VICTORIAN BRITAIN 1837-1901 - A SIMPLE CHRONOLOGY

There are several chronologies of Victorian Britain readily available. C. Cook, The Longman Companion to Britain in the Nineteenth Century, 1815-1914 is divided insto sections - political, social and religious, economic, etc., with sub-sections on elections, education, women, etc. E.J.Evans, The Forging of the Modern State, 1783-1870 and K. Robbins, The Eclipse of a Great Power, 1870-1975, have appendixes entitled "Compendium of Information," which includes (along with other usefal material) chronologies. The most interesting chronology, in many ways, is that provided by G.M.Young, Victorian England; Portrait of an Age, which (in addition to the normal chronological details) has a column entitled "floruit", suggesting when Victorian statesmen, artists, writers, etc., were in their prime. I have not shamelessly plagiarised this!

A) Background

1819 24 May, future Q. Victoria born, only child of Duke of Kent (d. 1820), 4th son of George III
1820 George III (ill for many years) succeeded by George IV (hitherto Prince Regent)
1821 G.A.Williams' libel on the Durham clergy in the Durham Chronicle
1830 George IV dies; succeeded by his brother William IV (hitherto Duke of Clarence)
1830 November; Lord Grey (Whig) replaces Duke of Wellington (Tory) as Prime Minister
1831 First Reform Bill introduced, April
1831 First cholera outbreak in England (begins at Sunderland, October)
1832 First ("Great") Reform Act passed; disfranchising small ("rotten") borough seats, adding new borough and county seats; enfranchising £10 householders in towns
1832 General Election under new franchise; overwhelming "reforming" majority
1833 Irish Church Temporalities Act (incl. clause 147 - the "appropriation clause")
1833 Abolition of slavery in British colonies
1833 First effective Factory Reform Act
1834 Poor Law Amendment Act (amending 1601 Act) - "New Poor Law" - establishing unions of workhouses, abolishing "outdoor" relief
1834

Lord Grey resigns; Lord Melbourne Prime Minister

1834 Nov., William IV dismisses Whig Government; Sir Robert Peel (Conservative) Prime Minister
1835

Jan., General election [the Tamworth "Manifesto"]

1835 April, Peel defeated, Melbourne returns as Prime Minister
1835 Municipal Reform Act, reforming old corporations, extending municipal franchise; allowing establishment of new, corporations; allowing establishment of municipal police forces
1837 20 June, Queen Victoria succeeds to throne following death of William IV

B) Early Victorian Britain, c. 1837-1850

1837 General election; Tories gain, Whigs lose but remain in overall majority
1837 Oliver Twist published
1839 Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle published
1839 Charist disturbances; Newport "Rising"
1839 Privy Council Education Committee established; grant (for England and Wales) increased to £30,000
1839 "Bedchamber" crisis; Queen Victoria insists on retaining Whig ladies of her household; Melbourne remains PM;
1840 February; Queen marries Prince Albert
1840 War vs. China
1841 Melbourne Govt. defeated on Baring's budget (sugar), and vote of "No Confidence"; general election;
1841 Tories under Peel win general election; Peel Prime Minister, Graham Home Secretary
1841 Tract XC (Newman) published
1842 Budget; alters sliding scale on Corn Laws; reduces duties on manufactures; imposes tax on Coal exports; income tax at 7d. in £
1842 Poor Law renewed
1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty settles Maine/Canada boundary
1842 Chadwick's Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Classes
1842 Lord Ashley's Coal Mines Act prevents employment of children under 10, women underground in Coal Mines
1842 "Plug Plot" / Staleybridge Turn-out / Chartist disturbances
1843 O'Connell announces "the Repeal year"; monster meetings; arrested following prohibition of Clontarf meeting
1843 Disruption of the Church of Scotland
1843 Newman resigns as vicar of St. Mary's Oxford
1844 Peel's Factory Act
1844 Sugar Act
1844 Bank Charter Act restricts currency
1844 Disraeli's Coningsby published - Conservatism "organised hypocrisy"
1845 Income Tax renewed
1845 Disraeli's Sybil published
1845 Peel extends, makes permanent, grant to Maynooth seminary in Ireland
1845 Onset of Irish potato famine
1845 December; Times announces Peel is to repeal Corn Laws; Cabinet crisis; Peel resigns; Russell fails to form Government; Peel resumes office
1846 Corn Laws suspended; repeal (over 3 years) carried
1846 Peel defeated on Irish Coercion; resigns; Lord John Russell becomes Prime Minister; Palmerston Foreign Secretary
1847 Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte); Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) Tancred (Disraeli) published
1847 Financial crisis; proposal to suspend Bank Charter Act
1847 Judgement by Bishop Phillpotts of Exeter against George Cornelius Gorham
1847 Worst year of Irish famine
1847 Factory Act (10 Hours)
1848 The "Hampden" controversy following R.D.Hampden's appointment as Bishop of Hereford
1848 10 April; Chartist demonstration on Kennington Common
1848 Smith O'Brien's "Young Ireland" rising in Tipperary
1848 Cholera epidemic - first Public Health Act
1849 Repeal of Navigation Laws
1849 Rate-in-Aid levied on solvent Irish Poor Law Unions; Irish famine drawing to close
1850 Death of Peel
1850 Papal Bull establishes Catholic territorial bishoprics - "Papal Aggression"
1850 The "Don Pacifico" debate following the British bombardment of the Piraeus
1850 Public Library Act

C) Mid Victorian Britain, 1850-1870

1851 Ecclesiastical Titles Act
1851 Russell promises further Parliamentary Reform in debate on Locke King's motion
1851 Great Exhibition
1851 Palmerston dismissed as Foreignh Secretary
1852 Russell's Reform Bill; falls with defeat of Government
1852 February; Russell defeated; Earl of Derby Prime Minister; Disraeli Chancellor of the Exchequer
1852 General election; Protectionists fail to gain majority
1852 November; Villiers' resolution (as amended by Palmerston) accepts Free Trade
1852 December; Derby Government defeated on Disraeli's Budget; Aberdeen Coalition Government formed; Lord Aberdeen (Peelite) PM; Palmerston Home Secretary; Russell Foreign Secretary; Gladstone Chancellor of the Exchequer
1854 Crimean War; battles of Alma, Inkerman, Balaclava
1854 Russell's Reform Bill withdrawn because of war
1855 Fall of Aberdeen Coalition, following J.A. Roebuck's motion for inquiry into the Crimean War; Palmerston P.M.
1855 Publication of Anthony Trollope's The Warden
1856 Peace of Paris concludes Crimean War
1856 County and Brorough Police Act
1856 First exhibition of Holman Hunt's The Scapegoat
1857 Indian "Mutiny"
1857 2nd China War
1857 Palmerston defeated; general election; Palmerston returns as PM having defeated the Radicals (Cobden, Bright, etc.) who had opposed the China War
1857 Divorce Act
1857 Financial crisis
1858 Palmerston defeated on Conspiracy to Murder Bill; Lord Derby Prime Minister
1858 Government of British India assumed by Crown (as opposed to East India Company)
1858 Jews admitted to Parliament
1858 Property qualification for MPs abolished
1859 Publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species; John Stuart Mill's On Liberty; and Samuel Smiles' Self-Help.
1859 Tory Reform Bill defeated; general election; Lord Derby's Government defeated; Palmerston resumes as Prime Minister;
1860 Publication of Essays and Reviews
1860 Cobden Treaty with France
1860 Publication of George Elliot's Mill on the Floss; Wilkie Collins' Woman in White; Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; and John Ruskin's Unto This Last.
1861 Mrs. Beeton's Household Management published
1861 "Trent" incident
1861 Russell's Reform Bill
1861 Death of Prince Albert from typhoid
1861 Newcastle Commission on elementary education
1862 Lancashire Cotton Famine; Gladstone's tour of Lancashire (and of NE England)
1862 Frith's Railway Station exhibited
1863 Publication of Lyell's Antiquity of Man
1864 Publication of Mrs. Gaskell's Wives and Daughters
1864 Albert Memorial (Giles Gilbert Scott) unveiled
1865 Jamica Revolt - Governor Eyre controversy begins
1865 General election - Palmerston wins; many candidates stand as "Palmerstonians"; little discussion of parliamentary reform
1865 Death of Palmerston; Lord John Russell becomes Prime Minister
1865 Antiseptic surgery established by Lister
1865 Ford Madox Brown's Work first exhibited
1865 Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland published
1865 Death of Cobden; Mrs. Gaskell; Cardinal Wiseman; Charles Greville
1865 St. Pancras Station completed
1866 Dream of Gerontius first performed
1866 Russell/Gladstone Reform bill defeated by Adullamite/Tory opposition
1866 Russell resigns as PM; Lord Derby's third administration
1866 Financial crisis; collapse of banking house of Overend and Gurney; cholera epidemic
1866 Sheffield "outrages" - bombs against "scab" labour
1866 Hyde Park riots
1867 Second Reform Act
1867 Fenian Rising in Ireland
1867 Walter Bagehot's English Constitution published
1868 Disraeli succeeds Derby as Prime Minister
1868 Gladstone's resolutions on the Irish Church; Disraeli government defeated
1868 General election; Liberals win in each country of UK; Disraeli resigns before Parliament meets; Gladstone's first ministry
1868 Fenian explosion at Clerkenwell prison
1869 Disestablishment of the Irish Church
1869 Publication of John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women
1869 Foundation of Girton College, Cambridge
1869 Publication of Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy
1870 Forster's education act
1870 First Married Woman's Property Act
1870 First School Board elections (Mrs Garrett Anderson, Miss Emily Davies elected)
1870 Civil service (except Foreign Office) open to competitive examination
1870 Gladstone's first Irish Land Act
1870 Millais' Boyhood of Raleigh exhibited

D) Later Victorian Britain, 1871-1901

1871 Alice Through the Looking Glass published
1871 Trade Union Act; Criminal Law Amendment Act
1871 Newnham College, Cambridge founded
1871 Abolition of purchase of commissions in the army
1872 Ballot Act
1872 Publication of Samuel Butler's Erewhon; George Eliot's Middlemarch
1873 Death of John Stuart Mill; publication of his Auitobiography
1874 General election; Conservative victory; Disraeli succeeds Gladstone as P.M.
1874 Publication of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd
1875 Artisans' Dwelling Act
1875 Disraeli's Trade Union Act
1876 Disraeli goes to Lords as Lord Beaconsfield
1876 Bulgarian atrocities
1877 Queen Victoria made Empress of India
1878 Congress of Berlin
1878 Afghan War
1879 Richmond Commission on agricultural distress
1879 Parnell becomes leader of Home Rule party
1879 Zulu War; battlles of Isandhlwana, Rorke's Drift
1880 General election; Beaconsfield [Disraeli] defeated, retires; Gladstone Prime Minister
1880 Beginnings of Bradlaugh dispute over right of MP to affirm
1880 Irish "Land War"
1880 Publication of Hardy's The Trumpet Major
1881 Bessborough Commission reports / Gladstone's (2nd) Irish Land Act ("3 F's")
1882 Pheonix Park Murders
1882 Invasion of Egypt
1883 Fabian Society founded
1884 Death of General Gordon at Khartoum
1884 3rd Reform Act
1884 Joseph Chamberlain's "Unauthorised Programme"
1885 Redistribution Act
1885 Gladstone government defeated, resigns; Lord Salisbury Prime Minister
1885 General Election; no overall majority; Liberals + Irish = Tories
1885 Herbert Gladstone announces his father's conversion to Home Rule - "the Hawarden Kite"
1886 Salisbury resigns; Gladstone Prime Minister
1886 First Irish Home Rule Bill; defeated; Gladstone calls general election
1886 General Election; Gladstone defeated; Salisbury returns as Prime Minister
1887 Independent Labour party founded
1888 Parnell Commission
1889 London Dock Strike
1890 Booth's Darkest England published
1890 Parnell divorce
1891 William Morris's News from Nowhere published
1891 Liberal "Newcastle Programme"
1892 General election; Salisbury's Government defeated; Gladstone again Prime Minister
1893 Defeat of Gladstone's Second Home Rule Bill in House of Lords
1893 Sherlock Holmes appears
1894 Gladstone resigns; Lord Rosebery becomes Prime Minister
1895 Liberal defeat on "cordite"; general election; Tory "landslide"; Salisbury Prime Minister
1896 A.E.Houseman's A Shropshire Lad published
1897 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
1898 Fashoda incident
1899 Havelock Ellis's Psychology of Sex published
1899 Outbreak of South African War
1900 Formation of the Labour Representation Committee
1900 Queen Victoria visits Ireland
1900 "Khaki" election; Tory victory
1901 Taff Vale Railway Company legal case
1901 Death of Queen Victoria

E. Aftermath; one or two dates of relevance

1902 Retrirement of Salisbury
1903 Poor Law Commission; minority report recommends abolition of Poor Law
1903 [Herbert] Gladstone/Macdonald Pact; Labour and Liberal agree not to fight against each other at elections
1906 General election - Liberal "landslide"

 

 

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