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Victorian Novelist


Photo of Charles Dickens

When and Where was Charles Dickens Born?

7th February 1812, Mile End Terrace, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.

Family Background:

Charles Dicken's father John Dickens was a Pay Clerk in the Royal Navy who married Elizabeth Barrow in 1809 at St. Mary-le-Strand, London.

Education:

William Gilesís School. Wellington House Academy, London.

Chronology/Biography of Charles DIckens:

1812: Family move in June to 16 Hawk Street, Portsmouth.

1813: Family move in December to 39 Wish Street, Southsea.

1814: Dickens's brother Alfred born and died September.

1815: Family move to London as John Dickens is posted back by Navy. Live at Norfolk Street, St. Pancras.

1816: Sister Letitia born.

1817: John Dickens is posted first to Sheerness then Chatham Dockyard in Kent. Family move to 2 Ordnance Terrace, Chatham.

1819: Sister Harriet born.

1820: Brother Frederick born.

1821: Family moves to St. Maryís Place. Dickens begins school. Writes a tragedy "Misnar, the Sultan of India".

1822: John Dickens recalled to London. Settle at 16 Bayham Street, Camden Town.

1823: Family moves to 4 Gower Street North. Mrs. Dickens attempts to start a school without success.

1824: Dickens sent to work at Warrenís Blacking Factory. Father arrested for debt and sent to Marshalsea Prison where he is joined by wife and younger children. Dickens lodges with family friends. On fatherís release family moves to 29 Johnson Street, Somers Town.

1825: Father retires from Navy and Dickens sent to school.

1827: Family evicted for non-payment of rates. Dickens goes to work at Ellis and Blackmoreís Solicitors then Charles Molloyís Solicitors. Birth of brother Augustus.

1828: Father works as a reporter for the "Daily Herald" newspaper.

1829: Family move to 12 Norfolk Street, Fitzroy Square. Dickens works as a freelance reporter at Doctorís Commons.

1830: Admitted as a reader at the British Museum.

The British Museum
The British Museum where Dickens became a Reader in its Library
(© Anthony Blagg)

1831: Dickens begins work as a reporter for "The Mirror of Parliament" edited by his uncle J.M. Barrow.

1832: Reporter at the "True Sun" newspaper. Illness prevents him attending auditions at Covent Garden.

1834: Becomes reporter on the "Morning Chronicle" and meets Catherine Hogarth. Takes rooms at 13 Furnivalís Inn, Holborn.

1835: Becomes engaged to Catherine Hogarth.

1837: Birth of first child Charles, on 6th January. Moves to 48 Doughty Street. Visits France and Belgium.

Dickens Museum, London
Dicken's former house in Doughty Street, London, now a museum.
Here he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby

(© Anthony Blagg)

1838: Second child Mary born.

1839: Dickens resigns editorship of "Bentleyís Miscellany". Third child Kate born. Moves to 1 Devonshire Place, Regentís Park.

1841: Fourth child Walter born. Declines an invitation to be Liberal parliamentary candidate for Reading. Granted the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on 29th June.

1842: Visits America with Catherine and Cornwall later in the year.

1844: Fifth child Francis born. Breaks with previous publishers Chapman and Hall and moves to Bradbury and Evans. Lives in Genoa, Italy.

1845: Visits Rome with Catherine. Sixth child Alfred born.

1846: Becomes Editor of the "Daily News". Resides in Lausanne and then Paris.

1847: Returns to London. Birth of Seventh child Sydney.

1848: Death of sister Fanny.

1849: Eighth child Henry born.

1850: Ninth child Dora born. Founds the Guild of Literature and Art with Bulwer-Lytton to help writers and artists who have fallen on hard times.

1851: Catherine ill and is treated at Malvern, Worcestershire where Dickens visits her. Death of Father and baby Dora. Family move to Tavistock House.

1852: Tenth child Edward born.

1853: Holiday in Boulogne. Visits Switzerland with Wilkie Collins.

1855: Dickens joins Administrative Reform Society. Family move to Paris from October

1856: Returns to England to live at Gad Hill Place, Chatham, Kent.

1857: Hans Christian Andersen visits Dickens at Gadís Hill. Holidays in the Lake District with Wilkie Collins.

1858: Separates from his wife. Embarks on a provincial reading tour.

1860: Katey Dickens marries Charles Collins.

1863: Charity readings at the British Embassy in Paris. Death of Walter Dickens in India.

1865: 9th June, involved in a serious railway accident at Staplehurst, Kent with Ellen Ternan.

1867: Begins a reading tour of the U.S.A.

1868: Leaves New York for England.

1869: Reading tour broken off because of illness.

1870: January, twelve farewell readings in London. Dickens is received by Queen Victoria on the 9th March.

Written Works:

  • 1835: "Sketches by Boz".
  • 1837: "Pickwick Papers".
  • 1838: "Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi". "Oliver Twist.". "Sketches of a Young Gentleman".
  • 1839: "Nicholas Nickleby".
  • 1840: "Sketches of Young Couples".
  • 1841: "Barnaby Rudge". "The Old Curiosity Shop".
  • 1842: "American Notes for General Circulation".
  • 1843: "A Christmas Carol".
  • 1844: "The Chimes". "A Goblin Story". "Martin Chuzzlewit".
  • 1845: "The Cricket on the Hearth".
  • 1846: "Pictures from Italy".
  • 1848: "Dombey and Son". "The Haunted Man".
  • 1850: "David Copperfield".
  • 1851: "A Child's History of England".
  • 1853: "Bleak House".
  • 1854: "Hard Times".
  • 1857: "Little Dorrit".
  • 1859: "A Tale of Two Cities".
  • 1860: "The Uncommercial Traveller".
  • 1861: "Great Expectations".
  • 1865: "Our Mutual Friend".
  • 1870: "The Mystery of Edwin Drood".

Marriage:

2nd April 1836 to Catherine Hogarth at St. Lukes Church, Chelsea.

When and Where did he Die?

9th June 1870, of cerebral haemorrhage, at Gadís Hill, Near Chatham, Kent, England.

Age at Death:

56.

Site of Grave:

Poetís Corner, Westminster Abbey, London, England.


Westminster Abbey, London where Dickens is buried
(© Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:

AVON:

Stayed at No 35 St. Jame's Square and the Saracen's Head, Bath.
Gave readings in the Assembly Rooms, Bath.

HAMPSHIRE:

Birthplace Museum, 393 Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 4OL.

KENT:

Gad's Hill Place, Rochester, ME3 7PA. (home)..
Charles Dickens Centre, Eastgate House, Rochester.
Chatham.
Pegwell Bay Hotel, Pegwell Bay. (mentioned in"Sketches by Boz").
Bleak House Museum, 2 Victoria Parade, Broadstairs, CT10 1QS.

LONDON:

Dickens House Museum, 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, WC1N 2LX..
George Inn, Southwark. (mentioned in "Little Dorrit").

Further Information:

Dickens Fellowship
48 Doughty Street
London
WC1N 2LF

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