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.


February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 10th birthday.

February, 10. Birth of Eliza Lynn Linton, novelist and journalist (died in 1898).

May, 23. HMS Comet is launched at Deptford Dockyard, the first steamboat commissioned by the Royal Navy.

May, 26. Grue Church fire. In Norway, the wooden church at Grue caught fire during the Pentecost service, killing at least 113 people.

July, 8. Death of Percy Bysshe Shelley, poet (born in 1792).

July, 22. The Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act is passed to regulate the treatment of cows, horses and sheep. The legislation, one of the first for animal rights, was pioneered by Colonel Richard Martin, an Irish politician and campaigner against cruelty to animals.

August, 15-29. Visit of King George IV to Scotland, the first appearance of the monarch there since 1651.

August, 25. Death of astronomer and composer William Herschel (born 1738 in Hanover).

September, 7. Prince Regent Dom Pedro declares Brazil’s independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves. Formal recognition came three years later, with a treaty signed by the new Empire of Brazil and the Kingdom of Portugal in late 1825.

October, 20. The New Observer newspaper renamed The Sunday Times.

October, 23–24. The Caledonian Canal, engineered by Thomas Telford, is opened throughout, linking the east and west coasts of Scotland through the Great Glen..

November, 1. Birth of Sydney Waterlow, businessman, politician and philanthropist (died in 1906).

November, 18. Hetton Colliery Railway was opened in County Durham, England. It was the first railway to operate without animal power, and the first entirely new line to be developed by George Stephenson.

November, 27. At Newgate Prison, William Reading becomes the last person to be hanged for shoplifting.

December, 24. Birth of Matthew Arnold, poet (died in 1888).

(?) The Dickens family moves to Bayham Street in Camden Town, London.

(?) Alfred Dickens (1822 – 1860) born.

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.