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.


1859.

January, 6 (Thursday, Twelfth Night). Last of three reading performances orignally scheduled over the Christmas period at St. Martin’s Hall, in London’s Covent Garden area. Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm.

January, 14 (Thursday). Due to the success of the three Christmas performances, a further five readings are put on in January (14, 20, 28) and February (3, 10) to satisfy demand for tickets. At 8pm, Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, again held at St. Martin’s Hall.

January, 20 (Thursday). Dickens reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm at St. Martin’s Hall.

January, 28 (Friday). Dickens reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit, held at 8pm at St. Martin’s Hall.

February, 3 (Thursday). Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm at St. Martin’s Hall.

February, 10 (Thursday). Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm at St. Martin’s Hall.

April, 30 (Saturday). Launch of All the Year Round, a weekly magazine founded and owned by Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities is published weekly between April and November.

May, 2. The Royal Albert Bridge, carrying trains over the River Tamar in between Plymouth, Devon and Saltash, Cornwall, is officially opened by Prince Albert.

May, 28 (Saturday). Final edition of Household Words is published.

May, 31. The clock tower at the north end of the newly rebuilt Palace of Westminster, London, nicknamed Big Ben after the great bell of the clock within, is completed.

October, 17 – 28. Dickens undertakes a short Reading Tour, with thirteen readings in ten towns.

October, 17 (Monday). Cambridge.

October, 18 (Tuesday). Cambridge.


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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