Life Events

The life of Charles Dickens is a remarkable one, and many of the events during his lifetime helped to inspire much of his work, especially his time spent at Warren’s Blackening Factory, following his father’s arrest. As timelines have become somewhat of a theme for the site, its seemed fitting to create another, which focused on the private and professional events of Dickens’s life. Enjoy!

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Charles Dickens by Samuel Laurence (Hawksley, 2011, Pg. 27).

1812

Born at Mile End Terrace in Portsmouth.

1815

Father (John Dickens) posted to London, and the family move to Norfolk Street, London.

1817

The family moves to Chatham, Kent.

1822

The Dickens Family settles at 16 Bayham Street, London.

1824

Dickens sent to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory.

Dickens’s Father John Dickens arrested for Debt and sent to Marshalsea Prison. The younger children and Elizabeth join him soon after.

John Dickens gets his release under the Insolvent Debtors Act.

1825

Dickens is removed from the Blackening Factory, and sent to Wellington House Academy, Hampstead Road.

1827

Leaves School and becomes a solicitors clerk.

1831

Becomes a Parliamentary reporter.

1832

Given an audition at Covent Garden Theatre but falls ill and was unable to attend.

1833

Dickens first published work, A Dinner at Poplar Walk, appeared in The Monthly Magazine.

1834

Moves to 13 Furnival’s Inn, Holborn.

1836

Marries Catherine Hogarth, at St Lukes Church, Chelsea.

Collection of Dickens’s published stories are collated into his first book ‘Sketches by Boz’.

Pickwick Papers serialisation begins.

1837

Dickens’s first Child (Charles) born.

Moves to 48 Doughty Street.

Sister-in-law Mary Hogarth Dies.

Dickens, editor of the Bentley’s Miscellany, a literary magazine, first appears.

Oliver Twist serialisation first appears in Bentley’s Miscellany.

1838

Second Child (Mary) born.

Nicholas Nickleby serialisation begins.

Oliver Twist Published.

1839

Third Child (Kate) born.

Moves to 1 Devonshire Terrace, Regents Park.

1840

The Old Curiosity Shop serialisation begins in Master Humphrey’s Clock.

1841

Forth Child (Walter) born.

Barnaby Rudge serialised in Master Humphrey’s Clock.

1842

Sets sail from Liverpool and embarks on his first visit to America, accompanied by his wife, Catherine.

American Notes published.

Martin Chuzzlewit serialisation begins.

1843

A Christmas Carol Published.

1844

Dickens and his family move to Italy for the year.

Fifth child (Walter) born.

The Chimes Published.

1845

Sixth Child (Alfred) born.

The Cricket on the Hearth published.

1846

With his family, resides in Switzerland and then Paris for part of the year.

Pictures from Italy Published.

Becomes the editor or The Daily News.

Dombey and Son serialisation begins.

The Battle of Life published.

1847

Seventh child (Sydney) born.

1848

The Haunted Man published.

1849

Eighth child (Henry) born.

David Copperfield serialisation begins.

1850

Ninth child (Dora) born.

Household Words serialisation, edited by Dickens, begins.

1851

Dickens Father dies.

Dickens baby Daughter (Nora) dies.

A child’s History of England serialisation begins in Household Words.

1852

Dickens tenth child (Edward) born.

Bleak House serialisation begins.

1853

First public reading of A Christmas Carol.

1854

Hard Times serialisations begins.

1855

Little Dorrit serialisation begins.

1856

Purchases Gad’s Hill Place, Kent.

1857

Dickens meets Ellen Ternan.

The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices serialisation begins in Household Words.

1858

First paid reading tour begins.

Separates from Catherine, following a period of unhappiness and many rumours surrounding his relationship with the actress, Ellen Ternan.

1859

New weekly journal, All the Year Round, begins.

Tale of Two Cities appears in All the Year Round.

1860

The Uncommercial Traveller begins in All the Year Round (Two articles will be based in Liverpool; Poor Mercantile Jack, and The Great Tasmania’s Cargo)

Great Expectations serialisation begins in All the Year Round.

1863

Death of Dickens’s mother Elizabeth.

Death of Dickens’s forth child (Walter) in India.

1864

Serialisation of Our Mutual Friend.

1865

The Staplehurst accident: Dickens and Ellen Ternan involved in serious train accident.

1867

Arrives in Boston for American reading tour.

Dickens last Christmas story, No Thoroughfare, published in All the Year Round.

1868

The Atlantic Monthly publishes George Silverman’s Explanation.

Our Young Folks publishes A Holiday Romance.

1869

Liverpool held a farewell banquet after his final reading in the city, to honour the author and his work.

UK reading tour broken off after Dickens became unwell.

1870

Received by Queen Victoria.

Gave twelve farewell readings in London.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood serialisation begins but only six out of twelve were ever published.

Dickens dies after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage at his home, Gad’s Hill.

Buried at Westminster Abbey.

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Dickens on his deathbed by John Everett Millais (Hawksley, 2011, Pg. 115).
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The death certificate of Charles Dickens (Hawksley, 2011, Pg. 115). 

References:

Hawksley Dickens, Lucinda. Charles Dickens Bicentenary 1812-2012. London: Andre Deutsch Book, 2011.