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, 14. Death of the English architect, surveyor and portraitist George Dance the Younger (born in 1741).

February, 1. During the First Burmese War, a large British invasion force attacks Burmese positions in Arakan.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 13th birthday.

Charles Dickens is schooled at the Wellington House Academy.

John Dickens retires on a pension of £145 a year.

March, 29. During the First Burmese War, British forces launch an attack on Mrauk-U, the capital of Arakan Province.

April, 1. During the First Burmese War, British forces capture Mrauk-U, the capital of Arakan Province. At Danubyu, Maha Bandula, the commander in chief of the Burmese army, is killed by British gunfire.

May, 4. Birth of Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist (died in 1895).

June, 15. Work on the new London Bridge, designed by John Rennie, begins.

June, 22. The Cotton Mills Regulation Act establishes a maximum of 12-hour day for children under 16.

June, 24. Birth of William Henry Smith, politician and founder of stationers W H Smith (died in 1891).

August, 29. The Treaty of Rio de Janeiro, between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Empire of Brazil, is signed. The agreement recognises Brazil as an independent nation and formally ends Brazil’s war of independence, a series of political and military disputes that occurred between 1821 and 1824.

September, 27. Stockton and Darlington Railway opens to the public, the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives.

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.