The following is a detailed timeline we are compiling of the movements of the life of the Victorian writer Charles Dickens during for 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.


1853.

January. Part XI (11) of Bleak House is published (chapters 33-35).

January, 1 (Saturday). 145th edition of Household Words is published.

January, 8 (Saturday). 146th edition of Household Words is published.

January, 13 (Thursday). Dickens attends a literary and artistic banquet, held in Birmingham.

January, 15 (Saturday). 147th edition of Household Words is published.

January, 20 (Thursday). The United Kingdom annexes Lower Burma ending the Second Anglo-Burmese War.

January, 22 (Saturday). 148th edition of Household Words is published.

January, 29 (Saturday). 149th edition of Household Words is published.

February. Part XII (12) of Bleak House is published (chapters 36-38).

February, 5 (Saturday). 150th edition of Household Words is published.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 41st birthday.

February, 12 (Saturday). 151st edition of Household Words is published.

February, 15. The PS Queen Victoria sinks in a snowstorm at night entering Dublin Bay with the loss of more than 80 lives.

February, 19 (Saturday). 152nd edition of Household Words is published.

February, 26 (Saturday). 153rd edition of Household Words is published.

March. Part XIII (13) of Bleak House is published (chapters 3942).

March, 5 (Saturday). 154th edition of Household Words is published.

March, 12 (Saturday). 155th edition of Household Words is published.

March, 19 (Saturday). 156th edition of Household Words is published. It includes the article Received a Blank Child.

March 19 (Saturday). A fire breaks out at Windsor Castle but is soon contained by firefighters.

March, 26 (Saturday). 157th edition of Household Words is published.

April. Part XIV (14) of Bleak House is published (chapters 4346).

April, 2 (Saturday). 158th edition of Household Words is published.

April, 7. Queen Victoria gives birth to her eighth child and fourth son, Leopold.

April, 9 (Saturday). 159th edition of Household Words is published.

April, 16 (Saturday). 160th edition of Household Words is published.

April, 16 (Saturday). Commercial passenger train services in India commence when a 3-engined train runs a 21-mile distance between Boree Bunder and Thana. The 14 coaches carried 400 passengers.

April, 18 (Monday). Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone introduces a budget in a speech lasting almost four and three-quarter hours. It remains the longest continuous budget speech in the House of Commons. .

April, 20 (Wednesday). Dickens attends a dinner at Devonshire House (London), hosted by the Duke of Devonshire, to support the Guild of Literature and Art.

April, 23 (Saturday). 161st edition of Household Words is published. It includes the article Home for Homeless Women.

April, 30 (Saturday). 162nd edition of Household Words is published.

May. Part XV (15) of Bleak House is published (chapters 47-49).

May, 7 (Saturday). 163rd edition of Household Words is published.

May, 14 (Saturday). 164th edition of Household Words is published. It includes the article In and Out of Jail, co-written by Charles Dickens, Henry Morley and William Henry Wills.

May, 21 (Saturday). 165th edition of Household Words is published. It includes A Happy Return to Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.

May, 28 (Saturday). 166th edition of Household Words is published.

June. Part XVI (16) of Bleak House is published (chapters 50-53).

June, 4 (Saturday). 167th edition of Household Words is published.

June, 11 (Saturday). 168th edition of Household Words is published.

June, 16 (Thursday). A benefit performance in support of the actress Miss Kelly is held at St. James’s Theatre, London on her retirement from the stage. Charles Dickens was part of a committee that helped to arrange the event.

June, 18 (Saturday). 169th edition of Household Words is published.

June, 25 (Saturday). 170th edition of Household Words is published.

Summer. Dickens tours Italy.

July. Part XVII (17) of Bleak House is published (chapters 54-56).

July, 2 (Saturday). 171st edition of Household Words is published.

July, 9 (Saturday). 172nd edition of Household Words is published.

July, 16 (Saturday). 173rd edition of Household Words is published.

July, 23 (Saturday). 174th edition of Household Words is published.

July, 30 (Saturday). 175th edition of Household Words is published.

August. Part XVIII (18) of Bleak House is published (chapters 57-59).

August, 6 (Saturday). 176th edition of Household Words is published.

August, 13 (Saturday). 177th edition of Household Words is published. It includes the article Gone Astray.

August, 15 (Monday). Scaffolding collapses whilst the Crystal Palace is being reassembled at Sydenham in south London, throwing 13 labourers to their deaths.

August, 17 (Wednesday). An coroners inquest opens at the Royal Crystal Palace Hotel, Sydenham into the tragedy at the Crystal Palace two days earlier. Amongst the attendees are Joseph Paxton, designer of the structure.

August, 20 (Saturday). 178th edition of Household Words is published.

August, 27 (Saturday). 179th edition of Household Words is published.

August, 29. Death of Charles James Napier, General and Commander-in-Chief, in India (born in 1782).

September. Parts XIX–XX (19-20), a double issue and the final instalments, of Bleak House is published (chapters 60-67).

September, 3 (Saturday). 180th edition of Household Words is published.

September, 10 (Saturday). 181st edition of Household Words is published.

September, 17 (Saturday). 182nd edition of Household Words is published.

September, 24 (Saturday). 183rd edition of Household Words is published.

September, 24 (Saturday). The Spectator magazine publishes an unfavourable review of Bleak House.

September, 28. The emigrant ship Annie Jane sinks in heavy seas off the Scottish island of Vatersay with the loss of 350 lives.

October. Outbreak of the Crimean War, initially between Russia and Turkey.

October, 1 (Saturday). 184th edition of Household Words is published.

October, 8 (Saturday). 185th edition of Household Words is published.

October, 15 (Saturday). 186th edition of Household Words is published.

October, 22 (Saturday). 187th edition of Household Words is published.

October, 29 (Saturday). 188th edition of Household Words is published.

October, 31. The lockout of Preston cotton mill workers begins. Lancashire cotton mill workers, seeking reinstatement of part of their pay that had been cut in the 1840’s, went on strike. In retaliation the cotton mill owners locked workers out of their factories. One of Britain’s longest industrial disputes, it lasts until 15 May 1854. Dickens visited Preston in late January 1854 to observe mill workers meetings, using it as inspiration for Hard Times.

November, 5 (Saturday). 189th edition of Household Words is published.

November, 12 (Saturday). 190th edition of Household Words is published.

November, 19 (Saturday). 191st edition of Household Words is published.

November, 29 (Saturday). 192nd edition of Household Words is published.

December, 3 (Saturday). 193rd edition of Household Words is published.

December, 10 (Saturday). 194th edition of Household Words is published.

December, 17 (Saturday). 195th edition of Household Words is published.

December, 24 (Saturday). 196th edition of Household Words is published.

December, 27 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives his first public reading, A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Town Hall in aid of the Birmingham and Midland Institute.

December, 28 (Wednesday). Dickens signs a contract to write Hard Times.

December, 29 (Thursday). Dickens gives a second public reading at Birmingham Town Hall in aid of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, reading The Cricket on the Hearth.

December, 30 (Friday). Dickens gives a further public reading of A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Town Hall in aid of the Birmingham and Midland Institute, stipulating that the seats be mainly reserved for working classes. Gives a speech to the audience before the reading [read speech].

December, 31 (Saturday). 197th edition of Household Words is published.


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.