1812 Born on Friday, 7 February at Landport, a suburb of Portsmouth to John, a clerk in the navy pay-office attached to the dockyard, and Elizabeth Dickens.
1814 Father transferred to London with family.
1816 Father transferred to Chatham with family.
First gets some schooling, although already an avid reader.
1821 Reforms in the Admiralty lose his father his post and most of his incorne. Family moves to a house in Camden Town, London.
1824 Father arrested for debt February 2 and consigned to the Marshalsea, where family joins him. Separated from family and put to work at Warren's Blacking Factory at Hungerford Market, CD walks four miles to and from lodgings in Camden Town; visits his father on Sundays at prison. Eventually family finds him lodging in Lant Street close to them. After father's release on May 28, family returns to Camden Town. Attends day school in Hampstead Road, London.
1827 Taken from school; becomes office boy of an attorney; decides to become a journalist.
1829 Free-lance reporter at Doctor's Commons Courts.
1830 Meets and falls in love with Maria Beadnell.
1831 Acts as parliamentary reporter during Reform Bill agitation.
1833 His love affair with Maria Beadnell ends. His first published story, "Dinner at Poplar Walk," appears in Monthly Magazine.
1834 Working as newspaper reporter, adopts the pseudonym "Boz." Father once again arrested for debt; Charles comes to his aid.
1835 Becomes engaged to Catherine Hogarth, daughter of his friend George Hogarth, an editor.
  • His first series of Sketches by Boz published; receives 150 pounds for the copyright.
  • First number of Pickwick Papers appears on 30 March.
  • Marries Catherine Hogarth on 2 April.
  • Becomes editor of Bentley's Miscellany. Publishes in December the second series of Sketches by Boz.
  • Meets John Forster, who will become a close friend and his first biographer.
  • Begins Oliver Twist, continues in monthly parts in Bentley's Miscellany.
  • Catherine's younger sister Mary, whom he idolizes, dies.
  • Catherine bears a son Charles, the first of seven sons and three daughters.
  • Pickwick Papers finishes.
1838 Begins Nicholas Nickleby
1839 Resigns as editor of Bentley's Miscellany. Last part of Oliver Twist appears in April. Nicholas Nickleby finishes in October.
1840 First number of Master Humphrey's Clock, which becomes his next two stories, appears. Begins The Old Curiosity Shop.
1841 Finishes The Old Curiosity Shop in February. Begins Barnaby Rudge, which continues through November.
1842 Travels through Canada and the United States. American Notes appears in October, creating a furor in America.
1843 Begins Martin Chuzzlewit. A Christmas Carol, the first of his Christmas books, appears in December.
1844 Tours Italy with family. Returns to London in December, when The Chimes is published. Leaves London for Genoa.
1845 Debut of his amateur theatrical company. The Cricket and the Hearth published. Returns to England in July.
1846 Begins Dombey and Son, which runs until April 1848. With family travels to Lausanne, then Paris. The Battle of Life appears in December.
1847 Returns to England.
1848 Writes autobiographical fragment. Directs and acts in amateur theatricals.
Publishes final Christmas book, The Haunted Man, in December.
1849 David Copperfield begins running.
1850 David Copperfield finishes in November. Founds and edits the weekly Household Words.
1851 Begins work on Bleak House.
1852 Bleak House begins to appear monthly.
1853 Bleak House ends in September. Tours Italy with Augustus Egg and Wilkie Collins. Returns to England. Gives the first of many public readings from his own works. Summers in Boulogne.
1854 Hard Times appears weekly in Household Words until August. With family spends summer and fall in Boulogne.
1855 With family travels to Paris in October. Little Dorrit begins to appear monthly.
1856 Collaborates with Wilkie Collins on a play, The Frozen Deep. Purchases Gad's Hill, an estate he had admired as a child.
1857 Little Dorrit ends in June. With family spends summer at renovated Gad's Hill. Hans Christian Anderson, whose fairy tales Dickens admires greatly, visits. His theatrical company performs The Frozen Deep for the Queen. Falls in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress.
1858 In London, undertakes his first public readings for pay. Quarrels with Thackeray. Separates from Catherine.
1859 His London readings continue. Begins new weekly, All the Year Round. A Tale of Two Cities appears, continues through November.
1860 His family takes up residence at Gad's Hill. Burns many personal letters. Great Expectations begins to appear weekly.
1861 Embarks on yet another series of public readings in London. Great Expectations finishes in August.
1862 His public readings continue.
1863 Continues public readings in Paris and London. Reconciles with Thackeray just before the latter's death.
1864 Our Mutual Friend begins to appear monthly. Health begins to fail, much because of over work.
1865 Railway accident badly shakes him and Ellen Ternan. Our Mutual Friend ends in November.
1866 Continues public readings in England and Scotland.
1867 Continues public readings in England and Ireland. Unwell but carries on, against doctor's advice. Embarks on an American reading tour.
1868 Finishes his American reading tour. His health worsens, but takes additional duties at All the Year Round.
1869 Continues readings in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Shows symptoms of mild stroke; provincial readings canceled. Begins The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
1870 His final public readings take place in London. Suffers a stroke on June 8 at Gad's Hill, after a full day's work. Dies on June 9, and is buried at Westminster Abbey on June 14. Last of his unfinishedMystery of Edwin Drood appears in September.

Last modified 2 January 2024