A CHRONICLE OF SOME VICTORIAN EVENTS
© Chris Snodgrass 2003

1819—Victoria is born.
1826—First photograph taken by Joseph Nicophore Niepce.
1829—
Catholic Emancipation, ends most restrictions on Catholic civil rights, property ownership, & public service.
1832—Great Reform Act.
1834—Slavery banned in British colonies.

1837–67—
Isambard Kingdom
Brunel builds London to Bristol railway for the Great Western Railway.
1837—Victoria succeeds uncle, William IV, at age 18.  
            Dickens’s Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist.
1837–67—Construction of neo-Gothic Houses of Parliament.
1838—Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby.
1840—Victoria marries first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, will have nine children.
            Penny postage insituted.
            Dickens’s Old Curiosity Shop.
1842—Founding of Mudie’s Library by Charles Mudie.
1843—Carlyle’s Past and Present.
            Dickens's A Christmas Carol.
            First volume of Ruskin’s Modern Painters.
1844—Irish potato famine begins.
1845—Brunel builds the S. S. Great Britain, the first propeller-driven steamship.
1846—Repeal of Corn Laws, beginning era of free trade.  
            Dickens’s Dombey & Son.
1847—Ten Hours Act restricts working hours of children in factories.  
            Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.  
            Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
1848—Founding of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  
            Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto.
1849—Dickens’s David Copperfield.
1850—First British Public Library Act, permitting the establishment of public libraries.
           Tennyson named Poet Laureate.  
            Dickens’s Household Words started.
1851—First telegraph cable laid across the English Channel.
            Invention of instantaneous photography by William Fox Talbot.
            First cigarettes sold in Britain.
            Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace.
            Half of population of Great Britain lives in cities.
            London population grows from 1.1 million in 1801 to 2.7 million; reaches 6.6 million in 1901.
            Dickens’s Bleak House.
1852—Opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
            Last duel fought in England at Priest Hill, Surrey (duels had been outlawed in 1840s).
1853—Livingstone discovers Victoria Falls.
1853–56—Crimean War.

1854—
Florence Nightingale goes to Crimea and organizes nursing during the war.
            Cigarettes introduced into Britain.  
            Dickens’s Hard Times .
1855—Balmoral Castle completed.
            Newspaper stamp tax abolished.
            Dickens’s Little Dorrit .
1856—Henry Bessemer invents blast furnace, permitting mass production of steel.
1857—Founding of National Portrait Gallery.
            First telegraph cable laid across the Atlantic.
            Matrimonial Causes Act permits divorce for adultery (but women could not petition until 1923).
            Suppression of Indian mutiny against British rule in India.
1858—Government of India transferred to the Crown.
            Big Ben bell cast (April 10).
           John Speke discovers Lake Victoria.
            Launching of Brunel
s Great Eastern, largest ship yet built.
1859—Big Ben enters service (May 31).
            First women admitted to Royal Academy schools.
            Darwin’s Origin of the Species.
            Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities.
1860—Introduction of trams into England (August 30).
            Dickens’s Great Expectations.
            Nightingale publishes first definitive textbooks on nursing.
1861—Death of Prince Albert of typhoid fever at age 42.  
            Founding of Morris’s design firm.
1862—Speke & Grant discover sources of the river Nile.
1863–65—Construction of St. Pancras train station.
1863–72—Construction of Albert Memorial.
1863—First underground railway, Metropolitan Railway in London between Paddington & Farringdon St. (opens Jan. 10).
            Marriage of Prince of Wales (Bertie, later King Edward VII) and Alexandra (March 10).
            Broadmoor criminal lunatic asylum opened (May 27).
1864—Cafe Royal founded in London (bombed in 1940).  
            Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend.
1865—Founding of Salvation Army by William Booth (July 2).
           
Joseph Bazalgette c ompletes metropolitan drainage system in London (began 1855).
            National Association for Women’s Suffrage formed in Manchester; no voting rights until 1918.
            Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
1866—First Atlantic telegraph cable successfully laid by the SS Great Eastern (completed September 7).
            Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads.
1867–71—Construction of Royal Albert Hall.
1867—Second Reform Act, extending vote to
tax-paying males of the urban working class.
1868—Disraeli becomes Prime Minister; defeated within several months in election.
            Last public execution (May 26); public hangings stopped because caused crime among spectators.
            Last shipment of convicts from England to Australia.
            Metropolitan District Railway between Mansion House and South Kensington opens
in London .
1869—Ferdinand de Lesseps builds Suez Canal, dramatically cutting journey to & from Australia & Far East.
1870—Education Act, compulsory primary education until the age of 11. 
            A 1p ($1) fee per day for the schooling.
            Married Women’s Property Act gives women the right to earn and keep money for their own use.
1871—Institution of practice of photographing prisoners (November 2).
            Publication completed of Encyclopedia Britannica (began 1768).
            Opening of Royal Albert Hall (March 29).
1872—Secret ballot made compulsory; G. Eliot’s Middlemarch .
1874—Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for second time, governs until 1880.
1875—First intelligible telephone communication made by Bell (June 5).
            Disraeli buys Britain controlling interest in Suez Canal.
1876—Victoria named Empress of India.
1877—Founding of Truth magazine.
           Telephones, invented by Scottish scientist Alexander Graham Bell, become available.
            American Thomas Edison invents the phonograph, recording "Mary had a little lamb."
1878—First electric street lighting in London.
            Whistler vs. Ruskin Trial.
1879—Edison invents the electric light bulb.  

1880—St. James’s Gazette begins publication (absorbed by the Evening Standard in 1905).
            First telephone directory issued in Britain (January 15).
1881—Founding of TitBits periodical by George Newnes.
            Electric light first used domestically.
            First electric power station in England opened at Goldalming. 
1883—Expansion of Married Women’s Property Act.
            Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
1884—Third Reform Act, extending voting rights to agricultural workers.
            Term “Industrial Revolution,” for the period of 1760 to 1840, coined by Arnold Toynbee.
            Completion of Revised Version of the Bible.
1885—Karl Benz invents the first automobile.  
1885–89—Founding of the Men’s and Women’s Club
1886–89—Anatole Baju’s journal Le Décadent.
1887—Golden Jubilee, celebration of 50th anniversary of Victoria’s reign.
            Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes story.
1888—Unsolved London murders of East End women by "Jack the Ripper."
            County Councils created in Britain.
            Founding of The Star (absorbed by The Evening News in 1960).
1889—Founding of Women’s Franchise League by Emmeline Pankhurst.
            Arthur Symons’s Days and Nights.
1890—Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough.
            First electric underground public railway line opens December 18: City & South London Railway between King                              William St. & Stockwell).
            First comic book, Comic Cuts.
1891—Completion of New Scotland Yard by Norman Shaw.
            Founding of the Romanes Lectures at Oxford University by George Romanes.
            Kelmscott Press founded by William Morris.
            Electrification of trams in England began in Leeds.
            Education made free for every child.
            Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome, “The Critic as Artist,” and “Soul of Man Under Socialism.”
1892—Founding of The Westminster Gazette (absorbed by The Daily News in 1928).
            Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan.
            Symons’s Silhouettes .
1893—Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance.
            George Egerton’s Keynotes.
            Arthur Wing Pinero’s Second Mrs.  Tanqueray, starring Mrs. Patrick Campbell.
            Aubrey Beardsley’s Le Morte Darthur.
            Wilde’s Salome banned in London (staged in Paris in 1896).
            New Zealand becomes first country to give women the right to vote.  
1894–97—The Yellow Book.
1894—Egerton’s Discords
            Publication of Wilde’s Salome in English, with Beardsley’s illustrations.
1895—Founding of the London Promenade Concerts by Sir Henry Wood (October 6).
            Wireless telegraphy brought about by Marconi.
            Wilde’s The Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest .
            The three Wilde trials.
            Symons’s London Nights.
1896—Marconi patented wireless telegraphy (June 2).
            Speed limit for cars was increased from 4 to 20 mph.
            The Savoy (
January–September).
1897—Official opening of the Tate Gallery, founded by Sir Henry Tate (July 21).
            Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
1899—Symons’s Images of Good and Evil.
1901—Death of Queen Victoria at age 82 (January 22, 6:30 am).
            Population of London reaches 6.6 million.