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.


1867.

January, 15 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading in London, prior to undertaking a national tour, held at St. James’s Hall. Dickens reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby as well as a sketch from David Copperfield.

January, 15 (Tuesday). Regent’s Park Lake Tragedy. At least forty people are killed when the ice-covered lake in Regent’s Park collapsed, plunging hundreds of people into the freezing water below.

January, 17 – May, 14. Dickens undertakes a new series of 50 provincial readings, starting at Liverpool.

January, 17 (Thursday). Gives readings at Liverpool. Stays at the Aldephi Hotel.

January, 18 (Friday). Gives readings at Liverpool. Stays at the Aldephi Hotel.

January, 19 (Saturday). Gives readings at Liverpool. Stays at the Aldephi Hotel.

January, 22 (Tuesday). Chester. Gives reading at the Music Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 25 (Friday). Leicester. Gives an evening reading at the Temperance Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

January, 26 (Saturday). Dickens takes the 09.35 Midland express train from Leicester to London. He is so horrified at the furious motion of the train that he disembarked at Bedford. Takes a slow train to continue his journey. Subsequently writes a letter to The Times about the experience (published on 29 January).

January, 29 (Tuesday). Charles Dickens gives a second reading of the year in London, held at St. James’s Hall.

January, 31 (Thursday). Leeds. First of two nights of readings in Leeds, held at the Music Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby.

February, 1 (Friday). Leeds. Second of two nights of readings in Leeds, held at the Music Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

February, 2 (Saturday). Manchester. Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Free Trade Hall. Reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

February, 7 (Thursday). Charles Dickens’s 55th birthday.

February, 8 (Friday). First of two readings in Bath, held in the evening at the Assembly Rooms. Reads from Dr. Marigold, and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

February, 9 (Saturday). Second of two readings in Bath, held in the morning at the Assembly Rooms.

February, 11 (Monday). Fenians attempt to seize Chester Castle.

February, 11 (Monday). A large demonstration organised by the National Reform League takes place in London, including a march from Trafalgar Square to the Agricultural Hall in Islington. Charles Dickens is reported as watching the procession from the balcony of the Athenaeum Club.

February, 13 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Town Hall in Birmingham. Reads from A Christmas Carol and The Boy at Mugby.

February, 14 (Thursday). Liverpool. Dickens returns to Liverpool, with the first of two nights of readings, held at St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

February, 15 (Friday). Liverpool. Second of two nights of readings in Liverpool, held at St. George’s Hall at 8pm. Dickens reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby.

February, 16 (Saturday). Manchester. Charles Dickens gives a reading at the Free Trade Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol and The Boy at Mugby.

February, 17 (Sunday). Dickens travels to Glasgow.

February, 18 (Monday). Glasgow. Dickens gives the first of two readings, held at Glasgow’s City Hall. Dickens reads from David Copperfield and The Boy at Mugby.

February, 21 (Thursday). Glasgow. Dickens gives the second of two readings, held at Glasgow’s City Hall. Reads from Dr. Marigold, and Trial from Pickwick.

February, 22 (Friday). Edinburgh. Dickens gives the first of two readings, held at Edinburgh’s Music Hall at 8pm. Reads from Dr. Marigold, and Trial from Pickwick.

February, 23 (Saturday). Edinburgh. Dickens gives the second of two readings, held at Edinburgh’s Music Hall at 2.30pm. He reads Barbox Brothers and The Boy at Mugby. After the reading, Dickens travels back to London.

March, 2 (Saturday). Construction work begins at London’s Smithfield for a new market on the site of the former live meat market.

March, 4 (Monday). First of two nightly readings in Newcastle, held at the Music Hall. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 5 (Tuesday). Fenian Rising in Ireland.

March, 5 (Tuesday). Second of two nightly readings in Newcastle, held at the Music Hall. Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol and also ‘Bob Sawyer’s Party‘ from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 14 (Thursday). Takes a 2pm ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. Stays at the Shelbourne Hotel in the city.

March, 15 (Friday). Dublin. Dickens gives the first of three Dublin readings, held at the Rotunda at 8pm. Reads Doctor Marigold and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 15. The ‘Conference of Trades’ first meets; later forming the nucleus of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

March, 16 (Saturday). Dublin.

March, 17 (Sunday). Dublin.

March, 18 (Monday). Dublin. Dickens gives the second of three Dublin readings, held at the Rotunda at 8pm. Reads from David Copperfield and Bob Sawyer’s Party from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 20 (Wednesday). Belfast. Dickens gives a reading at the Ulster Hall at 8pm. Reads Doctor Marigold and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 21 (Thursday). Belfast.

March, 22 (Friday). Dublin. Dickens gives the last of three Dublin readings, held at the Rotunda at 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol and trail scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 23 (Saturday). Dickens leaves Ireland, taking the early morning mail steamer Munster from Dublin to Holyhead, Wales.

March, 28 (Thursday). Cambridge. Charles Dickens gives one performance in the town, at the Guildhall, starting at 8pm. He reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 29. Norwich. Charles Dickens gives one performance in the city, at St. Andrew’s Hall, starting at 8pm. He reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

March, 29. Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act. The Act allows the former colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (later divided into the two provinces of Ontario and Quebec) to form the Dominion of Canada.

April, 1. Dickens in London.

April, 1. Singapore becomes a British crown colony.

April, 3 (Wednesday). Gloucester. Gives an evening reading at the city’s Theatre Royal, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 4 (Thursday). Swansea.

April, 5 (Friday). Cheltenham. Gives an evening reading at the town’s Assembly Rooms, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 6 (Saturday). Cheltenham. Gives a second performance in the town, again at the town’s Assembly Rooms, starting at 2.30pm. Dickens reads A Christmas Carol.

April, 10 (Wednesday). Worcester. Gives an evening reading at the city’s Music Hall, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 11 (Thursday). Hereford. Gives an evening reading at the city’s Shire Hall, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 12 (Friday). Clifton. Gives a performance in the town, at the Victoria Rooms, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also Bob Sawyer’s Party from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 25 (Thursday). Preston. Gives an evening reading at the town’s Theatre Royal, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

April, 26 (Friday). Blackburn. Gives an evening reading at the Town Hall, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

May, 1 (Thursday). Hanley, Staffordshire. Gives an evening reading at the town’s Mechanics’ Hall, starting at 8pm. Dickens reads Doctor Marigold and also the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.

May, 14. Charles Dickens ends his reading tour after suffering from pain and swelling in his left foot.

May, 18. (Saturday). Death of painter Clarkson Stanfield at his home in Hampstead, London. Stanfield is best known for his large-scale paintings of dramatic marine subjects and landscapes. Charles Dickens was a lifelong friend of Stanfield visited him on the day he died.

May, 20 (Monday). Queen Victoria lays the foundation stone of the Royal Albert Hall in London. Victoria had travelled from Windsor Castle for the ceremony, taking a special train put on by the Great Western Railway from Windsor to Paddington on part of the journey.

May, 27. (Monday). Dickens attends the funeral of the painter and close friend Clarkson Stanfield. Dickens was in one of seven coaches as part of a cortege that travelled from Stanfield’s Hampstead home at 6 Belize Park Road, to a service at the Roman Catholic church of St. Mary’s in Holly Place and thereon to the burial at Kensal Green Cemetery.

June, 1. (Saturday). Edition 423 of All the Year Round is published. It includes a glowing tribute to Clarkson Stanfield written by Charles Dickens.

June, 5. Charles Dickens gives a speech in support of the Ninth Anniversary Festival of the Railway Benevolent Society, held at the Willis’s Rooms, London.

June, 5. A ceremonial 5-ton corner-stone, commemorating the start of building work at the new prepared meat market in London’s Smithfield, is laid by Lowman Taylor, chairman of the Markets Improvement Committee.

July, 1. The Dominion of Canada is officially established as a self-governing entity within the British Empire. The Dominion was created from the former North American colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada (later divided into the two provinces of Ontario and Quebec). The day is now recognised as Canada Day.

July, 24 (Wednesday). The Grand Hotel formally opens in the seaside town of Scarborough, north-east England. At the time it was the largest hotel and brick structure in Europe.

August, 15. The Reform Act of 1867 gains Royal assent. It enfranchises many urban working men.

August, 25. Death of the scientist Michael Faraday, aged 75 (born in 1791).

September, 18 (Wednesday). Charles Dickens chairs a meeting of the Printers’ Readers, held at the Salisbury Hotel, London.

September, 18 (Wednesday). The Manchester Outrages. Police Sergeant Charles Brett is murdered In Gorton by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood whilst transporting two arrested leaders of the group. He becomes the first Manchester City Police officer to be killed on duty (see also 23 November).

September, 24-28. First Lambeth Conference held.

October, 18. Alaska was formally transferred to the United States after being sold by the Russian Empire for the cost of $7.2 million.

November, 2. Dinner is held for Charles Dickens at the Freemasons’ Tavern to celebrate his second visit to America.

November, 6 (Wednesday). The National Society for Women’s Suffrage, the first such national campaigning group, is formed by Lydia Becker.

November, 8 (Friday). Charles Dickens leaves London, getting a 10am express train for Liverpool, accompanied by his eldest son and several close friends.

November, 8 (Friday). An underground explosion at the Ferndale Colliery in the Rhondda valley, Wales, kills 178 miners.

November, 9. Charles Dickens tours America for the second time, sailing for Boston from Liverpool, departing at noon.

November, 19. Charles Dickens arrives in Boston.

November, 23. Three men are hanged in Salford for the murder of a policeman whilst attempting to release two leaders of the Irish Republican Brotherhood from custody (see 18 September).

December, 2/3/5/6. Charles Dickens gives readings at the Tremont Temple, Boston.

December, 6 (Friday). Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s Haymarket is destroyed by fire.

December, 7. Charles Dickens travels from Boston to New York.

December, 9/10/12/13/16/17/19/20. Charles Dickens gives readings at the Steinway Hall, New York.

December, 13 (Friday). An explosion at Clerkenwell Prison during a failed Fenian escape attempt kills 12 local residents.

December, 18 (Wednesday). The New National Standard Theatre in Shoreditch, east London, opens on the site of a theatre destroyed by fire the previous year. The new theatre is advertised as having the largest and most magnificent Auditorium the world, consisting of four tiers of Boxes, Ninety Private Boxes, and spacious Stalls, Pit, and Gallery.

December, 21. Charles Dickens travels from New York to Boston.

December, 23/24. Charles Dickens gives readings at the Tremont Temple, Boston.

December, 25. Charles Dickens travels by rail from Boston to New York.

December, 26/27/28/30/31. Charles Dickens gives readings at the Steinway Hall, New York.

December, 26. In England, No Thoroughfare by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, opens at Adelphi Theatre.


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.