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.
January – June. Dickens rents 5 Hyde Park Place from Thomas Milner Gibson as a London base.
January, 11 – March, 15. Between these dates, Dickens gives a series of twelve readings at St. James’s Hall in Piccadilly, London. They are to be his last series of public readings.
February, 7. Charles Dickens’s 58th birthday.
February, 12. Death of George Hogarth, Dickens’s former Father-in-Law.
March, 9. Dickens has an audience with Queen Victoria.
April. The Mystery of Edwin Drood is published between April and September (but never finished).
April, 25 (Monday). Death of the Irish history painter, literary and portrait painter, and illustrator Daniel Maclise (born in 1806). Maclise designed illustrations for several of Dickens’s Christmas books and other works. Charles Dickens used a public speech five days later to pay tribute to him.
April, 30 (Saturday). Dickens attends the annual banquet of the Royal Academy in Burlington House, Piccadilly, London. He gives a short speech to the assembled crowd which includes royalty and many politicians. It will be his final public appearance.
May, 23. Death of the author Mark Lemon in Crawley, West Sussex, at the age of 60. Lemon was the founding editor of both Punch and The Field magazines. He was a close friend of Charles Dickens although the two fell out in later life.
May, 25. Dickens writes to Harry Lemon, son of the author Mark Lemon, expressing his grief at the news of his death.
June, 7. Dickens walks with Georgina Hogarth around the lanes surrounding Gad’s Hill Place.
June, 8. At around 6pm, Charles Dickens suffers a seizure at Gad’s Hill Place. His old friend and family doctor, Frank Beard, is sent for and arrives about midnight.
June, 9. Charles Dickens passes away at Gad’s Hill Place at around 6pm, around twenty-four hours after the initial seizure.
June, 14. Charles Dickens is buried in a service at Westminster Abbey.
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.