Events 1837 – 1901


13 February – Rowland Hill, (postal reformer) – He campaigned for a comprehensive reform of the postal system, and discloses the idea of carrying letters in a separate sheet which folded to become an envelope and the idea of “a bit of paper” which could be affixed to a letter to flag that postage had been paid.

May – William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone patent the electrical telegraph.

3 June – The London Hippodrome opens in Bayswater.

20 June – King William IV dies from heart failure at Windsor Castle.

20 June – His niece, Princess Victoria of Kent ascends the throne as Queen Victoria.

30 June – England abolishes the use of pillory.

13 July – Queen Victoria moves into Buckingham Palace in London, the first monarch to live there.

20 July – Euston Station, London’s first railway station, is opened.


10 January – A fire destroys Lloyd’s Coffee House and the Royal Exchange in London.

8 April-23 April – The SS Great Western makes the Atlantic crossing to New York in 15 days setting a new speed record.

May – the People’s Charter is published calling for universal suffrage for male voters.

28 June – The coronation of Queen Victoria takes place at Westminster Abbey. Lord Melbourne denies her the traditional medieval banquet due to budget constraints, and furious critics refer to it as “The Penny Crowning.”

7 September – Grace Darling rescues 9 survivors from the wreck of Forfarshire off the Farne Islands.


9 April – The world’s first commercial electric telegraph line comes into operation alongside the Great Western Railway line from Paddington station to West Drayton.

19 April – The Treaty of London establishes Belgium as a kingdom.

4 November – Newport Rising: several thousand coal miners march on Newport to liberate Chartist prisoners.


10 January – Uniform penny postage introduced.

22 January – British colonists reach New Zealand. Official founding date of Wellington.

6 February – Treaty of Waitangi, document granting British sovereignty in New Zealand, is signed.

10 February – Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha. A veritable love match, the young Queen and her German husband were devoted to each other. Albert popularised many German traditions that became English favourites, such as the Christmas tree.

30 March – Death – Beau Brummell (b. 1778), arbiter of fashion known as Dandyism, dies of syphilis. Beau Brummel was the most influential dresser of his age, the leader of the fashion movement. His taste for well-cut, understated clothes marked a move away from the bright colours and high heels favoured by the Prince Regent (the only area for patterns and colour was in the exquisitely tailored waistcoat). He also introduced innovations in the wearing of neck cloths, the Hessian boot and pantaloons rather than breeches that were wrinkle-free, thanks to handy loops that went over your feet.

15 April – King’s College Hospital opens in Portugal Street, London.

1 May – The Penny Black was the first pre-paid self-adhesive stamp. It was printed with black ink and cost 1d – hence the name! This was the beginning of the modern postal service.

4 July – The Cunard Line’s 700-ton wooden paddlewheel steamer RMS Britannia departs from Liverpool bound for Halifax , Nova Scotia on the first transatlantic passenger cruise.

23 July – The Province of Canada is created by the Act of Union.

21 November – Birth – Victoria, Princess Royal (d. 1901)

December – Stockport viaduct was completed in this year. It is one of the largest brick structures in Europe.

— The foundation stone of the Palace of Westminster is laid as its reconstruction following a fire in 1834 begins.

— Houses of Parliament finished: Architects Barry and Pugin are responsible for the Gothic style of the new Houses of Parliament (built to replace the Palace of Westminster that burned down in 1834).

The tower that houses Big Ben was not completed until 1859.

— The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals gains royal approval (becoming the RSPCA). The English are famous for their love of animals and the RSPCA was the first animal protection society in the world, dedicated to changing public indifference to cruelty against animals, appointing inspectors and prosecuting people guilty of cruelty.


26 January – The United Kingdom occupies Hong Kong.

01/17 (?) July – First edition of Punch Magazine published. Punch was a satirical magazine famous for its political cartoons (they were the first to start using the word in this sense) and high quality of comic writing, poking fun at everything from contemporary fashions to foreign affairs. Many well-known writers worked there, such as PG Wodehouse, Douglas Jerrold and George Grossmith. Two famous English books which started by serialisation in Punch were
Vanity Fair
1066 And All That

30 October – a fire at the Tower of London destroys its Grand Armoury and causes a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage.

9 November – Birth – King Edward VII of the United Kingdom (d. 1910)

— English founding father William Henry Fox Talbot invents a means of transferring a photographic negative on to another piece of paper as a positive image. He calls this new invention a “calotype”. This was one of a few photographic processes that Fox Talbot was working on at this time; Of all the technologies, the one Carroll was most involved with was photography [
Alice In Wonderland
]. The technique of fixing an image onto paper had been simultaneously developed by French and British pioneers in the early 19th century.


31 March – Middleton Junction and Oldham Branch Railway line opened up to Werneth.

— Income Tax Act 1842 passed; 7 pence on the pound sterling, for incomes over 150 pounds.

— Pentonville Prison built.

— A law is passed to ban women and children working in mines.

— Treaty of Nanjing: This treaty opens China to trade with Britain and lends Hong Kong to the British Crown for 150 years. It brings a modest number of Chinese immigrants to England, mostly merchant seamen.


25 March – The Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under the River Thames, is opened.

25 April – Birth – Alice of the United Kingdom, member of the royal family (died 1878)

19 July – The SS Great Britain is launched from Bristol.

19 December – First publication of Charles Dickens’
A Christmas Carol

— The world’s first commercial Christmas cards are printed by Sir Henry Cole in London.

— Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London completed.


6 June – George Williams founds the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in London.

6 August – Birth – Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, member of the Royal Family (d. 1900)

9 August – Imprisonment for debt abolished in England.

28 October – The Royal Exchange in London opened by Queen Victoria.

1 December – Birth – Alexandra of Denmark, queen of Edward VII of England (d. 1925)


17 March – Stephen Perry patents the rubber band.

30 December – Queen’s Colleges of Belfast, Cork and Galway are incorporated in Ireland.

— Undated – Beginning of the Irish Potato Famine.


5 January – The United States House of Representatives votes to stop sharing the Oregon Territory with the United Kingdom.

16 May – Under the leadership of Prime Minister Robert Peel, Parliament repeals the Corn Laws, replacing the old Colonial mercantile trade system with Free Trade.

25 May – Birth – Princess Helena of the United Kingdom (d. 1923)

29 June – Peel resigns and is succeeded by John Russell, 1st Earl Russell.

— June: Repeal of the Corn Laws: The Corn Laws were a series of measures which banned the importing of wheat or kept its price high. They were aimed at protecting British farmers but made the price of bread too high for many of Britain’s poorer citizens. They were therefore a focus of discontent for many. John Bright and Richard Cobden had been campaigning for their abolition since 1839 but it was the effects of the famine in Ireland which were key in their eventual repeal.

— Irish Potato Famine peaks: One million people will have died by 1851. The terrible poverty of Ireland at this time caused a wave of Irish emigration – to England but also further afield, especially America. The response of the British government to this disaster was scandalously slow.

— ‘Hans Christian Andersen frenzy’: Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales appear in no less than three different English translations this year! Andersen visited London the following year and was delighted to see copies of his books in so many shop windows.

— Electric Telegraph Company founded.

— Railway Mania reaches its zenith.

— Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849)


3 March – Birth – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born inventor (d. 1922)

9 August – The Whig Party under John Russell, 1st Earl Russell wins the general election.

30 September – The Vegetarian Society was formed. It remains the oldest in the world.

— United Presbyterian Church of Scotland constituted.

— Publication – Emily Bronte publishes
Wuthering Heights
under the pen name of Ellis Bell. Introducing the ultimate glowering romantic hero, Heathcliff, with his doomed love for Cathy, Emily Bronte’s passionate novel is still a fantastically atmospheric evocation of the Yorkshire Moors. It has often been filmed, staged and televised and is the inspiration for Kate Bush’s song of the same name.

— Publication – Charlotte Bronte publishes
Jane Eyre
under the pen name of Currer Bell. Only slightly tamer than her sister Emily’s novel published in the same year, Jane Eyre follows the fortunes of its heroine from orphan to wife of wealthy Mr. Rochester. Another one of the troubled romantic bestsellers of all time and frequently dramatised.

— Publication – William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel
Vanity Fair
. Thackeray’s novel was set during the Napoleonic wars but was intended as a satire on his own age.


18 March – Birth – Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll (d. 1939)

31 March – Birth – William Waldorf Astor, 1st Viscount Astor, financier and statesman (d. 1919)

19 December – Death – Emily Bronte, author (b. 1818)

— Queen’s College, London founded.

— Publication – The
Communist Manifesto
by Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, while living as exiles in London. This book sets out the principles and practices of communism which were then developed by Lenin and others.

— France, Italy and Germany all experience revolutions this year


13 February – Birth – Lord Randolph Churchill, statesman (died 1895)

29 March – The United Kingdom annexes the Punjab.

21 April – Irish Potato Famine: 96 inmates of the overcrowded Ballinrobe Union Workhouse die over the course of the preceding week from illness and other famine-related conditions, a record high.

28 May – Death – Anne Bronte, author (born 1820)

2 December – Death – Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen of William IV of the United Kingdom (born 1792)

— Sinking of the Royal Adelaide: This ship, carrying immigrants to England from Cork, went down with all hands, highlighting the dangerous journey many Irish people were making at this time.

— Publication – Serialisation of Charles Dickens’ novel
David Copperfield


27 January – Birth – Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic (d. 1912)

23 April – Death – William Wordsworth, poet (b. 1770)

1 May – Birth – Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, member of the Royal Family (d. 1942)

2 July – Death – Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1788)

13 November – Birth – Robert Louis Stevenson, writer (d. 1894)

— In Memoriam AHH published: Tennyson’s long poem cycle, inspired by premature grief at the death of his friend Arthur Hallam. Tennyson went on to become Poet Laureate and one of the central literary figures of the age. He was photographed on numerous occasions by his friend, Julia Margaret Cameron.

— First bowler hat worn: Invented for James Coke, the bowler hat was midway between the formality of a top hat and the soft felt hat worn by the lower middle classes. The hat was hard, to protect the head. It became the traditional accessory of every City gent and only went out of everyday use in the 1960s.

— Publication – Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes her sonnet cycle,
Sonnets From The Portuguese
. A celebration of the love between herself and fellow poet Robert Browning, it contains this famous poem, often read at weddings; which begins “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” The true-life story of their secret love, elopement and happy marriage in Italy is as romantic as the poems themselves.


1 February – Death – Mary Shelley, author (b. 1797)

01 May – The Great Exhibition opened by Queen Victoria (the first World’s Fair) is held in The Crystal Palace, with great success and international attention. It runs until 18 October. A celebration of the Empire and advances in technology housed in Joseph Paxton’s splendid Crystal Palace, situated in Hyde Park. It was the brainchild of Victoria’s husband, Albert, and was hugely well-attended and highly influential. The Crystal Palace itself, having been relocated to south London, burnt down in 1936.

— Art – Ophelia painted by Millais: Lizzie Siddal lies in a bath posing for Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia showing the death by drowning of this characters in Hamlet by Shakespeare. Lizzie contracted pneumonia and later died but the painting is one of the most famous illustrations of Shakespeare and of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.


14 February – The Great Ormond Street Hospital in London admits its first patient.

4 May – Birth – Alice Liddell, schoolgirl inspiration for
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
(d. 1934)

14 September – Death – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, general and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (born 1769)

11 November – New Palace of Westminster opens in London.

— Serialisation of Charles Dickens’ novel,
Bleak House

— William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel,
The History of Henry Esmond

— Publication – Roget’s Thesaurus – Dr. Roget was a physician and scholar who had the remarkable idea of producing a book of words classified according to the ideas they express rather than the definitions. The book has been continually revised and updated, until 1953 by a member of the Roget family!

— Livingstone set off to explore Zambesi. A missionary who made three long explorations of East Africa. He wrote the story of his amazing three year journey across the African continent from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. He wasthe first European to see the Victoria Falls.


7 April – Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, member of the royal family (died 1884)

— Red pillar boxes introduced: This innovation, which meant you didn’t have to walk to the post office with your letters, is introduced by novelist Anthony Trollope.


28 March – United Kingdom declares war on Russia – Crimean War begins.

01 August – Cholera outbreak in Broad Street Some 500 people died in only ten days from drinking infected water from the Broad Street pump in London – but nobody knew it was the drinking water that was spreading the disease until Dr John Snow began to investigate and realised it was a water- rather than an air-born infection. He had the pump sealed up and the deaths ceased. This was a break-through in medicine and was influential on later Public Health legislation; and forming the starting point for epidemiology. 2,000 people died during one week of the cholera epidemic.

6 October – The great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead is ignited by a spectacular explosion.

16 October – Birth – Oscar Wilde, writer (d. 1900)

21 October – Florence Nightingale leaves for Crimea with 38 other nurses.

04 Nov – Ms Nightingale arrives in Scutari: Florence Nightingale takes over the running of the military hospital at Scutari and transforms the conditions there. Her pioneering attitude to hygiene and dedication to nursing transformed the profession.

— Publication – Alfred Tennyson’s poem
The Charge of the Light Brigade

— Publication – Charles Dickens’ novel
Hard Times

— Publication – William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel
The Rose and the Ring


31 March – Death – Charlotte Bronte, author (born 1816)

15 May – The Great Gold Robbery of 1855 in London.

29 June – The Daily Telegraph begins publication.

— Charles Goodyear invents vulcanised rubber, which is harder, more durable and less sticky than previous types of rubber. He patents the very first football made out of vulcanised rubber.


29 January – Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross.

5 March – Fire destroys Covent Garden Theatre in London.

31 March – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Crimean War.

10 August – Birth – William Willett, inventor of daylight saving time (d. 1915)

— National Portrait Gallery in London opened.


7 January – London General Omnibus Company begins operating in London.

14 April – Birth – Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom, member of the royal family (died 1944)

31 December – Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario as the capital of Canada.

— Divorce without parliamentary approval becomes legal.


25 January – The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter Victoria, “Vicky,” the Princess Royal to Prince Friedrich of Prussia in St. James’s Palace, London.

01 Apr – Big Ben cast: Casting a bell that the design specified should be 14 tonnes proved difficult. Big Ben, as cast by the Whitechapel Foundry, is 13.8 tonnes and even that has a crack in it! It is now arguably the most famous recognisable bell chime in the world.

23 April – Birth – Ethel Smyth, composer and a leader of the women’s suffrage movement (d. 1944)

16 August – US President James Buchanan inaugurates the new trans-Atlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria. However, a weak signal will force a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.

— British Empire takes over powers and properties of the British East India Company.


4 May – Cornwall Railway opened across the Royal Albert Bridge linking the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

22 May – Birth – Arthur Conan Doyle, writer (d. 1930)

6 June – The British Crown colony of Queensland in Australia is created by devolving part of the territory of New South Wales.

7 September – The clock of the Clock Tower, Palace of Westminster becomes operational. The bell acquires the nickname “Big Ben” by association with Benjamin Hall, 1st Baron Llanover.

28 December – Death – Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, poet, historian and politician (born 1800) – During the 1840s he began work on his most famous work, “The History of England from the Accession of James the Second”, publishing the first two volumes in 1848, the next two volumes appearing in 1855. He is said to have completed the final volumes of the history at Greenwood Lodge, Ditton Marsh, Thames Ditton, which he rented in 1854. At his death, he had only got as far as the reign of King William III. Ever wonder who said… “The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out”. Now you know: Thomas Babington Macaulay

— Trinity College in Cambridge bans
The Origin of Species.

— Publication – 24 November – naturalist Charles Darwin publishes
The Origin of Species
, which leads to great religious doubt and insecurity. a book which argues that species gradually evolve through natural selection. (It immediately sold out its initial print run.)

— Publication – Charles Dickens’s novel
A Tale of Two Cities.

— Publication – George Eliot’s novel
Adam Bede


May – Queen Victoria becomes the first British monarch to be photographed. The photographer was John Jabez Edwin Mayall.

1 December – Charles Dickens publishes the first installment of
Great Expectations
in the magazine
All the Year Round

29 December – The world’s first ocean-going (all) iron-hulled and armoured battleship, the
HMS Warrior
is launched.

— Publication – George Eliot’s novel
The Mill on the Floss.


20 February – Storms damage the Crystal Palace in London and caused the collapse of the steeple of Chichester Cathedral.

29 June – Death – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet (b. 1806) – her Mother, Sarah Barrett Moulton, posed for the painting: “Pinkie” by Thomas Lawrence.

14 December – Death – Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria (b. 1819)

Queen Victoria refuses to go out in public for many years, and when she does she wears a widow’s bonnet instead of the crown.

— Publication – George Eliot’s novel
Silas Marner


1 July – Marriage of Princess Alice, second daughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine.

— Publication – Serialisation of George Eliot’s novel


10 January – The first section of the London Underground Railway opens (Paddington to Farringdon Street).

10 March – Marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

27 March – Birth – Henry Royce, automobile pioneer (d. 1933)

26 October – The Football Association founded.

19 December – Linoleum patented.

24 December – Death – William Makepeace Thackeray, novelist (b. 1811)

— A scarlet fever epidemic causes over 30,000 deaths.

Publication – Charles Lyell publishes
Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man
endorsing the views of Charles Darwin.


8 January – Birth – Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale – Albert Victor Christian Edward; was a member of the British Royal Family, as the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and Alexandra of Denmark. At the time of his birth, he was second in the line of succession to the throne after his father. However, he (d. 1892) predeceased his father, and the crown eventually passed to his younger brother,
Prince George (George V), the grandfather of the current British monarch, Elizabeth II.

– George V was born on 3 June 1865, at Marlborough House, London. His father was The Prince of Wales

– (later King Edward VII), the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

– His mother was the Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra), the eldest daughter of

– King Christian IX of Denmark. As a grandson of Queen Victoria in the male line,

– George was styled His Royal Highness Prince George of Wales at birth.

11 January – Charing Cross railway station in London opens.

11 March – Great Sheffield Flood: the Dale Dike Dam bursts devastating Sheffield.

— James Clerk Maxwell discovers microwaves.

— Publication – Charles Dickens’s novel
Our Mutual Friend


June 3 – Birth – King George V of the United Kingdom (d. 1936)

2 July – The Christian Mission, later renamed the Salvation Army, is founded in Whitechapel, London by William and Catherine Booth.

4 July – Lewis Carroll publishes
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

5 July – First speed limit is introduced in Britain – 2 mph in town and 4 mph in the country.

14 July – A party led by Edward Whymper makes the first ascent of the Matterhorn.

23 July – The SS Great Eastern departs on a voyage to lay a transatlantic telegraph cable.

30 December – Birth – Rudyard Kipling, writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)

— Joseph Lister discovers the sterilising effects of carbolic acid.


5 July – Marriage of Princess Helena of the United Kingdom, third daughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg.

27 July – The Transatlantic telegraph cable is successfully completed, allowing transatlantic telegraph communication for the first time.

28 July – Birth – Beatrix Potter, children’s author (died 1943)

21 September – Birth – H. G. Wells, writer (died 1946)

— John Langdon Down describes Down syndrome. John L.H. Langdon Down (November 18, 1828 – October 7, 1896) was a British physician best known for his work with mentally retarded children. The condition Down’s syndrome, or Down syndrome in the US, is named after him. Down was his father’s Irish family name (his great-grandfather was the Protestant Bishop of Derry) and Langdon was his mother’s family name (from Cornwall).

— Invention of the clinical thermometer by Thomas Clifford Allbutt.

— A cholera epidemic in London causes over 5,000 deaths.

— Publication – George Eliot’s novel
Felix Holt, the Radical


16 March – First publication of an article by Joseph Lister outlining the discovery of antiseptic surgery, in
The Lancet

29 March – The British North America Act receives Royal Assent, forming the Dominion of Canada in an event known as Confederation. This unites the Province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as of July 1. Ottawa becomes the capital, and John A. Macdonald becomes the Dominion’s first prime minister.

26 May – Birth – Mary of Teck, consort of King George V (d. 1953)

1 July – The Dominion of Canada, the first independent dominion in the British Empire, is created by the British North America Act.


26 May – Last public hanging in Britain – Fenian bomber Michael Barrett.

5 July – Preacher William Booth establishes the Christian Mission, predecessor of the Salvation Army, in the East End of London.

6 July – Birth – The Princess Victoria (Victoria Alexandra Olga Mary, also called “Toria”, was a member of the British Royal Family, the fourth child and second daughter of Edward VII. (died: 3 December 1935)

— Joseph Norman Lockyer discovers the chemical element helium.


16 October – England’s first residential college for women, Girton College, is founded.

4 November – The first issue of scientific journal
is published.

23 November – In Dumbarton, Scotland the clipper ship Cutty Sark is launched (it was one of the last clipper ships to be built, and the only one surviving to the present day).

— The Suez Canal was opened.


9 June – Death – Charles Dickens, novelist (b. 1812)


26 January – Rugby Football Union established in London.

29 March – The Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria

18 June – University Tests Act removes religious tests at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham.

— Publication – George Eliot’s novel


30 November – Scotland v England: the first ever international football match takes place at Hamilton Crescent in Scotland.

— Stanley found Livingstone.


1 April – The British steamer RMS Atlantic sinks off Nova Scotia killing 547.

1 May – David Livingstone, explorer of Africa (born 1813)

9 June – Alexandra Palace in London destroyed by fire only a fortnight after its opening.


23 January – Marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, to Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, only daughter of Emperor Alexander III of Russia.

25 January – Birth – William Somerset Maugham, author (died 1965)

23 February – Walter Clopton Wingfield patents a game called “sphairistike” which is more commonly called lawn tennis.

15 October – Birth – Prince Alfred of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (died 1899) – His father was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His mother was Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, a daughter of Alexander II of Russia.

30 November – Birth – Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. (died 1965)

— Publication – Thomas Hardy’s novel
Far from the Madding Crowd


1 April –
The Times
publishes the first daily weather map.

15 August – Birth – Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, composer (died 1912)

25 August – Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first person to swim the English Channel.


— The Royal Titles Act 1876 gives Queen Victoria the title of Empress of India.

— School attendance was made compulsory.

— Publication – George Eliot’s book
Daniel Deronda


15 March – The first Test cricket match takes place between England and Australia.

24 March – For the first and only time in history, the Boat Race between the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford is declared a “dead heat” (i.e. a draw).

12 April – Britain annexes the South African Republic violating the Sand River Convention of 1852 causing a new Xhosa War.

9 July – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon.

1 August – Birth – Charlotte Hughes, longest-lived person ever documented in the United Kingdom (d. 1993)

17 September – Death – William Fox Talbot, photographer (b. 1800)

— American suffragettes Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin come to England due to criticism of their behaviour.

— Six Scotch whisky distilleries combine to form Distillers Company Limited.


14 January – Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates the telephone to Queen Victoria.

11 February – First weekly Weather report published in UK

14 December – Death – Alice of the United Kingdom, member of the royal family (born 1843)

— Electric street lighting began in London.


13 March – Marriage of The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria, to Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia.

19 May – Birth – Viscount Waldorf Astor, businessman and politician (died 1952)

26 May – Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.

27 December – Birth – Sydney Greenstreet, actor (died 1954)


8 March – The Conservative Party lose the general election to the Liberal Party.[1]

18 April – William Ewart Gladstone succeeds Benjamin Disraeli as Prime Minister. This is Gladstone’s second term as Prime Minister.[1]

19 April – Second Anglo-Afghan War: British victory at the Battle of Ahmed Khel.

27 July – Second Anglo-Afghan War: Afghan victory at the Battle of Maiwand.

1 September – Second Anglo-Afghan War: British victory at the Battle of Kandahar.

16 December – The Boers declare independence in Transvaal triggering the First Boer War.

20 December – First Boer War: British forces defeated in the Action at Bronkhorstspruit.

22 December – Death – George Eliot, writer (born 1819)


5 February – Death – Thomas Carlyle, writer and historian (b. 1795)

1 March – The Cunard Line’s SS Servia, the first steel ocean liner, is launched.

19 April – Death – Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1804)

23 April – First performance of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Patience at the Opera Comique in London.

26 July – First publication of the
London Evening News

10 October – The Savoy Theatre opens and is the first electrically lit building in London.

15 October – Birth – P. G. Wodehouse, writer (d. 1975)


25 January – Birth – Virginia Woolf, writer (d. 1941)

2 March – Roderick Maclean fails to assassinate Queen Victoria at Windsor.

19 April – Death – Charles Darwin, naturalist (born 1809)

6 December – Death – Anthony Trollope, novelist (born 1815)

— Married Women’s Property Act 1882 in Britain enables women to buy, own and sell property and to keep their own earnings.

— The Chartered Institute of Patent Agents is founded (now called Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys).

— St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association is established in Glasgow, Scotland.

— Jumbo the elephant is sold to the American showman P. T. Barnum for $10,000


25 February – Birth – Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline; nee Princess Alice of Albany; was a member of the British Royal Family, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She has the distinction of remaining the longest lived Princess of the Blood Royal of the British Royal Family and last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria. She also held the titles of Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duchess in Saxony from birth as well as a Princess of Teck by marriage until 1917 when she was commanded to relinquish them by the Letters Patent of George V. Her father was Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. (Death: 3 January 1981)


1 February – First
* of the Oxford English Dictionary is published. *one of the divisions of a book published in parts – fas’ci’cled

28 March – Death – Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, member of the royal family (born 1853)

22 April – Colchester earthquake: the UK’s most destructive earthquake.

October – International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C. fixes the Greenwich meridian as the world’s prime meridian.

— British Police officers go on armed patrol in London.


15 February – Birth – Princess Alice of Battenberg (Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie), later Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark

was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (consort of Queen Elizabeth II).

This gives new meaning to “the outside of convoluted”. Pay attention.

After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece and the imposition of military rule in Greece in 1967, she was invited by her son and daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace in London, where she died two years later; 5 December 1969. Her Serene Highness Princess Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie of Battenberg was born in the Tapestry Room at Windsor Castle in Berkshire (at the queen’s invitation) in the presence of her
great-grandmother, Queen Victoria
. She was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg (24 May 1854 – 11 September 1921) and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (5 April 1863 – 24 September 1950).
Her mother was the eldest daughter of Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, the second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are third cousins through Queen Victoria and second cousins, once removed through Christian IX of Denmark.

Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Carolina Marie Charlotte Louise Julia) [1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925];

Queen Consort to Edward VII; paternal great-grandmother to Elizabeth II. (See: 1864)

Royals attempt to
keep it in the family
. I lost
my place
in this drama at;
“Pay attention”

14 March – W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s The Mikado opens at the Savoy Theatre.

20 July – Professional football is legalised.

11 September – Birth – D.H. Lawrence, English author (d. 1930)

— Soap manufacturer Lever Brothers founded

— Publications

— Henry Rider Haggard’s novel
King Solomon’s Mines

— George Meredith’s novel
Diana of the Crossways

— Walter Pater’s novel
Marius the Epicurean

1 February – William Ewart Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the third time.
20 May – John Jacob Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever, businessman (d. 1971)
30 June – Royal Holloway, University of London opened by Queen Victoria in Surrey.
— Scotch whiskey distiller William Grant & Sons is founded.
— Publication – Thomas Hardy’s novel
The Mayor of Casterbridge
9 May – Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show opens in London.

21 June – Britain celebrates a Golden Jubilee, marking the 50th year of Queen Victoria’s reign.

5 September – Theatre Royal, Exeter burned down, and 186 people die.
25 December – Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky first ran from the stills of Glenfiddich Distillery. The whisky is still produced today by William Grant & Sons.
— Publications
— Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes novel
A Study in Scarlet
— Thomas Hardy’s novel
The Woodlanders
8 February – Birth – Edith Evans, actress (died 1976) – Edith Evans was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in 1946. She also received four honorary degrees from the universities of London (1950), Cambridge (1951), Oxford (1954), and Hull (1968).
22 March – The Football League is formed.
7 August – The body of Martha Tabram was found, a possible murder victim of Jack the Ripper.
??? – Contradiction –
16 August – Birth – T. E. Lawrence (
Lawrence of Arabia
) liaison officer during the Arab Revolt, writer, and academic (died 1935)
31 August – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She was perhaps the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims.
8 September – In London, the dead body of Annie Chapman is found. She is considered to be the second victim of Jack the Ripper.
30 September – In London, the bodies of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes are found. They are generally considered Jack the Ripper’s third and fourth victim respectively.
2 October – The Whitehall Mystery: a body is discovered during the construction of New Scotland Yard.
9 November – In London, the dead body of Mary Jane Kelly is found. She is considered to be the fifth, and last, of Jack the Ripper’s victims. A number of similar murders in England follows, but the police attribute them to copy-cat killers.
— The serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murders and mutilates five (and possibly more) prostitutes on the streets of London, leading to world-wide press coverage and hysteria. Newspapers use the deaths to bring greater focus on the plight of the unemployed and to attack police and political leaders. The killer is never caught, and the affair contributes to Commissioner of Police, Sir Charles Warren’s resignation.
16 April – Birth – Charlie Chaplin, actor and film director (d. 1977)
12 June – 88 are killed in the Armagh rail disaster near Armagh in Northern Ireland.
6 July – Several aristocrats are implicated in the Cleveland Street scandal after police raid a male brothel in London.
3 August – Mahdist War: Egyptian and British victory at the Battle of Toski.
14 August – The London Dock Strike begins.
12 December – Death – Robert Browning, poet (b. 1812)
4 March – The longest bridge in Britain, the Forth Bridge (1,710 ft) in Scotland, is opened.
Publication – Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novel
The Sign of the Four
23 May – Birth – Herbert Marshall, actor (died 1966)
16 June – Birth – Stan Laurel, actor (died 1965)
15 September – Birth – Agatha Christie, writer (died 1976)
4 October – Death – Catherine Booth, the Mother of The Salvation Army (born 1829)
4 November – London’s City & South London Railway, the first deep-level underground railway in the world, opened, running a distance of 5.1 km (3.2 mi) between the City of London and Stockwell.
— November – Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, moves to a building on London’s Victoria Embankment, as the New Scotland Yard.
9 February – Birth – Ronald Colman, English actor (died 1958)
9 March-12 – Powerful storm off England’s south coast; 14 ships sink
18 March – official opening of the London-Paris telephone system.
1 April – the London-Paris telephone system is opened to the general public
— New Scotland Yard becomes the HQ of London Metropolitan Police
— Education becomes free for every child.
— Serialisation of Thomas Hardy’s novel
Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
3 January – Birth – J. R. R. Tolkien, professor and author of
The Lord of the Ring
s (d. 1973)
14 January – Death of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence, second in line heir to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Next in line is his younger brother Prince George of Wales. (b. 1864)
24 May – Prince George of Wales becomes Duke of York.
31 October – Arthur Conan Doyle publishes
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
3 April – Birth – Leslie Howard, actor (d. 1943) – He is best known by international audiences as Ashley Wilkes in the movie Gone with the Wind.
6 June – Marriage of Prince George, Duke of York and Mary of Teck.
10 February – Birth – Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1986)
23 June – Birth – King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom (d. 1972) King of Great Britain, Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India from the death of his father,
George V

(1910-36), on 20 January 1936, until his abdication on 11 December 1936. He was the second monarch of the House of Windsor, his father having changed the name of the Royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1917. Only months into his reign, Edward forced a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson. (previously Wallis Simpson; born Bessie Wallis Warfield; 19 June 1895 or 1896 – 24 April 1986) – After two unsuccessful marriages, she allegedly became the mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales in 1934. Rather than give up Mrs. Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate, making him the only monarch of Britain, and indeed any Commonwealth Realm, to have voluntarily relinquished the throne. He is one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British history, and was never crowned.
30 June – Tower Bridge in London opened for traffic.
26 July – Birth – Aldous Huxley, author (d. 1963)
3 December – Death – Robert Louis Stevenson, author (b. 1850) – Author:
Treasure IslandandKidnapped
— Patrick Manson develops the thesis that malaria is spread by mosquitoes.
11 February – The lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2C (measured as -17F) was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire. This record was equalled in 1982 and again in 1995.
14 February – First showing of Oscar Wilde’s last play The Importance of Being Earnest (St. James’ Theatre in London).
10 March – Death – Charles Frederick Worth, fashion designer (born 1825)
6 April – Oscar Wilde is arrested after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensberry.
25 May – Oscar Wilde is convicted of “sodomy and gross indecency” and is sentenced to serve two years in a Reading prison.
14 December – King George VI of the United Kingdom (died 1952)
28 January – Walter Arnold of Kent receives the first speeding conviction for driving in excess of the contemporary speed limit of 2 mph.
19 June – Birth – Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor, American wife of Edward VIII of the United Kingdom (died 1986)
22 September – Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather, King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.
12 January – Death – Isaac Pitman, inventor of Pitman Shorthand (born 1813
19 May – The Anglo-Irish writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison.
22 May – The Blackwall Tunnel, at the time the longest underwater tunnel in the world, opened by the Prince of Wales.
June 12 – Birth – Anthony Eden, Prime Minister (died 1977)
19 June – Charles Boycott, land agent, origin of the word “boycott” (born 1832)
— Queen Victoria celebrated her accession to the throne in 1837 with her Diamond Jubilee celebrations centered around London.
— Discovery of the electron by J. J. Thomson.
— Publications
— Irish-born writer Bram Stoker releasesDracula
for the first time on May 18, which is set between Transylvania and Whitby in Yorkshire.
— H. G. Wells completes drafting of
The War of the Worlds
and prepares it for finalising and publishing. His novel,
The Invisible Man
, is released in this year, as is
The Crystal Egg
14 January – Death – Lewis Carroll, writer, mathematician (b. 1832)
12 February – Henry Lindfield, dies in Brighton, becoming the world’s first fatality from an automobile accident.
15 February – The 1898 World Figure Skating Championships held in London.
19 May – Death – William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1809)
6 June – Birth – Ninette de Valois, Irish dancer and founder of The Royal Ballet, London (d. 2001)
29 November – Birth – C. S. Lewis, author (d. 1963)
— North Petherton becomes the first town in England to install Acetylene lighting.
6 February – Death – Prince Alfred of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (b. 1874)
27 March – Guglielmo Marconi successfully transmits a radio signal across the English channel.
13 August – Birth – Alfred Hitchcock, film director (d. 1980)
16 December – Birth – Noel Coward, actor, playwright, and composer (d. 1973)
January 3 – The Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert capsizes as it leaves port.
February 5 – The UK and the United States sign a treaty for the building of a Central American shipping canal through Nicaragua.
February 7 – The Labour Party is formed.
February 27 – Ramsay MacDonald appointed secretary of newly formed Labour Party.
March 31 – Birth – Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (d. 1974) The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (Henry William Frederick Albert); was a member of the British Royal Family, the third son of George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary, and thus uncle to Elizabeth II. He was appointed regent for his niece when his brother (George VI) came to the throne in 1936, and was required to stay in the United Kingdom until she came of age in case her father died and she ascended the throne underage. His father was Prince George, Duke of York, the eldest surviving son of Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.
April 1 – Irish Guards formed by Queen Victoria.
April 4 – Anarchist shoots at the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) during his visit to Belgium in the birthday celebrations of the King of Belgium.
July 30 – Death – Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, second eldest son of Queen Victoria (b. 1844)
August 4 – Birth – Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, consort of King George VI (d. 2002) – The 20th Century knew her at the “Queen Mother” – (mother of) Elizabeth II
22 November – Death – Arthur Sullivan, composer (b. 1842)
1 January – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia.[1] Edmund Barton becomes first Prime Minister.

22 January – Queen Victoria dies at Osborne House.

Her eldest son, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales becomes King, reigning as Edward VII. His son, Prince George, Duke of York becomes Duke of Cornwall.
2 February – Funeral of Queen Victoria takes place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
5 August – Death – Victoria, Empress of Germany, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria (b. 1840)
9 November – Prince George, Duke of Cornwall becomes Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
18 November – The United Kingdom and United States sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty allowing the US to build a canal through Panama.
25 December – Birth – Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (died 2004) Wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Queen Mary. She was thus the sister-in-law of George VI and Edward VIII, and the mother of the current Duke of Gloucester. She was an aunt of Elizabeth II through her marriage to the Queen’s paternal uncle.
— Nigeria becomes a British protectorate
— Winston Churchill enters the House of Commons
George V
(George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was the first British monarch belonging to the House of Windsor, which he created from the British branch of the German House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. From 1914 to 1918 Britain was at war with Germany.
The King’s paternal grandfather was Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha; the King and his children bore the titles Prince and Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke and Duchess of Saxony.
On 17 July, 1917, George V issued an Order-in-Council that changed the name of the British Royal House from the German-sounding House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the House of Windsor, to appease British nationalist feelings. He specifically adopted Windsor as the surname for all agnatic (or patrilineal) [Patrilineal descent, descent from father to son, is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations] descendants of Queen Victoria then living in the United Kingdom, excluding women who married into other families and their descendants, would be members of the House of Windsor with the personal surname of Windsor. The name Windsor has a long association with English royalty through the town of Windsor and Windsor Castle.
King George V with his first cousin Tsar Nicholas II (their mothers –
Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and Empress Maria Fyodorovna of Russia – were sisters).

Relatives of the British Royal Family who fought on the German side, such as Prince Ernst August of Hanover, to 3rd Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale (the senior male-line great grandson of George III) and Prince Carl Eduard, Duke of Albany and the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (a male-line grandson of Queen Victoria), were simply cut off; their British peerages were suspended by a 1919 Order in Council under the provisions of the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. George also removed their Garter flags from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle under pressure from his mother, Queen Alexandra.

When Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, a first cousin of George through his mother, Queen Alexandra (Nicholas II’s mother was Empress Maria Fyodorovna, Queen Alexandra’s sister) was overthrown in the Russian Revolution of 1917, the British Government offered asylum to the Tsar and his family but worsening conditions for the British people, and fears that revolution might come to the British Isles, led George to think that the presence of the Romanovs might seem inappropriate under the circumstances.

(Webmaster Personal note: I have always found England’s “Royal” refusal to grant Nicolas II and his family asylum* abominable; resulting in their massacre.) THEY WERE MEMBERS OF THE ENGLISH ROYAL FAMILY!!

their action as
their Country with German mobilization and declaration of war, and the outbreak of World War I.
Right of asylum* (or political asylum) is an ancient judicial notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her country may be protected by another sovereign authority.
Nicholas II of Russia (Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov) (19 May [O.S. 6 May] 1868 – 17 July
[O.S. 4 July] 1918) (Russian: ??????? II, Nikolay II) was the last Tsar of Russia, King of Poland, and Grand Duke of Finland. He ruled from 1894 until his forced abdication in 1917. Nicholas proved unable to manage a country in political turmoil and command its army in World War I. His rule ended with the Russian Revolution of 1917. Nicholas and his family were imprisoned firstly in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. The family were later moved to the Governor’s Mansion in Tobolsk and finally to the Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg. On the night of 16/17 July 1918, Nicholas and his family were shot, and speared with bayonets, by Bolsheviks.
In Council on 9 April 1952, after her accession, Queen Elizabeth II officially declared her “Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that my descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor.”
This is in contrast with the usual practice in which her children would be of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glocksburg through their father, born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, a line of the House of Oldenburg. On 8 February 1960, the Queen confirmed that she and her descendants will be known as the House and Family of Windsor, and further provided that their personal surname, whenever one should be needed, is “Mountbatten-Windsor”. Mountbatten is the surname adopted by Prince Philip before his marriage, an anglicisation of his mother’s family name of Battenberg. Any future monarch could change the dynasty name by royal proclamation if he or she chooses to do so. For example, if the current Prince of Wales accedes to the throne, he could change the name of the royal house to “Mountbatten” in honour of his father. However, the proclamations of George V and Elizabeth II will continue to stand unless and until they are overridden by a monarch in the future.
In 1937, the Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII) and his Duchess (Wallace Warfield Simpson) visited Germany, against the advice of the British government, and met Nazi leader Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden. The visit was much publicised by the German media. During the visit the Duke gave full Nazi salutes.

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