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 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 (early). A thick fog envelops London and surrounding area, starting at the end of December 1813 and lasting several days into the beginning of 1814.

January, 27. Death of Philip Astley, circus promoter (born in 1742).

February. The last frost fair is held in London after the River Thames freezes over during the severe winter of 1813/14. Traders set up stalls and fairground booths on the ice, selling frost fair memorabilia. A new London Bridge, built in 1823, allows the river to flow too quickly to freeze over, preventing further such fairs.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 2nd birthday.

February, 12. A fire destroys the Custom House in London.

March, 10. Emperor Napoleon I is defeated at the Battle of Laon in France..

March, 28, Birth of Alfred Allen Dickens, third child of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow.

April, 1. The Gas Light and Coke Company begins the world’s first permanent public gas lighting of streets in the parish of St Margaret’s, Westminster, extending to other parts of London by 25 December.

April, 10. The Duke of Wellington wins the Battle of Toulouse, ending the Peninsular War.

April, 22, Baptism of Alfred Allen Dickens at St. Mary’s Church, Portsea, Hampshire.

June, 22. The first cricket match is played at Lord’s Cricket Ground in St John’s Wood, London.

July. Walter Scott’s Waverley is published anonymously. Set during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, it is generally regarded as the first Western historical novel.

August, 13. The Convention of London, a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, is signed in London. The treaty restored most of the territories in Malaya that Britain had seized in the Napoleonic Wars.

August, 24. During the War of 1812, British troops burn Washington, D.C..

August, 28 (Sunday). A fire breaks out at a mustard mill in the Southwark area of London which destroys much of the surviving parts of Winchester Palace, once one of the largest and most important buildings in the city during medieval times.

September, 6. Death of Alfred Allen Dickens, aged 5 months.

September, 12. Battle of North Point. During the War of 1812, United States and British forces clash at North Point, Maryland.

September, 13. Battle of Baltimore. During the War of 1812, Fort McHenry in Baltimore is attacked by British forces.

October, 17. London Beer Flood. A large vat of porter in Meux’s Brewery burst, demolishing buildings and killing nine.

December, 24. The Treaty of Ghent is signed by the United Kingdom and the United States, ending the War of 1812.

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.