Dickens Timeline

1809  (13 June) John Dickens, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, marries Elizabeth Barrow.

1810  (28 Oct.) Frances Dickens ('Fanny') born.

1812  (7 Feb.) Charles Dickens born at Mile End Terrace, Landport, Portsea (now 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth); (March) Charles Dickens baptised at parish church of Portsea, as Charles John Huffam Dickens.

1814  Birth (Mar.) and death (Sept.) of Alfred Allen Dickens.

1815  (1 Jan.) Dickens family moves to London.

1816  (Apr.) Letitia Dickens born.

1817 (Apr.) Dickens family settles in Chatham.

1819 (Sept.) Harriet Dickens born.

1820 Frederick Dickens ('Fred') born; CD receives instruction in the rudiments of English and Latin from his mother.

1821 CD goes to school run by William Giles.

1822  (Mar.) Alfred Lamert Dickens born; Harriet Dickens dies. CD stays in Chatham when family moves to Camden Town, London; rejoins them later, but his education is discontinued.

1823  (Dec.) Family moves to 4 Gower Street North, where Mrs Dickens fails in her attempt to run a school for young ladies.

1824 (late Jan. or early Feb.) James Lamert, a relative, offers to employ CD at Jonathan Warren's blacking warehouse, Hungerford Stairs; (20 Feb.) John Dickens arrested and imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea till 28 May; CD in lodgings; family moves to Somers Town.

1825  (9 Mar.) John Dickens retires from Navy Pay Office with a pension; (Mar./Apr.) CD leaves Warren's and recommences his schooling at Wellington House Academy.

1826 John Dickens works as Parliamentary correspondent for The British Press.

1827 (Mar.) Family evicted for non-payment of rates; CD Enters office of Messrs. Ellis & Blackmore, attorneys, of Gray’s Inn, as a solicitors’ clerk; (Nov.) Augustus Dickens born.

1828 John Dickens works as reporter for The Morning Herald; CD leaves Ellis & Blackmore’s and works for a solicitor, Charles Molloy, in New Square, Lincoln’s Inn.

1829  CD works at Doctors' Commons as a shorthand reporter.

1830  (8 Feb.) Admitted as reader to British Museum; (May) falls in love with Maria Beadnell.

1831 Composes poem 'The Bill of Fare'; starts work as reporter for The Mirror of Parliament, edited by CD’s uncle, J.M. Barrow.

1832 Becomes Parliamentary reporter on the True Sun.

1833 Concludes relationship with Maria Beadnell; first story, 'A Dinner at Poplar Walk' (later called 'Mr Minns and his Cousin') published in Monthly Magazine.

1834 (Jan.-Feb.) Six more stories appear in Monthly Magazine; (Aug.) meets Catherine Hogarth; becomes reporter on The Morning Chronicle, which publishes (Sept.-Dec.) first five 'Street Sketches'; (Nov) John Dickens arrested for debt again. CD secures his release from Abraham Sloman’s detention house for debtors; (Dec.) moves to Furnival's Inn, Holborn.

1835  (?May) Engaged to Catherine Hogarth ('Kate'); publishes stories, sketches, and scenes in Monthly Magazine, Evening Chronicle, and Bell's Life in London.

1836  (Feb.) Takes larger chambers in Furnival’s Inn; (8 Feb.) Sketches by Boz, First Series published; (31 Mar.) first monthly number of Pickwick Papers issued; (2 Apr.) marries Catherine Hogarth; (June) publishes Sunday Under Three Heads; leaves the Morning Chronicle (Nov.); (17 Dec.) Sketches by Boz, Second Series; (?Dec.) meets John Forster.

1837  (1 Jan.) First monthly number of Bentley's Miscellany, edited by CD, published; (6 Jan.) birth of first child, Charles ('Charley'); (31 Jan.) serialization of Oliver Twist begins in Bentley's; (3 Mar.) Is She His Wife? produced at the St James's; (Apr.) family moves to 48 Doughty Street; (7 May) sudden death of his sister-in- law, Mary Hogarth, at 17; CD suspends publication of Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist for a month; (Aug.-Sept.) first family holiday in Broadstairs; (17 Nov.) Pickwick Papers published in one volume.

1838  (Jan.-Feb.) Visits Yorkshire schools with illustrator Hablot Browne ('Phiz'); (Feb) Sketches of Young Gentlemen and Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi published; (6 Mar.) second child, Mary ('Mamie'), born; (31 Mar.) monthly serialization of Nicholas Nickleby begins; (9 Nov.) Oliver Twist published in three volumes.

1839  (31 Jan.) Resigns editorship of Bentley's; (23 Oct.) Nicholas Nickleby published in one volume; (29 Oct.) third child, Kate ('Katey'), born; (Dec.) family moves to 1 Devonshire Terrace, Regent's Park.

1840  (4 Apr.) First weekly issue of Master Humphrey 's Clock (also published monthly) in which The Old Curiosity Shop is serialized from 25 Apr.; (1 June) moves family to Broadstairs; (11 Oct.) returns to London; (15 Oct.) Master Humphrey's    Clock, Vol. I published.

1841  (8 Feb.) Fourth child, Walter, born; The Old Curiosity Shop concluded and Barnaby Rudge commenced in Master Humphrey's Clock (6 and 13 Feb.); operated on for an anal fistula (without anaesthetic). Master Humphrey's Clock, Vols. II and III published (Apr. and Dec.); one-volume editions of The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge published (15 Dec.).

1842  (Jan.-June) CD and Catherine visit North America; (Aug.-Sept.) with family in Broadstairs; (Oct.-Nov.) visits Cornwall with Forster and others; (19 Oct.) American Notes published; (31 Dec.) first monthly number of Martin Chuzzlewit published.

1843 (19 Dec.) A Christmas Carol published.

1844 (15 Jan.) Fifth child, Francis (‘Frank’), born; (16 July) takes family to Genoa; one-volume edition of Martin Chuzzlewit published; (30 Nov.-8 Dec.) returns to London to read The Chimes (published 16 Dec.) to his friends.

1845 Travels in Italy with Catherine before returning to London from Genoa; (20 Sept.) directs and acts in first performance of the Amateur Players, Ben Jonson's Every Man In His Humour, (28 Oct.) sixth child, Alfred, born; (20 Dec.) The Cricket on the Hearth published.

1846 (21 Jan.-9 Feb.) Edits The Daily News; (May) Pictures from Italy published; (31 May) leaves with family for Switzerland via the Rhine; (11 June) settles in Lausanne; (30 Sept.) monthly serialization of Dombey and Son commences; (16 Nov.) family moves to Paris; (19 Dec.) The Battle of Life published.

1847 (28 Feb.) Returns from Paris; (18 Apr.) seventh child, Sydney, is born; (June-Sept.) with family at Broadstairs; (27-8 July) performs in Manchester and Liverpool with the Amateurs; (Nov.) Urania Cottage, Miss Coutts's 'Home for Homeless Women', in whose administration CD is involved, opened in Shepherd's Bush.

1848 (12 Apr.) One-volume edition of Dombey and Son published; (May-July) the Amateurs perform in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Glasgow; (2 Sept.) sister Fanny dies; (19 Dec.) The Haunted Man published.

1849 (16 Jan.) Eighth child, Henry ('Harry'), born; (30 Apr.) monthly serialization of David Copperfield            begins; (July-Oct.) with family at Bonchurch, Isle of Wight.

1850 (30 Mar.) First issue of Household Words, a weekly journal edited and contributed to by CD; (16 Aug.) ninth child, Dora, born; (Aug.-Oct.) at Broadstairs; (15 Nov.) one-volume edition of David Copperfield published.

1851  (25 Jan.) A Child's History of England starts serialization in Household Words; (31 Mar.) John Dickens dies; (14 Apr.) Dora dies suddenly, aged 8 months; (May) directs and acts in Bulwer-Lytton's Not So Bad As We Seem before the Queen, in aid of the Guild of Literature and Art; (May-Oct.) last family holiday at Broadstairs; (Nov.) moves to Tavistock House.

1852  (28 Feb.) Monthly serialization of Bleak House begins; (14 Apr.) birth of tenth child, Edward ('Plorn'); (Feb.-Sept.) provincial performances of Not So Bad As We Seem; (July-Oct.) family stays in Dover.

1853  (June-Oct.) Family stays in Boulogne; (12 Sept.) one-volume edition of Bleak House published; (Oct.-Dec.) in Switzerland and Italy with Wilkie Collins and Augustus Egg; (10 Dec.) A Child's History of England concluded in Household Words; (27-30 Dec.) gives public readings (for charity) of A Christmas Carol and The Cricket on the Hearth in Birmingham.

1854  (28-30 Jan.) Visits Preston; (1 Apr.-12 Aug.) weekly serialization of Hard Times in Household Words; (June-Oct.) family stays in Boulogne; (7 Aug.) Hard Times published in one volume; (Dec.) reads A Christmas Carol in Reading, Sherborne, and Bradford.

1855 (Feb.) Meets Maria Winter (née Beadnell) again; (27 Mar.) reads A Christmas Carol in Ashford, Kent; (June) directs and acts in Collins's The Lighthouse at Tavistock House; family stays in Folkestone, where CD reads A Christmas Carol on 5 Oct.; (15 Oct.) settles family in Paris; (1 Dec.) monthly serialization of Little Dorrit begins; (Dec.) reads A Christmas Carol at Peterborough and Sheffield.

1856 (Mar.) Buys Gad's Hill Place, Kent; (29 Apr.) family returns from Paris; (June-Sept.) family stays in Boulogne.

1857 (Jan.) Directs and acts in Collins's The Frozen Deep at Tavistock House; (13 Feb.) takes possession of Gad's Hill Place; (30 May) Little Dorrit published in one volume; son Walter leaves for service with the East India Company; (June-July) visited by Hans Christian Andersen; gives three public readings of A Christmas Carol (July-Aug.) performances of The Frozen Deep in London and, with Ellen Ternan, her sister and mother in the cast, in Manchester.

1858 (19 Jan.; 26 Mar; 15 Apr.) Reads A Christmas Carol for charity; (29 Apr.-22 July) series of 17 (paid) public readings; (May) separation from Catherine; (7 and 12 June) publishes 'Personal' statement about it in The Times and Household Words; (Aug.) Reprinted Pieces published; (Aug.-Nov.) first provincial reading tour, extending to Ireland and Scotland (85 readings); (24 Dec.) first series of London Christmas readings begins.

1859  (30 Apr.) Begins to edit and publish All the Year Round, in which A Tale of Two Cities appears weekly till 26 November; (28 May) final number of Household Words; (Oct.) gives 14 readings on second provincial tour; (21 Nov.) A Tale of Two Cities published in one volume; (24 Dec.) begins series of three London Christmas readings.

1860  (17 July) daughter Katey marries Charles Collins; (27July) CD's brother Alfred dies, at 38; (21 Aug.) sells Tavistock House; (Oct.) settles permanently at Gad's Hill; destroys a great deal of correspondence, urging his friends to do the same; (1 Dec.) weekly serialization of Great Expectations begins in All the Year Round, continuing till 3 Aug. 1861.

1861  (Mar.-Apr.) Series of 6 London readings; (6 July) Great Expectations published in three volumes; (Oct.-Jan. 1862) gives 46 readings on third provincial tour; (19 Nov.) Charley marries Elizabeth ('Bessie') Evans: CD refuses to be present.

1862  (Feb.-May) Exchanges Gad's Hill Place for a house in London but also uses rooms at the office of All the Year Round', (Mar.-June) London readings; (June-Oct.) makes several visits to France; (Oct.) settles Mamie and her aunt, Georgina Hogarth, in Paris; (Dec.) returns to Gad's Hill for Christmas.

1863  (Jan.) Gives 3 readings for charity at British Embassy in Paris; (Feb. and Aug.) makes further visits to France; (Mar.-May) London readings; (13 Sept.) Elizabeth Dickens dies; (31 Dec.) Walter dies in Calcutta, India, aged 22.

1864  (1 May) Monthly serialization of Our Mutual Friend begins; (27 June-6 July) probably in France; (Nov.) in France.

1865  (Feb.-June) Three trips to France; (Feb.-Apr.) first attack of lameness from swollen left foot; (29 May) sees Alfred off to Australia; (9 June) returning from France with Ellen Ternan and her mother, is in fatal railway accident at Staplehurst, Kent; (Sept.) visit to France; (20 Oct.) Our Mutual Friend published in two volumes.

1866 (Apr.-June) Readings in London and the provinces; (June) CD's brother Augustus Dickens dies in Chicago, aged 38.

1867  (Jan.-May) Readings in England and Ireland; (Nov.) begins American reading tour in Boston; (Dec.) No Thoroughfare, written jointly with Collins, published in All the Year Round.

1868  (22 Apr.) Sails home from New York, having cancelled planned readings in the USA and Canada; (26 Sept.) Plorn sails to Australia to join Alfred; (Oct.) Harry enters Trinity College, Cambridge; CD begins Farewell Reading Tour; CD's brother Fred dies, aged 48.

1869  (5 Jan.) Introduces 'Sikes and Nancy' into his reading repertoire; (22 Apr.) serious illness forces CD to break off reading tour after 74 readings.

1870 (Jan.-Mar.) Farewell readings in London; (9 Mar.) received by Queen Victoria; (1 Apr.) first of six completed numbers of The Mystery of Edwin Drood issued; (9 June) dies, aged 58, following a cerebral haemorrhage, at Gad's Hill; (14 June) buried in Westminster Abbey; (Sept.) last monthly part of Edwin Drood.