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.


1862.

January, 1 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives two readings in Leamington Spa.  In afternoon reads from David Copperfield. In evening reads from Nicholas Nickleby and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 2 (Thursday). Travels from Leamington Spa to Cheltenham via Birmingham. Stays at the home of William Charles Macready.

January, 3 (Friday). Charles Dickens gives a reading in Cheltenham, held at the Assembly Rooms. Reads from Nicholas Nickleby and also The Boots at the Hollytree Inn. Macready in attendance.

January, 4 (Saturday). Charles Dickens gives a second reading in Cheltenham, held at the Assembly Rooms. In the afternoon reads from David Copperfield.

January, 6 (Monday). Charles Dickens gives the first of two readings at the Town Hall, otherwise known as the Saint George’s Hall, in Stonehouse, Plymouth. At 8pm he reads from Nicholas Nickleby and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 7 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives the second of two readings at the Town Hall, otherwise known as the Saint George’s Hall, in Stonehouse, Plymouth. At 8pm he reads reads six chapters from David Copperfield.

January, 8 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading in the Devon seaside town of Torquay, held at the Bath Saloon. At 8pm he reads from A Christmas Carol and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. Dickens was suffering from a cold and cancelled a planned reading from Nicholas Nickleby.

January, 10 (Friday). Charles Dickens gives the first of two readings in Exeter, held at the Royal Public Rooms. At 8pm he reads from Nicholas Nickleby and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 11 (Saturday). Charles Dickens gives the second of two readings in Exeter, held at the Royal Public Rooms. In the afternoon (2.30pm) he reads from David Copperfield.

January, 16 (Thursday). Hartley Colliery disaster. A coal mining accident in the coastal village of Hartley, Northumberland resulted in the deaths of 204 men when the beam of the pit’s pumping engine broke and fell down the shaft, trapping the men below.

January, 27 (Monday). Charles Dickens gives the first of three nights of readings in Liverpool, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Dickens gives readings from Nicholas Nickleby and also Bob Sawyer’s Party from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 28 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives the second of three nights of readings in Liverpool, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Reads from David Copperfield and also Bob Sawyer’s Party from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 29 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives the last of three nights of readings in Liverpool, held in the small concert room of St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Reads from Nicholas Nickleby and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 50th birthday.

March-June. Dickens gives a series of public readings in London.

March, 1. Death of Peter Barlow, mathematician and physicist (born in 1776).

March, 15. Riots break out in Stalybridge resulting from the Lancashire Cotton Famine.

April, 3. Death of James Clark Ross, naval officer and explorer (born in 1800).

May, 1. The 1862 International Exhibition of Industry and Science opens in South Kensington.

May, 24 (Saturday). The new Westminster Bridge in central London, designed by Thomas Page, is opened to traffic. The bridge replaced an earlier one that opened in 1750 and stood for 110 years.

June, 17. Death of Charles Canning, 1st Earl Canning, Viceroy of India (born in 1812).

June, 20. Barbu Catargiu (born in 1807), the Prime Minister of Romania, is assassinated.

July, 1. Marriage of Princess Alice, second daughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine.

August, 5. Battle of Baton Rouge. During the American Civil War, Confederate troops attempt to take Baton Rouge in Louisiana, but are driven back by fire from Union gunboats.

August, 31. The last mail coach runs from Carlisle to Hawick, Scotland.

Autumn. Construction begins of the Thames Embankment in London, designed by Joseph Bazalgette.

October, 20 (Monday). Nurse Catherine Wilson is hanged at Newgate for murder, the last woman to be publicly hanged in London. A crowd of 20,000 people watch the execution.


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.