Last Updated on June 21, 2020
Charles Dickens Timeline
Here’s a list of facts, events and dates in the life of Charles Dickens. The Charles Dickens timeline also includes information about the era in which he lived.
The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain begins in June of 1812.
Charles John Huffman Dickens is born on February 7, 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens.
The War of 1812 ends in February of 1815. Also, The Corn Laws (trade restrictions on imported food and grain) were introduced in Great Britain.
1824 was the darkest year in Dickens’s life. His father, John Dickens was arrested for debt and sent to the Marshalsea prison. The family needed money and sent Charles to work in Warren’s Blacking Factory.
In May of 1827 Charles Dickens takes a position as the clerk of an attorney.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened on September 15, 1830. It was the first railway to rely on locomotives driven by steam power, with no horse-drawn traffic.
Dickens meets Maria Beadnell, his first love interest.
The British Factory Act of 1833 made it illegal to employ children less than 9 years old in factories. It limited child workers aged 9 to 13 to a maximum of 9 hours work a day.
The relationship with Maria Beadnell ends. A Dinner at Poplar Walk is published.
The British Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 stated that the able-bodied cannot receive assistance unless they enter a workhouse.
Dickens begins using the pseudonym “Boz“.
He meets his future wife, Catherine Hogarth.
Dickens becomes engaged to Catherine.
The first chapters of The Pickwick Papers are published.
In April of 1836 Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth.
June 20, 1837 marks the beginning of the Victorian era. It is on that date that Queen Victoria ascended the throne after the death of her uncle, William IV.
Queen Victoria in 1882
The first of his 10 children, Charles Culliford Boz Dickens, is born.
Mary Hogarth, Catherine’s sister, dies.
The publication of Oliver Twist begins.
Dickens and Hablot Browne travel to Yorkshire to see boarding schools. This is research for Nicholas Nickleby.
Dickens’s daughter, Mary, is born.
Publication of Nicholas Nickleby begins.
The world’s first commercial electric telegraph line comes into operation alongside the Great Western Railway line from London Paddington station to West Drayton.
His daughter, Kate, is born on October 29, 1839.
Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on February 10, 1840.
Publication of The Old Curiosity Shop begins.
Frederick de Moleyns of England is granted the first patent for an incandescent lamp. The design uses platinum wires contained within a vacuum bulb.
Barnaby Rudge is published. Charles and Catherine tour Scotland. Their son, Walter, is born.
Charles and Catherine travel to America. Late in 1842 or early in the next year Dickens begins work on Martin Chuzzlewit.
In September of 1843 Dickens and Clarkson Stanfield visit the Field Lane Ragged School.
A Christmas Carol is published on December 19, 1843.
His son Francis Jeffrey (Frank) is born on January 15, 1844.
Dickens and family travel to Italy. Dickens treats Madame de la Rue with mesmerism.
Another son, Alfred, is born.
The Corn Laws are repealed.
Dickens and his family travel to Switzerland. Publication of Dombey and Son begins.
His son, Sydney, is born.
1848Dickens’s sister, Fanny, dies. The Haunted Man, his last Christmas book is published.
His son, Henry Fielding Dickens, is born. The publication of David Copperfield begins.
His daughter, Dora Annie Dickens, is born.
Catherine Dickens suffers a nervous collapse. John Dickens, the father of Charles Dickens, dies. Dora Dickens dies when she is only eight months old. What Shall we have for Dinner?, a cookbook by Catherine Dickens is published.
The publication of Bleak House begins. His son, Edward or “Plorn”, is born.
Dickens gives his first public reading of one of his works.
Hard Times is published.
Dickens has a disappointing reunion with Maria Winter (Maria Beadnell). Publication of Little Dorrit begins.
Dickens works with Wilkie Collins on The Frozen Deep. Dickens purchases Gad’s Hill Place.
Hans Christian Anderson is entertained at Gad’s Hill Place. Dickens meets Ellen Ternan.
Dickens separates from Catherine, his wife.
A Tale of Two Cities is published.
Publication of Great Expectations begins in All the Year Round. His daughter, Katie, marries. Ten days later his brother, Alfred, dies. Dickens burns his personal papers.
The American civil war begins. Also,Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, dies.
Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth, dies. Dickens begins work on Our Mutual Friend.
His son, Walter, dies in India. The first installment of Our Mutual Friend is printed.
The American civil war ends.
On June 9, 1865 Dickens is involved in the Staplehurst railway accident. Ellen Ternan and her mother were also on the train with him that day.
Dickens tours America for the second time.
He gives his first Murder of Nancy reading.
Dickens is ordered by doctors to discontinue readings. Dickens begins writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Dickens gives his final public reading. Publication of The Mystery of Edwin Drood begins. Charles Dickens dies at Gad’s Hill Place on June 9, 1870.