19th-century Britain timeline

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Charles Dickens illustration Credit: iStock

We trace the history of Britain during the 19th century, from the union with Ireland through the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Waterloo, plus the publication of some of our greatest works of fiction.

1800

1801 The Acts of Union unite Britain and Ireland

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1805 Nelson wins the Battle of Trafalgar but it costs him his life

1810

1811 George III’s period of insanity begins and his son takes over rule as Prince Regent

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Jane Austen, portrait

1813 Jane Austen’s most popular novel Pride and Prejudice is published

1815 The Battle of Waterloo is fought on Sunday, 18 June

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1819 Peterloo massacre at St Peter’s Field, Manchester sees British soldiers kill protesters against Corn Laws

1820

1820 George IV becomes king

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1829 The Police force is founded in London. Stephenson’s Rocket wins competition to run between Liverpool and Manchester

1830

1832 The Great Reform Act doubles electorate, redistributes seats and reduces ‘rotten’ boroughs

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1830 King George IV dies without legitimate issue and the Duke of Clarence succeeds him as William IV

1834 The Houses of Parliament are largely destroyed by fire

1833 Abolition of slavery throughout British Empire

1837 Victoria becomes Queen at the age of 18

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1838 Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby are published

1840

1840 The first postage stamps are issued; Queen Victoria marries Albert

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1847 Charlotte Bronte’s publishes Jane Eyre

1850

1853 Vaccination against smallpox becomes compulsory in Britain

1854 Construction of the Clock Tower, also known as Big Ben is completed

1860

1861 Prince Albert dies

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1865 Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is published

1866 Black Friday on London Stock Exchange

1867 Second Parliamentary Reform Act is passed

1870

1871 Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man is published

1870 Charles Dickens dies

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1877 The first Wimbledon Tennis Championship is held; Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India

1877 The Zulu War begins

1880


1884
The Third Parliamentary Reform act is passed. The first underground train runs in London

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1887 Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes makes his first appearance in A Study in Scarlet

 

1890

1898 Marie Curie discovers Radium

 1893 The Manchester Ship Canal is completed

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