Victorian timeline

Victorian housing, Saltaire
Below is a simple timeline of events during Victorian Britain.

Queen Victoria becomes queen at the age of 18.
Worcestershire sauce is invented.
Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist is published.
Railway line opens between Birmingham and London.
First Opium War, caused by China very unfairly trying to abolish Britain’s trade in the drug.
1st Treaty of London – created an independent, and neutral, Kingdom of Belgium, guaranteed by the European powers, including Prussia and Britain.
Chartist riots in South Wales.
Queen Victoria marries her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Introduction of the penny post.
The first modern census records details of every member of a household.
Launch of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship.
The world’s first underwater tunnel opens, beneath the Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping in London.
Birth of the Cooperative Movement (now the largest funeral business in the UK).
Irish potato famine.  As many as 1 million may have died and up to 2 million more emigrated, mainly to the USA, England and Scotland.
Friedrich Engels publishes The Condition of the Working Class in England.
Corn Laws are repealed – the price of bread gradually reduces.
The world’s first public zoo opens at Regent’s Park, London.
The worlds first municipal park opens in Birkenhead.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is published, under the pen-name of Currer Bell.
Public Health Act – first step toward improvements in sewerage, food standards etc.
WH Smith opened its first railway station bookstall at Euston on 1 November.

In a wider context, 1848 is often seen as a year of revolution, with widespread, seemingly disconnected and spontaneous, demonstrations in favour of increased democracy and liberalism in countries that included France, the Netherlands, German and Italian states, the Austrian Empire, Hungary, Poland and Denmark.
The British conquer the Punjab.
Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield is published.
Karl Marx moved to London, where he spent the rest of his life.

Britain shows off to the world at The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park.
Sir Titus Salt builds Saltaire, a model village for his workers near Bradford.
George Cayley designs a glider to take a pilot.
David Livingstone begins his first exploration of the interior of Africa.
Infant vaccination is made compulsory.
The first post boxes appear in Britain, following trials in Jersey.
Elizabeth Gaskell publishes Cranford.
Crimean War – an alliance of Britain, France and Turkey combine against Russia.
Henry Bessemer invents his converter, improving the mass production of steel.
Institution of the Victoria Cross – Britain’s highest award for military gallantry.
The Indian Mutiny.
The Great Stink of the Thames.  Joseph Bazalgette resolves to create a sewer network for central London.
The first transatlantic telegraph communication (using undersea cable).
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson starts to publish The Idylls of the King, retelling the legend of King Arthur and his knights.
HMS Warrior is launched – Britain’s first ironclad warship.
Florence Nightingale sets up the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London.
In a wider context – the American Civil War.
Prince Albert dies.
Post Office savings scheme launched.
First underground railway opens between Paddington and Farringdon Street, London.
Foundation of the Football Association and agreement on the rules of soccer.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge opens.
Foundation of the Salvation Army.
Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) publishes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Joseph Lister writes about his theories on antiseptics.
2nd Reform Act means that 33% of all adult males in Britain are eligible to vote.
Karl Marx publishes Volume 1 of Das Kapital.
Trades Union Congress established.
The last public execution in Britain.
The Suez Canal opens.
Tea clipper The Cutty Sark is launched.
Education Act (Forster’s Act) established a network of secular primary schools alongside existing sectarian schools to provide elementary edukation for all up to the age of 11.
The Married Women’s Property Act allowed any money that a woman earned to be treated as her own property, and not her husband’s.

The British Red Cross was formed.
The Royal Albert Hall opens.
The Universities Tests Act abolished religious ‘tests’ and opened up the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham to Roman Catholics, non-conformists and non-Christians.
The Trade Union Act legalised trade unions.
In a wider context – the unification of Italy and Germany (the latter following the defeat of France by Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71).  Italy and Germany were each previously a series of smaller states.
The secret ballot is introduced for elections.
The first FA Cup Final – between Wanderers and the Royal Engineers (Wanderers won, 1-0).
The Albert Bridge, connecting Chelsea with Battersea over the Thames, opened.  It was so unsafe troops from Chelsea barracks called it the Trembling Lady.

Scots-born Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone (in the US).
The Plimsoll Line (suggested by Samuel Plimsoll) is introduced to prevent the overloading of ships.
Victoria becomes Empress of India.
Britain annexes the Transvaal.
Congress of Berlin – Britain leases Cyprus from Turkey.
Zulu Wars – Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.
Tay Bridge rail disaster – 75 die when bridge collapses in a storm due to faulty construction.
1st Boer War.

First house to be lit by electricity (Cragside in Northumbria).
Education Act made attendance at school compulsory for all.
Britain occupies Egypt.
Phoenix Park murders – two Government officials stabbed to death by Irish revolutionaries in Dublin.
In cricket, Australia beat England at the Oval – the birth of The Ashes (of cricket).
A new Married Women’s Property Act allowed married women in England and Wales to have complete personal control over all of their property.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is published.
Death of Karl Marx in London – Marx had lived there since 1849.
3rd Reform Act increases the franchise to roughly 60% of adult males.
Death of Gordon at Khartoum.
Clamours for Home Rule (independence) for Ireland.
A Study in Scarlet, the first novel featuring Sherlock Holmes, is published by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Whitechapel Murders and the start of the unsolved mystery of Jack the Ripper.
Cecil Rhodes founds the De Beers Mining Company.
The strike of the London Match Girls – not just a bad pun, but also probably the first industrial action to capture the attention of the nation.
London Dock Strike – succeeded in winning the docker’s tanner (sixpence per hour) and seen as a milestone in establishing unions of unskilled workers.
The first mosque to be built in Britain opens in Woking.
The Forth Bridge opens.
During this decade, motor cars begin to appear on British roads.
Education Act established free state school education.
The first international telephone service, between London and Paris.
Kier Hardie becomes the first Labour MP (for West Ham).
Foundation of the Independent Labour Party.
Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book is published.
Tower Bridge opens.
Foundation of the National Trust.
Oscar Wilde is sentenced to two years hard labour for gross indecency.
Italian Guglielmo Marconi sends his first wireless communication in England.
The Daily Mail, Britain’s first tabloid newspaper, is launched.
Britain’s (and, some say, the world’s) first motor show was held at the Imperial Institute in London.

The Blackwall Tunnel opened.
‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker was published.
Formation of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.
Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee – 60 years on the throne.
The Battle of Omdurman.
HG Wells publishes ‘War of the Worlds’, his 6th novel.
Lynmouth’s lifeboat was hauled overland to aid a drifting ship in the Bristol Channel.

The first motor accident to kill a passenger was in Harrow.
The world’s first wireless distress signal was transmitted to assist a vessel aground on the Goodwin Sands.
Marconi made the first international radio transmission, across the English Channel from France to England.
The premier of Elgar’s Enigma Variations took place at St James’s Hall in London.
The Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act was designed to enable education for children with special needs.
The Seats for Shop Assistants Act stipulated at least one seat per three shop workers.
The Second Boer War began in October.  It ended in 1902.
Seven members of the Aldeburgh lifeboat crew perished when their boat capsized.
Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building opened.
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom opened, replacing an earlier smaller one.
Liquorice Allsorts went on sale.
Queen Victoria died; her eldest son became King Edward VII.

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