Charles Dickens born.

Charles Dickens born in February, the second child and first son of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow in Landport, then just outside Portsmouth. He was christened a month later Charles John Huffam Dickens at St. Mary’s Church, Portsea. John worked as a pay clerk in the nearby Royal Navy Dockyard.

1815. June.

Battle of Waterloo.

In the Napoleonic Wars, a British-led coalition, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, wins a decisive victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

1819. August.

Peterloo Massacre.

Eighteen people are killed when cavalry charged into a crowd of around 60,000 people who had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation at St Peter’s Field in Manchester.

1820. January.

George IV’s accession.

George IV becomes king. He had been Regent since 1811, as a result of the mental illness of his father, George III.

1829. September.

Metropolitan Police formed.

The Metropolitan Police Act 1829 introduces a more organised police force for London. Over subsequent decades police forces were established across the country.

1830. June.

William IV’s accession.

King George IV dies without legitimate issue and the Duke of Clarence succeeds him as William IV. He is the last king, and penultimate monarch, of Britain’s House of Hanover.

1832. June.

Great Reform Act.

The Great Reform Act doubles the electorate, redistributes parliamentary seats and reduces the ‘rotten’ boroughs



Charles Dickens writes a number of short sketches which appear in various newspapers and other periodicals between 1833 and 1836. In 1836 a collection of the sketches are published as a two-volume book Sketches by Boz, with illustrations by George Cruikshank.

1834. October.

Houses of Parliament destroyed.

The Houses of Parliament are largely destroyed by fire.


Charles marries.

In the Spring of 1836, Charles Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth at St. Lukes, Chelsea. Catherine was the daughter of Scottish writer of George Hogarth, who had worked with Charles at The Morning Chronicle and The Evening Chronicle newspapers. The couple honeymoon for a week in Chalk, Kent.


The Pickwick Papers.

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, more commonly referred to now as The Pickwick Papers, was Charles Dickens’s first novel, originally published as a monthly serial between March 1836 and October 1837. Its popularity helped propel Dickens to one of the foremost writers of the time.


Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist.

Oliver Twist, subtitled The Parish Boy’s Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, first published as a monthly serial in Bentley’s Miscellany, from February 1837 to April 1839.

1837. June.

Victoria’s accession.

Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent becomes Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland following the death of King William IV. She will reign until her death in 1901.

1837. September.

Railway boom.

A railway line connecting London to Birmingham opens at the start of a railway boom.


Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby.

Nicholas Nickleby; or, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby was Charles Dickens’s third novel, published monthly between April 1838 and October 1839. Dickens largely wrote the work whilst living at his London residence in Doughty Street.

1838. May.

People’s Charter.

A People’s Charter is published, advocating democratic reform on the basis of six demands. Chartism goes on to gain substantial support amongst the working classes over the next decade, with huge rallies and three national petitions submitted to parliament.


Master Humphrey's Clock

The Old Curiosity Shop.

The Old Curiosity Shop was the fourth novel from Charles Dickens, and first appeared as a weekly serial published in Master Humphrey’s Clock, from April 1840 to February 1841.


Master Humphrey's Clock

Barnaby Rudge.

Barnaby Rudge was the fifth novel from Charles Dickens, and first appeared as a weekly serial published in Master Humphrey’s Clock, from February 1841 to November 1841. It is the first of Dickens’s two historical novels (the other being A Tale of Two Cities).


First Amercian Tour.

Charles Dickens undetakes his first Amercian tour between January to June of 1842. He would go on to write the travelogue American Notes for General Circulation about his experiences, published on October of that year.


Martin Chuzzlewitt

Martin Chuzzlewit.

Martin Chuzzlewit, is the sixth novel by Charles Dickens originally published between January 1843 and July 1844.


Dombey and Son

Dombey and Son.

Dombey and Son was Charles Dickens’s seventh novel, published between October 1846 and April 1848.


David Copperfield

David Copperfield.

David Copperfield was the eighth novel by Charles Dickens, first published between May 1849 and November 1850.


Great Exhibition.

The Great Exhibition opens at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London


Bleak House

Bleak House.

Bleak House was the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, serialised between 18521853.


Hard Times.

Hard Times – For These Times (more commonly now known as Hard Times) is the tenth novel by Charles Dickens. It first appeared in weekly parts, published in Household Words, from April to August 1854.


Crimean War.

The Crimean War was fought between the Russians and an alliance of the British, French and Turks who feared Russian expansion in the Balkans.


Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit.

Little Dorrit was the eleventh novel from Charles Dickens, serialised monthly between December 1855 and June 1857.

1858. May.


Charles Dickens splits from his wife, Catherine Hogarth.


A Tale of Two Cities.

A Tale of Two Cities.

A Tale of Two Cities was the second of Charles Dickens’s two historical novels (the other being Barnaby Rudge). It first appeared as a weekly serial published in All the Year Round from April to November 1859.

1859. November.

On the Origin of Species.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which proposed that all species evolved on the basis of natural selection, is published.


Great Expectations.

Great Expectations is Charles Dickens‘s thirteenth novel first published in All the Year Round, from December 1860 to August 1861.


Death of Prince Albert.

Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, dies aged just 42, from typhoid.


Our Mutual Friend.

Our Mutual Friend was Charles Dickens‘s fourteenth and last completed novel, published monthly between May 1864 and November 1865. It was written whilst Dickens was living at Gad’s Hill in Kent.


Second American Tour.

Charles Dickens undertakes a second tour of the United States and Canada, earning considerable sums from public readings.


The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Monthly serial, published between April 1870 and September 1870. Written whilst Dickens was living at Gad’s Hill. Only six of twelve planned numbers completed before the authors death.

1870. June.

Death of Charles Dickens.

At around 6pm on 8 June 1870, Charles Dickens suffers a seizure at his Gad’s Hill residence. His old friend and family doctor, Frank Beard, is sent for and arrives about midnight. Dickens passes away at around 6pm on 9 June, around twenty-four hours after the initial seizure. Five days later, Charles Dickens is buried in a service at Westminster Abbey.