During the first months of 1839, Charles Dickens was concurrently writing Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. The final part of Oliver Twist appeared in April and Nicholas Nickleby was completed by September. In October, Dickens’s third child, Kate Macready, is born at Doughty Street, and with an increasing family size, the Dickens family move from Doughty Street, to a larger house at Devonshire Terrace, near London’s Regents Park, in December. In current affairs, a petition signed by over one million people from the Chartist movement was presented to the Houses of Parliament in June, which voted not to hear the petitioners. Disturbances from Chartist sympathisers broke out in a number of areas during the year including Newcastle (July), Bolton (August) and most notably in Newport (November), when around 22 demonstrators were killed when troops opened fire on them.


Dickens turns 27.

Charles Dickens’s 27th birthday was on 7 February 1839.



Charles Dickens visits Exeter, renting a cottage in nearby Alphington for his parents.


Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist completed.

The final part of Charles Dickens’s second novel, Oliver Twist: or the Parish Boy’s Progress, more commonly referred to as Oliver Twist, is published in Bentley’s Miscellany. It had been serialised in monthly parts in this magazine since February 1837.


Petersham stay.

Charles Dickens rents Elm Cottage, Petersham, for a four-month period, spending much of the summer there. He writes much of the closing chapters of Nicholas Nickelby at Petersham.


Chartist Petition.

A petition, signed by 1.3 million people from the Chartist movement, is presented to the House of Commons. MP’s vote, by a large majority, not to hear the petitioners.


Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby completed.

The final part of Charles Dickens’s third novel, Nicholas Nickleby is published. It had been serialised in monthly parts since March 1838.


Birth of Catherine (‘Kate’) Dickens.

At the end of October, Charles and Catherine have their third child, Catherine Elizabeth Macready Dickens (nicknamed Kate or Katey), who was born at their Doughty Street home.


Newport Rising.

An armed rebellion of up to 10,000 Chartist sympathisers, led by John Frost, marches on the town of Newport, Monmouthshire. About 22 demonstrators are killed when troops open fire on them and the leaders of the rebellion later convicted of treason.