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.


1858.

January, 2 (Saturday). Edition 406 of Household Words is published.

January, 9 (Saturday). Edition 407 of Household Words is published.

January, 14. Orsini affair. An attempt to assassinate the French emperor Napoleon III in Paris by Felice Orsini and his accomplices fails, but results in the death of eight and the wounding of 142 people.

January, 16 (Saturday). Edition 408 of Household Words is published.

January, 16 (Saturday). Henry Fielding Dickens‘s 9th birthday.

January, 23 (Saturday). Edition 409 of Household Words is published.

January, 25. The marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter Victoria, Princess Royal, to Prince Friedrich of Prussia takes place at St James’s Palace, London. The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn is played at the event, leading to it becoming a popular wedding recessional.

January, 30 (Saturday). Edition 410 of Household Words is published.

January, 30. The first Hallé concert is given in Manchester, England, marking the official founding of The Hallé orchestra as a full-time, professional orchestra.

January, 31. Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s iron sailing steamship, SS Great Eastern, is launched at Millwall in London’s Isle of Dogs.

Feb/Mar. Dickens separates from his wife, Catherine.

February, 6 (Saturday). Edition 411 of Household Words is published.

February, 6 (Saturday). Charles Dickens writes to Wilkie Collins (from his Tavistock House home), sending him a gift of the original manuscript of The Perils of Certain English Prisoners and their Treasure, in Woman, Children, Silver, and Jewels, a collaboration between Dickens and Collins for a special Christmas edition of Household Words two months earlier. Dickens had the hand-written manuscripts, along with associated notes and letters, sent to a binders prior to forwarding it on to Collins.

February, 7 (Sunday). Charles Dickens’s 46th birthday.

February, 8 (Monday). Christian Settler is hanged at Newgate for shooting dead Detective Charles Thain on 22 November 1857. The murder took place on board the Caledonia steamer, whilst it was sailing to Hamburg. Settler had been attempting to escape after being chased by police for a hotel robbery.

February, 9 (Tuesday). Dickens chairs a meeting at Freemasons’ Hall to help support Great Ormond Street Hospital on its fifth anniversary [read speech].

February, 13 (Saturday). Edition 412 of Household Words is published.

February, 20 (Saturday). Edition 413 of Household Words is published.

February, 21. Palmerston resigns as Prime Minister, following the rejection of a counter-terrorism bill in the wake of the Orsini affair (see 14 January). He is replaced by Earl of Derby, forming a new Conservative government.

February, 27 (Saturday). Edition 414 of Household Words is published.

March, 6 (Saturday). Edition 415 of Household Words is published.

March, 13 (Saturday). Edition 416 of Household Words is published.

March, 13. In France, Felice Orsini is executed by guillotine for the attempted assassination of Napoleon III (see 14 January).

March, 20 (Saturday). Edition 417 of Household Words is published.

March, 25 (Thursday). St James’s Hall, one of London’s grandest concert halls, was opened. Designed by Owen Jones, the venue had doors on both Piccadilly and Regent Street. Charles Dickens would give several series of readings here, in 1861, 1866, 1868, and 1870. It was demolished in 1905.

March, 26 (Friday). Charles Dickens performs a reading for members of the Philosophical Institution at the Music Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. Over 2,000 people are reported in attendance. After the reading Dickens is presented with an elegant silver Christmas wassail bowl.

March, 27 (Saturday). Edition 418 of Household Words is published.

March, 29 (Monday). Charles Dickens attends the thirteenth anniversary festival of the General Theatrical Fund, held at the Freemasons’ Tavern, London.

The thirteenth anniversary of the Royal Theatrical Fund was celebrated by a dinner at the Freemasons’ Tavern on Monday. Mr. Thackeray from the chair, and Mr. Dickens and Mr. Buckstone made speeches, according to the annual custom. The society has in thirteen years accumulated 10,000l., and expended many hundreds a year to the widow, the orphan, and the distressed. The subscriptions of the evening formed a total of 400l

… Mr. Dickens proposed the health of the “noble English writer,” “the skilful showman” in “Vanity Fair,” who filled the chair that night. He interpolated an account of his duties as a trustee of the fund.

The Spectator. Saturday, 3 April 1858.

March, 30 (Tuesday). Death of John Henry Barrow (born in 1796). Barrow was the maternal uncle of Charles Dickens who had founded The Mirror of Parliament in 1828, giving Charles a position at the newspaper as a parliamentary reporter in the 1830s.

April, 3 (Saturday). Edition 419 of Household Words is published.

April, 3 (Saturday). Funeral of John Henry Barrow, the maternal uncle of Charles Dickens. Barrow died in poverty and was buried in a pauper’s grave at Norwood. Charles Dickens did not attend the funeral.

April, 10 (Saturday). Edition 420 of Household Words is published.

April, 15 (Thursday). Dickens gives a reading of A Christmas Carol at St. Martin’s Hall, in London’s Covent Garden area, to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

April, 17 (Saturday). Edition 421 of Household Words is published.

April, 24 (Saturday). Edition 422 of Household Words is published.

April, 29 (Thursday). Start of a series of paid-for London readings. Charles Dickens begins his first commercial readings with 17 performances between 29 April – 22 July, held at St. Martin’s Hall in London. On the first, Dickens gives a short speech before reading The Cricket on the Hearth.

May, 1 (Saturday). Edition 423 of Household Words is published.

May, 1 (Saturday). Charles Dickens attends the annual dinner of the Royal Academy. He is accompanied by close friend William Makepeace Thackeray. The health of both is toasted during the evening.

May, 5 (Wednesday). The annual dinner of the Royal Literary Fund is held at the Freemasons’ Tavern.

May, 8 (Saturday). Edition 424 of Household Words is published.

May, 6 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm. Gives a reading of The Chimes.

May, 15 (Saturday). Edition 425 of Household Words is published.

May, 15 (Saturday). London’s Covent Garden Theatre reopens, the third theatre on the site, following a disastrous fire two years previously. The building was designed by Edward Barry and constructed by Frederick Gye. The first production was the grand opera ‘Les Huguenots‘ by Giacomo Meyerbeer.

May, 22 (Saturday). Edition 426 of Household Words is published.

May, 29 (Saturday). Edition 427 of Household Words is published.

June, 1 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens presides at the first festival dinner of the Playground and General Recreation Society, held at the London Tavern. He gives a short speech to the new society, whose aim was to provide open spaces as playgrounds for poorer children in built-up areas.

June, 1 (Tuesday). The first of two giant tubes that form the bulk of the Royal Albert Bridge, a railway bridge connecting Cornwall to Devon and the rest of the U.K. railway network, is finally hoisted into place. It took nine months to delicately lift it 100 metres from barges on the river into place on stone piers.

June, 3 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm. Gives a reading of The Chimes.

June, 5 (Saturday). Edition 428 of Household Words is published.

June, 9 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 3pm. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

June, 10 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm. Gives a reading from Dombey and Son.

June, 12 (Saturday). Edition 429 of Household Words is published. It includes a personal piece by Charles Dickens about his split from his wife, Catherine Hogarth.

June, 15 (Tuesday). Queen Victoria and Prince Albert open Aston Hall, an Elizabethan hall and park on the outskirts of Birmingham, to the public. An estimated crowd of 500,000 came to the area to see the first visit by Victoria to Birmingham since becoming Queen.

June, 16 (Wednesday). Death of John Snow, a physician who is considered one of the founders of epidemiology (born in 1813). In 1854 he identified the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London.

June, 17 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

June, 19 (Saturday). Edition 430 of Household Words is published. It includes the first part of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel My Lady Ludlow.

June, 23 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 3pm. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

June, 24 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm. Reads A Christmas Carol.

June, 26 (Saturday). Edition 431 of Household Words is published.

July/August. The Great Stink. In central London hot weather exacerbates the smell of untreated human waste and industrial effluent in the River Thames. The smell affects work inside the Houses of Parliament who are forced to soak curtains in lime chloride. The event prompts authorities to accept a proposal from civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette to build a sewer system that takes waste beyond the metropolitan area.

July, 3 (Saturday). Edition 432 of Household Words is published.

July, 8 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm.

July, 10 (Saturday). Edition 433 of Household Words is published.

July, 10 (Saturday). The second of the two huge trusses of the Royal Albert Bridge is floated into the River Tamar, between Devon and Cornwall.

THE CORNWALL RAILWAY BRIDGE.—The second and last tube for the completition of the stupendous attraction of the Royal Albert bridge was floated across the Tamar, from the place where it was built, on Saturday afternoon. The arrangements on this occasion were in all respects similar to those adopted on the 1st of September last, when the first tube was floated into position, which has now been raised to its destined height. Mr. Brunel personally superintended the floating of the first tube; but the direction on Saturday devolved on Mr. Brereton, the resident engineer. The operations were completely successful, although the weather was rather more windy than might have been desired, there as not the least delay or hindrance.

The Launceston Weekly News, and Cornwall & Devon Advertiser. Saturday, 17 July 1858.

July, 12 (Monday). Charles Dickens resigns from the committee of the Garrick Club.

July, 14 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 3pm.

July, 15 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a commercial reading at St. Martin’s Hall, London, held at 8pm.

July, 17 (Saturday). Edition 434 of Household Words is published.

July, 21 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens attends a meeting at the Princess’s Theatre, London, to discuss the setting up of the Royal Dramatic College, a home for retired actors in Woking.

July, 22 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives his final performance of a short London tour, performing the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

July, 24 (Saturday). Edition 435 of Household Words is published.

July, 31 (Saturday). Edition 436 of Household Words is published.

July, 31 (Saturday). The Illustrated London News publishes an image and review of Charles Dickens performing at his recent first series of commercial readings.

August, 2. Government of India Act is passed. The East India Company, the de-facto rulers of India, lose control to the British Crown.

August, 2. Following the success of the London readings (29 April – 22 July), Dickens starts a provincial commercial reading tour with 87 readings in 42 towns, starting in Clifton and ending at Brighton.

August, 2 (Monday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Victoria Rooms, Clifton, at 8pm. Reads from The Chimes.

August, 4 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Royal Public Rooms, Exeter, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 6 (Friday). Charles Dickens returns to Clifton for another reading at the Victoria Rooms, held at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 7 (Saturday). Edition 437 of Household Words is published.

August, 10 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Music Hall, Worcester, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

August, 12 (Thursday). Charles Dickens appears at the Music Hall, Shrewsbury. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

August, 13 (Friday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Music Hall, Chester of A Christmas Carol, held at 8pm.

August, 14 (Saturday). Edition 438 of Household Words is published.

August, 18 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives the first of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads A Christmas Carol.

August, 19 (Thursday). Second of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

August, 20 (Friday). Third of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

August, 21 (Saturday). Edition 439 of Household Words is published.

August, 21 (Saturday). Last of four performances in Liverpool, held in the Philharmonic Hall at 3pm. Reads A Christmas Carol. After the performance, Dickens travels to Holyhead to take an overnight ferry to Dublin.

August, 22 (Sunday). Charles Dickens arrives in Dublin for a tour of Ireland. Whilst in the city he stays at the Morrison’s Hotel, Nassau Street.

August, 27 (Friday). Charles Dickens takes a train from Dublin to Belfast. In the evening, Dickens gives his first Belfast performance at the Victoria Hall with a reading from A Christmas Carol. Crowds surge into the venue when the doors open, which police are unable to control, leading to many people sitting in the wrong seats.

August, 28 (Saturday). Edition 440 of Household Words is published.

August, 28 (Saturday). In the morning, Dickens takes a walk from Belfast to Carrickfergus and back. Returns to give an afternoon reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

August, 29. (Sunday). Charles Dickens returns to Dublin, staying over at Morrison’s Hotel.

August, 30 (Monday). Charles Dickens travels from Dublin to Cork. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol at 8pm at the Atheneum.

August, 31 (Tuesday). Cork. Charles Dickens gives two more public readings at the Atheneum, at 1.30pm and at 8pm.

September, 1 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens travels to Limerick, the final stop in his tour of Ireland. Stays at the Royal Hotel and performs for two nights at the Theatre Royal. In the evening he reads from A Christmas Carol at 8pm.

September, 2 (Thursday). Limerick. Charles Dickens writes from the Royal Hotel to his nephew describing the success of his readings in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. At 8pm, Dickens gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit at the Theatre Royal.

September, 4 (Saturday). Edition 441 of Household Words is published.

September, 4 (Saturday). Dickens is back at home in Gads Hill, Kent.

September, 6 (Monday). Charles Dickens writes to Wilkie Collins (from Gads Hill) commenting that ‘the success In Ireland has been immense‘.

September, 7 (Tuesday). The new Borough town hall for Leeds is opened by Queen Victoria.

September, 9 (Thursday). Dickens gives a reading, for one night, in the Yorkshire town of Wakefield, held at the Exchange buildings on Westgate. At 8pm, Dickens gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September 10 (Friday). Harrogate.

September, 11 (Saturday). Edition 442 of Household Words is published.

September 11 (Saturday). York.

September 12 (Sunday). Departs from York at 6am on a specially chartered train to Scarborough. Stays at the Royal Hotel.

September 13 (Monday). Charles Dickens gives two readings at the Assembly Rooms, Scarborough. At 3pm, Dickens gives a performance of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. At 8pm, he gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September 13 (Monday). A panic at the Surrey Music Hall in Sheffield results in six people being crushed to death.

September, 14 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading, in Hull, held at the Music Hall at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

September, 15 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading, in Leeds, held at the town’s Music Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

September, 17 (Friday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Old Music Hall, Sheffield, held at 8pm. Although originally advertised to read A Christmas Carol, Dickens performs readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

September, 18 (Saturday). Edition 443 of Household Words is published.

September, 21 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Central Hall, Darlington, held at 8pm. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 22 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Town Hall, Durham. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol.

September, 23 (Thursday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Theatre Royal, Sunderland.

September, 24 (Friday). Dickens is in Newcastle for three readings. The first of three readings is held at the Town Hall at 8pm when Dickens gives a reading of A Christmas Carol. Whilst in Newcastle, Dickens is joined by his daughters who will accompany him for the Scotland part of his 1858 tour. He stays at the town’s Station Hotel.

September, 25 (Saturday). Edition 444 of Household Words is published.

September, 25 (Saturday). Charles Dickens gives two further readings in Newcastle, held at the Town Hall. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens gave a reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (at 8pm), he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

September, 27 (Monday). Charles Dickens gives the first of a series of readings at the Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh.

October, 1 (Friday). First of two nights of readings in Dundee, held at the Public Hall of the Corn Exchange, at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

October, 2 (Saturday). Edition 445 of Household Words is published.

October, 2 (Saturday). Second of two nights of readings in Dundee, held at the Public Hall of the Corn Exchange, at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 3 (Sunday). Stays at the Royal Hotel, Aberdeen.

October, 4 (Monday). Gives two readings in Aberdeen, held at the County Rooms. In the afternoon (3pm) he reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (8pm), Dickens gives a performance of A Christmas Carol.

October, 6 (Wednesday). Gives first of a series of four readings in Glasgow, held at the City Hall. Reads from The Chimes.

October, 7 (Thursday). Gives the second (of four) readings at Glasgow with performances of The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit , held at the City Hall.

October, 8 (Friday). Gives the third (of four) readings at Glasgow with a performance of A Christmas Carol, held at the City Hall.

October, 9 (Saturday). Edition 446 of Household Words is published.

October, 9 (Saturday). Gives last in a series of readings at Glasgow with a performance of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son, held at the City Hall.

October, 14 (Thursday). Gives a reading at St. Georges Hall, Bradford. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 15 (Friday). Returns to Liverpool, giving two performances at the Philharmonic Halls. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens gave a reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (at 8pm), he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 16 (Saturday). Edition 447 of Household Words is published.

October, 18 (Monday). First of three nights of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 19 (Tuesday). Second of three nights of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son.

October, 20 (Wednesday). Final night of readings at the Music Hall, Birmingham. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 21 (Thursday). Returns to the Nottingham Mechanics’ Institution, giving readings including A Christmas Carol.

October, 22 (Friday). Gives reading in Derby, held at the Mechanics’ Institute Lecture Hall at 8pm. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 23 (Saturday). Edition 448 of Household Words is published.

October, 23 (Saturday), Gives a reading in Manchester, held at the Free Trade Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol and additionally the the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. The start time is brought forward to 7.30pm due to the extra duration.

October, 28 (Thursday). Gives a second reading of the year in Leeds, held at the Music Hall. Performs from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

October, 29 (Friday). Gives reading in Sheffield, held at the Music Hall. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

October, 30 (Saturday). Edition 449 of Household Words is published.

October, 30 (Saturday). Bradford sweets poisoning. 21 people are killed and 200 more suffer arsenic poisoning when arsenic is accidentally substituted for plaster in adulterating sweets sold in Bradford market. The event contributed to legislation regulating the adulteration of foodstuffs.

November, 2 (Tuesday). Gives two readings at the Music Hall in Leamington Spa. In the afternoon reads from A Christmas Carol and in the evening performs readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

November, 3 (Wednesday). Gives reading in Wolverhampton, held at the Corn Exchange. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. Stays at the Swan Hotel.

November, 3 (Wednesday). Death of Harriet Taylor Mill, English philosopher and author (born in 1807). She was the wife of the philosopher, political economist, and politician John Stuart Mill.

November, 4 (Thursday). Gives reading in Leicester, held at the New Music Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol.

November, 5 (Friday). A planned reading by Dickens at the Town Hall, Oxford was postponed after requests from University authorities, as it clashed with the annual undergraduate ‘gown and town row’ event in the town centre.

November, 6 (Saturday). Edition 450 of Household Words is published.

November, 8 (Monday). Gives a reading at the New Hall, Reading. Reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

November, 9 (Tuesday). Gives the first of two readings in Southampton with an evening (8pm) performance at the Royal Victoria Assembly Rooms. Reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. Stays at the Royal Hotel, Southampton.

November, 10 (Wednesday). Second of two readings in Southampton with a daytime (3pm) performance at the Royal Victoria Assembly Rooms. Reads from A Christmas Carol. Stays at the Royal Hotel, Southampton.

November, 11 (Thursday). Gives two readings at St Georges Hall in Portsea. In the daytime (3pm), reads from A Christmas Carol. In the evening (8pm) reads from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.

November, 12 (Friday). Gives first of three readings in Brighton. Reads from A Christmas Carol at the Town Hall, 8pm.

November, 13 (Saturday). Edition 451 of Household Words is published.

November, 13 (Saturday). Gives two further readings in Brighton at the Town Hall. In the afternoon (3pm), Dickens reads the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening (8pm) he gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit. The readings bring the 1858 national tour to an end.

November, 17 (Wednesday). Death of Robert Owen, British social reformer and founder of the Co-operative Society (born in 1771).

November, 20 (Saturday). Edition 452 of Household Words is published.

November, 20 (Saturday). London. Working at Household Words, Wellington Street.

November, 27 (Saturday). Edition 453 of Household Words is published.

December, 3. Dickens gives a speech at the annual meeting of the Institutional Association of Lancashire and Cheshire, held in the Free-trade Hall, Manchester [read speech].

December, 4 (Saturday). Edition 454 of Household Words is published.

December, 4 (Saturday). Dickens attends a dinner in his honour at the Castle Hotel, Coventry.

December, 7 (Saturday). The 1858 Christmas special edition of Household Words is published.

December, 11 (Saturday). Edition 455 of Household Words is published.

December, 18 (Saturday). Edition 456 of Household Words is published.

December, 24 (Friday). Dickens starts three reading performances over the Christmas period held at St. Martin’s Hall. At 8pm, he reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. Liberal politician and the current Lord Chief Justice, John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell, is present in the audience.

December, 25 (Saturday). Edition 457 of Household Words is published.

December, 27 (Monday). In the second of three reading performances over the Christmas period at St. Martin’s Hall, Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers, held at 8pm. The third and last of these St. Martin’s Hall Christmas readings would be held on Twelfth Night (6 January 1859).


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.