street.

August, 27 (Friday). Takes a train from Dublin to Belfast. In the evening, Dickens gives his first Belfast performance at the Victoria Hall with a reading from A Christmas Carol. Crowds surge into the venue when the doors open, which police are unable to control, leading to many people sitting in the wrong seats.

August, 28 (Saturday). In the morning, Dickens takes a walk from Belfast to Carrickfergus and back. Returns to give an afternoon reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

August, 29. (Sunday). Returns to Dublin, staying over at Morrison’s Hotel.

August, 30 (Monday). Travels from Dublin to Cork. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol at 8pm at the Atheneum.

August, 31 (Tuesday). Cork. Gives two more public readings at the Atheneum, at 1.30pm and at 8pm.

September, 1 (Wednesday). Travels to Limerick, final stop in his tour of Ireland. Stays at the Royal Hotel and performs for two nights at the Theatre Royal. In the evening he reads from A Christmas Carol at 8pm.

September, 2 (Thursday). Limerick. Writes from the Royal Hotel to his nephew describing the success of his readings in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. At 8pm, Dickens gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit at the Theatre Royal.

September, 4 (Saturday). Dickens is back at home in Gads Hill, Kent.

September, 6 (Monday). Writes to Wilkie Collins (from Gads Hill) commenting that ‘the success In Ireland has been immense‘.

September, 7 (Tuesday). The new Borough town hall for Leeds is opened by Queen Victoria.

September, 9 (Thursday). Dickens gives a reading, for one night, in the Yorkshire town of Wakefield, held at the Exchange buildings on Westgate. At 8pm, Dickens gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September 10 (Friday). Harrogate.

September 11 (Saturday). York.

September 12 (Sunday). Departs from York ay 6am on a specially chartered train to Scarborough. Stays at the Royal Hotel.

September 13 (Monday). Gives two readings at the Assembly Rooms, Scarborough. At 3pm, Dickens gives a performance of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. At 8pm, he gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 14 (Tuesday). Dickens gives a reading, in Hull, held at the Music Hall at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

September, 15 (Wednesday). Dickens gives a reading, in Leeds, held at the town’s Music Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

September, 17 (Friday). Reading at the Old Music Hall, Sheffield, held at 8pm. Performs readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

September, 21 (Tuesday). Reading at the Central Hall, Darlington, held at 8pm. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 22 (Wednesday). Reading at the Town Hall, Durham. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 24 (Friday). First of three readings in Newcastle, held at the Town Hall. At 8pm, Dickens gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 25 (Saturday). Two further readings in Newcastle, held at the Town Hall. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens gave a reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (at 8pm), he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

September, 27 (Monday). Gives the first of a series of readings at the Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh.

October, 1 (Friday). First of two nights of readings in Dundee, held at the Public Hall of the Corn Exchange, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

October, 2 (Saturday). Second of two nights of readings in Dundee, held at the Public Hall of the Corn Exchange, at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 3 (Sunday). Stays at the Royal Hotel, Aberdeen.

October, 4 (Monday). Gives two readings in Aberdeen, held at the County Rooms. In the afternoon (3pm) he reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (8pm), Dickens gives a performance of A Christmas Carol.

October, 6 (Wednesday). Gives first of a series of four readings in Glasgow, held at the City Hall. Reads from The Chimes.

October, 7 (Thursday). Gives the second (of four) readings at Glasgow with a performances of The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit , held at the City Hall.

October, 8 (Friday). Gives the third (of four) readings at Glasgow with a performance of A Christmas Carol, held at the City Hall.

October, 9 (Saturday). Gives last in a series of readings at Glasgow with a performance of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son, held at the City Hall.

October, 14 (Thursday). Gives a reading at St. Georges Hall, Bradford. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 15 (Friday). Returns to Liverpool, giving two performances at the Philharmonic Halls. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens gave a reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (at 8pm), he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 18 (Monday). First of three nights of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 19 (Tuesday). Second of three nights of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

October, 20 (Wednesday). Final night of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 21 (Thursday). Returns to the Nottingham Mechanics’ Institution, giving readings including A Christmas Carol.

October, 22 (Friday). Gives reading in Derby, held at the Mechanics’ Institute Lecture Hall at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 23 (Saturday), Gives a reading in Manchester, held at the Free Trade Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol and additionally the the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. The start time is brought forward to 7.30pm due to the extra duration.

October, 28 (Thursday). Gives reading in Leeds, performing from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 29 (Friday). Gives reading in Sheffield, held at the Music Hall. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

November, 2 (Tuesday). Gives two readings at the Music Hall in Leamington Spa. In the afternoon reads from A Christmas Carol and in the evening performs readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

November, 3 (Wednesday). Gives reading in Wolverhampton, held at the Corn Exchange. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. Stays at the Swan Hotel.

November, 4 (Thursday). Gives reading in Leicester, held at the New Music Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

November, 5 (Friday). A planned reading at the Town Hall, Oxford was postponed after requests from University authorities, as it clashed with the annual undergraduate ‘gown and town row’ event in the town centre.

November, 8 (Monday). Gives a reading at the New Hall, Reading. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

November, 9 (Tuesday). Gives the first of two readings in Southampton with an evening (8pm) performance at the Royal Victoria Assembly Rooms. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. Stays at the Royal Hotel, Southampton.

November, 10 (Wednesday). Second of two readings in Southampton with a daytime (3pm) performance at the Royal Victoria Assembly Rooms. Reads from A Christmas Carol. Stays at the Royal Hotel, Southampton.

November, 11 (Thursday). Gives two readings at St Georges Hall in Portsea. In the daytime (3pm), reads from A Christmas Carol. In the evening (8pm) reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

November, 12 (Friday). Gives first of three readings in Brighton. Reads from A Christmas Carol at the Town Hall, 8pm.

November, 13 (Saturday). Gives two further readings in Brighton at the Town Hall. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (8pm) he gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. The readings bring the 1858 national tour to an end.

November, 20 (Saturday). London. Working at Household Words, Wellington Street.

December, 3. Dickens gives a speech at the annual meeting of the Institutional Association of Lancashire and Cheshire, held in the Free-trade Hall, Manchester.

December, 4. Dickens attends a dinner in his honour at the Castle Hotel, Coventry.

December, 24 (Friday). Dickens starts three reading performances over the Christmas period held at St. Martin’s Hall. At 8pm, he reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

December, 27 (Monday). In the second of three reading performances over the Christmas period at St. Martin’s Hall, Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm.


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.


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