Throughout 1813, John Dickens remained posted to Portsmouth Dockyard, the family living in the area.

The following is a detailed timeline we are compiling of the movements of the life of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens during each year of his 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.


January, 4. Birth of Isaac Pitman, inventor of Pitman Shorthand (died in 1897).

January, 28. Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice is published. It contains what will become one of the most famous opening lines in English literature.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Opening lines of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice, published in January 1813.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 1st birthday.

March, 8 (Monday). First concert by the London Royal Philharmonic Society is staged at the Argyll Rooms.

May, 20-21. Battle of Bautzen. Napoleon Bonaparte and his French troops beat the combined armies of Russia and Prussia in Saxony, Germany.

September, 4. Death of James Wyatt, architect (born in 1746).

October, 13. Cape of Good Hope becomes a British colony.

December, 24 (Friday). Felling mine disaster. A mine explosion at Felling colliery near Jarrow leaves 22 dead, of whom 13 were boys. It came just over a year and half since another explosion at the same colliery which left 96 people dead.

December, 27 (Monday). A thick fog, the worst for several decades, envelops London and the surrounding area, lasting several days.

December. The Dickens family move to a house at 39 Wish Street (now King’s Road) Southsea.

December, 31 (Friday). Westminster Bridge in London is illuminated by gas lighting provided by the Gas Light and Coke Company from the world’s first public gasworks nearby.

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.