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, 17. Birth of Anne Brontë, author (died in 1849).

January, 23. Death of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (born 1767) at Sidmouth, England. Edward was the fourth son and fifth child of King George III and the father of Queen Victoria. Victoria was less than a year old when he died, at the age of 52.

January, 29. George IV of the United Kingdom ascends the Throne following the death at Windsor Castle of his father George III. It brings an end to the period known as the English Regency which began in 1811, during which George IV had served as prince regent due to his father’s mental deterioration.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 8th birthday.

February, 22. Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers is exposed.

April, 1-2. The ‘Radical War’ begins, also known as the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, a week of strikes and unrest in Scotland following demands for reform in Great Britain and Ireland.

April, 5. During the ‘Radical War’ troops capture radicals at Bonnybridge.

April, 27. Birth of Herbert Spencer, philosopher and political theorist (died in 1903).

May, 1. The Cato Street conspirators are the last to suffer decapitation following their hanging for treason outside Newgate Prison in London.

May, 11. HMS Beagle is launched at Woolwich Dockyard. On it’s second voyage in 1831 the ship took young naturalist Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage around the world.

May, 12. Birth of Florence Nightingale, nurse (died in 1910).

June, 19. Death of Joseph Banks, naturalist and botanist (born in 1743).

July, 4. Birth of Frederick William Dickens, sixth child of of John Dickens and Elizabeth Barrow.

September, 8. Radical leaders John Baird and Andrew Hardie are executed at Stirling for their part in the rising at Bonnybridge

October, 11. Death of James Keir, geologist, chemist and industrialist (born in 1735).

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.