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, 25. The Scotsman is first published in Edinburgh as a liberal weekly newspaper.
January, 28. The Prince Regent’s carriage is attacked after the State opening of Parliament. Parliament, concerned that a revolution was imminent, introduce a series of draconian legislation known as the ‘Gag Acts‘ in response.
February. The last major Luddite attack occurs, against lace-making machines in Loughborough.
February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 5th birthday.
March, 10. The March of the Blanketeers begins, a peaceful march by hundreds of depressed Lancashire weavers, who intended to march from Manchester to London and petition the Prince Regent over the desperate state of the textile industry. They carried blankets to sleep in, giving rise to their name, but were chased by soldiers and had largely dispersed by the time they had reached Stockport.
June, 9-10. Pentrich Rising. The army prevents protesting labourers from Derbyshire from marching on Nottingham.
June, 18. London’s Waterloo Bridge was opened by the Prince Regent amongst much pomp and ceremony on the second anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
July, 18. Death of Jane Austen, novelist (born in 1775).
November, 6. Death of Princess Charlotte during childbirth. Charlotte, born in 1796, was the daughter of the Prince and Princess of Wales and second in line to the throne. Her death set off tremendous mourning across the country.
November, 7. Three men, known as the Pentrich martyrs, are executed outside Derby Gaol for their part in the Pentrich Rising of June, 1817. After being hung, the men were posthumously beheaded by axe, the last people in Britain to be executed this way.
November, 19. Princess Charlotte is buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
December. Walter Scott’s historical novel Rob Roy is published. It is set against the backdrop of the first Jacobite rebellion in 1715.
December. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are published posthumously.
December, 18-20. William Hone successfully defends himself in a London court on charges arising from his publication of political satires, a turning point in the fight for press freedom.
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.