Hard Times: context links Timeline

Year Historical Literary Author
1812 War with America begins (until 1814)
Further Luddite unrest
Prime Minister Spencer Percival assassinated
Napoleon begins invasion of Russia
Wellington defeats French at Salamanca
Battle of Borodino

Napoleon enters Moscow but begins a retreat one month later
Birth of Robert Browning, poet
The Brothers Grimm publish their Tales
Shelley publishes Declaration of Rights
Charles Dickens born in Portsmouth
1813 Toleration Act for Unitarians
Leigh Hunt imprisoned for libelling Prince Regent
Wellington enters France
Napoleon defeated at Battle of Leipzig
Prussian army begins invasion of France
1814 Robert Stephenson builds steam locomotive
Napoleon abdicates and is banished to Elba
End of war with America
Congress of Vienna
Allies enter Paris
British burn Washington in USA
Scott's Waverley
1815 Napoleon returns from Elba and is defeated at Waterloo
Corn Law passed

Leigh Hunt released from prison on Feb. 3 

Napoleon returns to France and enters Paris
Napoleon finally defeated by Wellington at the battle of Waterloo
Napoleon banished to St Helena
John Nash begins the Brighton Pavilion
Scott's Guy Mannering
1816 Riots in East Anglia and the manufacturing districts of the north of England
Economic depression
William Cobbett's Political Register

 Shelley marries Mary Godwin

Scott's The Antiquary Dickens family lives in London (- 1817)
1817 Prince Regent's coach attacked: further repressive measures by Government. Further social unrest
Manchester 'Blanketeers' march to London
Scott's Rob Roy
Hazlitt's Characters of Shakespeare's Plays
Southey's Wat Tyler
Dickens family live in Chatham, Kent (- 1822)
1818 Proposals for Parliamentary reform are twice defeated in the House of Commons
Percy and Mary Shelley depart from England for the final time
Peacock's Nightmare Abbey
Scott's Heart of Midlothian
1819 Peterloo massacres in Manchester and passing of Six Acts placing restrictions on the press and public assemblies
Poor Relief Act passed
Factory Act passed
Queen Victoria born
Birth of Albert (later Prince Consort)
Scott's Ivanhoe; The Bride of Lammermoor

Leigh Hunt: Hero and Leander

J.H. Reynolds: Benjamin the Waggoner; Peter Bell (both parodies of Wordsworth)

1820 Death of George III and accession of George IV
Royal Astronomical Society founded
Lamb's Essays of Elia
Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer
1821 Another reform bill defeated in Commons
Greek War of Independence
Scott's Kenilworth
Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Colony for freed slaves founded in Liberia 

Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater
1823 Scott's Quentin Durward
Hazlitt's Liber Amoris
Dickens family moves to London
1824 Combination Acts repealed, thus giving trade unions right to exist Scott's Redgauntlet Dickens' father imprisoned for debt; Dickens works in blacking factory
Dickens attends Wellington House Academy (- 1827)
1825 Stockton - Darlington Railway opens Hazlitt's The Spirit of the Age
1826 Power looms destroyed by unemployed weavers
Further attempts at Parliamentary reform defeated
1827 Works as solicitor's clerk (- 1828)
1828 Test and Corporation Acts repealed
Duke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act
Robert Peel creates metropolitan police force
Carlyle's Signs of the Times Works as shorthand reporter (- 1831)
1830 Death of George IV and accession of William IV
Earl Grey's Whig reforming government
'Captain Swing' rural riots
Opening of Manchester - Liverpool Railway
July Revolution in France
Greek independence from Ottoman Empire secured
Cobbett's Rural Rides
Charles Lyell (Dante Gabriel?s Godfather), Principles of Geology
1831 Wellington resigns as Prime Minister in opposition to Parliamentary reform
National Union of the Working Class founded
Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction
Cholera outbreak in England
Mill's The Spirit of the Age
1832 Parliamentary Reform Act passed
Passage of the Great Reform Act
Morse invents the telegraph
Chambers' Edinburgh Journal and Penny Magazine (-1837) begin
1833 First Tracts for the Times published
Factory Act limits children's working hours and includes provision for education
Abolition of Slavey Act
Carlyle's Sartor Resartus (-1834) 1833-34: First stories in Monthly Magazine
1834 New Poor Law
British Empire abolishes slavery
1834-1836: Reporter on Morning Chronicle
1836 Dickens' Sketches by Boz, volumes 1 and 2
Dickens' Pickwick Papers in monthly parts
Dickens marries Catherine Hogarth
1837 Death of William IV and accession of Queen Victoria
Brunel, Great Western Railway
Carlyle's The French Revolution
Sarah Stickney Ellis, The Women of England: Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits
1837-1839: Dickens Editor of Bentley's Miscellany
Death of Dickens' sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth
1837-1838: Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist in monthly parts
1838 Anti-Corn Law League founded
Chartist petitions published
London to Birmingham railway opens
People's Charter issued
Letitia Landon dies, Gold Coast 1838-1839: Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby in monthly parts
1839 First Factory Inspector's report Carlyle's Chartism
Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle
Ellis' The Women of England:Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits
1840 Penny post begins
Queen Victoria marries her cousin Albert, who becomes Prince Consort.
1840-1841: Dickens' Master Humphrey's Clock (weekly) includes The Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge
Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop
1841 The Tories come to power. Sir Robert Peel becomes Prime Minister
Punch begins
1842 Jowett becomes tutor at Balliol College, Oxford
Chartist riots. Report on Sanitary Conditions of Labouring Population
Mudie's Lending Library opens
Illustrated London News begins
Dickens spends January-June in North America. Dickens' American Notes
1843 Theatre Regulation Act Thomas Carlyle's Past and Present
Ruskin's Modern Painters (vol. 1)
1843-1844: Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit in monthly parts. Dickens' A Christmas Carol
1844 Co-operative Society founded in Rochdale
Factory Act (women and children)
Expansion of railways across Britain
Disraeli's Coningsby, or The New Generation published 1844-1845: Dickens lives in Italy
Dickens' The Chimes
1845 John Henry Newman converts to Catholicism
Financial speculation in Railways
Onset of the Irish potato famine
The first Anglican sisterhood, Park Village, is founded in the Christ Church parish
Disraeli's Sybil, or The Two Nations published
E. A. Poe, Tales of Mystery and Imagination
First performances by Dickens' amateur theatrical company; others follow in 1846-48 and 1850-52. Dickens' The Cricket on the Hearth
1845-46: Dickens edits and writes for Daily News
Dicken's Dombey and Son (-1848)
1846 Repeal of Corn Laws
Famine in Ireland
Whigs come to Power
1846-47: Lives in Switzerland and Paris
Dickens' The Battle of Life
1847 Railway reaches Dorchester
Ten Hours' Factory Act
Disraeli's Tancred Collaborates with Miss Coutts on opening of a home for homeless women
1848 Chartist demonstrations in London following by the collapse of the Chartist movement
Democratic Revolutions in Europe.
Cholera epidemic
Public Health Act
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood founded
Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto
Newman's Loss and Gain
Dickens' The Haunted Man
1849 Bedford College for Women founded Charles Kingsley's Alton Locke Dickens' David Copperfield in monthly parts
1850 Roman Catholic hierarchy established
Public Libraries Act
Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Dickens founds and edits weekly magazine, Household Words; contributes regular articles
1851 Great Exhibition in London
Taylor Mill's The Enfranchisement of Women
Ruskin's Stones of Venice

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

1852 1852-53: Dickens' Bleak House in monthly parts
1853 Cholera epidemic
Crimean War
Yonge's Heir of Redclyffe
1854 Onset of Crimean War Dickens' Hard Times in weekly instalments
1855 Daily Telegraph
Repeal of stamp duty on newspapers
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South 1855-57: Dickens' Little Dorrit in monthly parts
1856 Crimean War ends Dickens, Little Dorrit Dickens buys Gad's Hill Place, Kent
1857 Railway extended to Weymouth
Indian Mutiny
Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act
Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary
Hughes' Tom Brown's School days
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Dickens meets Ellen Ternan, a young actress and begins relationship
1858 Ballantyne's Coral Island
English Woman's Journal begins
George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life
Dickens seperates from his wife. Begins public readings from his works
1859 Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species published
Rise of movement for Home Rule in Ireland
Smiles' Self Help published
Mill's On Liberty
Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities in both weekly and monthly parts
Dickens founds All the Year Round and closes Household Words
1860 Cornhill Magazine begins 1860-61: Dickens' Great Expectations in weekly parts
Dickens' The Uncommercial Traveller. Dickens moves permanently from London to Gad's Hill
1861 Death of Prince Consort
American Civil War begins
Dickens, Great Expectations
Beeton's Book of Household Management
Wood's East Lynne
1862 Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret
1863 The Oxford Declaration published Kingsley's The Water Babies
1864 John Henry Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua 1864-65: Dickens' Our Mutual Friend in monthly parts
1865 American Civil War ends
Women's Suffrage Campaign
Transatlantic cable laid
Joseph Lister establishes antiseptic surgery
Completion of St. Pancras' railway station
Slavery is abolished in the USA
Matthew Arnold's Essays in Criticism
1866 Cholera epidemic
Former slaves granted citizenship and equal rights in America
Ku Klux Klan founded
Swinburne's Poems and Ballads (dedicated to Rossetti) published
1867 Second Reform Act
Fenian Rising in Ireland
Marx's Das Kapital published
George Eliot's Felix Holt, the Radical
Public reading tour in USA
1868 Gladstone becomes Prime Minister Dickens suffers a breakdown in health during British reading tour
1869 Opening of Suez Canal
Mill's The Subjection of Women
Arnold's Culture and Anarchy
Blackmore's Lorna Doone
Farewell season of public readings in London
1870 Education Act: free education in new board schools
First Married Women's Property Act
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Poems Charles Dickens dies at Gad's Hill, aged 58
Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished) in monthly parts
Death of Dickens
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