Key Events of the Period
Date Event
20th June 1837 Queen Victoria starts her reign over Great Britain and Ireland.
19th July 1837 The SS Great Western is launched, designed by Brunel.
1838 The pedal-driven bicycle is invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan.
28th June 1838 Queen Victoria’s coronation takes place.
4th July 1838 26 children are killed in an accident at Huskar Colliery in Yorkshire.
April 1839 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is fully published.
9th April 1839 The first commercial telegraph line is set up, running along the Great Western Railway line.
1840 The Birmingham back-to-back houses are founded.
10th January 1840 The Penny Post starts.
10th February 1840 Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert.
6th May 1840 The Penny Black postage stamp is introduced.
31st August 1840 The Great Western Main Line railway from London to Bristol opens, designed by Brunel.
23rd September 1840 William Fox Talbot invents the calotype positive/negative process for using light sensitive photographic paper to produce photographs.
5th July 1841 The first Thomas Cook tour takes place.
17th July 1841 Punch magazine is founded.
December 1841 Prince Albert brings a Christmas tree over from Germany, decorates it and puts it in Windsor Castle.
1842 The 1842 Mines and Collieries Act prohibits all underground work for women and girls, and for boys under 10.
25th March 1843 Brunel's Thames Tunnel opens to the public.
19th July 1843 The SS Great Britain is launched.
17th December 1843 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is published.
1844 The Ragged School Union is set up, headed by Lord Shaftsbury.
1844 The first co-operative movement is set up in Rochdale.
1845 The New Zealand Maori Wars start over the selling of land to British immigrant settlers.
1845 The Great 'Potato' Famine starts in Ireland - a period of mass starvation caused mostly by their potato crop becoming diseased.
1845 The rubber pneumatic tyre is invented by Robert Thomson.
1845 The first road in the UK is covered with tarmac.
1847 The 1847 Factories Act sets the limit that women and children could not work for more than ten hours per day.
1849 The first glider is built by George Caley.
October 1850 The first Wenlock Olympic Games are held.
1st May 1851 Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations at the Crystal Palace in London.
1851 George Jennings installs the first public toilets at the Great Exhibition.
22nd June 1852 Victoria and Prince Albert buy Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
1853 The Saltaire 'model' village is founded in Yorkshire for workers in a textile factory.
October 1853 The Crimean War starts.
1854 Henry Bessemer finds a way to convert iron into steel.
25th October 1854 The Battle of Balaclava takes place. There are lots of British casualties as the Charge of the Light Brigade takes place.
November 1854 Florence Nightingale arrives at the Barrack Hospital in Scutari, Turkey.
March 1855 Mary Seacole opens the British Hotel near the Crimean War battlefield.
1st February 1856 The Crimean war ends.
March 1856 William Perkin makes a purple dye (aniline) from coal tar - the first artificial dye.
1857 All cities in the UK are required to form their own police force.
1857 Construction starts on developing marsh lands in Llandudno Bay into a holiday resort.
24th April 1857 Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes is published.
1858 Llandudno pier opens to the public.
31st January 1858 The SS Great Eastern steam ship is launched, designed by Brunel.
16th August 1858 Queen Victoria sends one of the first messages across the transatlantic telegraph cable to the US president James Buchanan.
1859 Construction starts on the London sewer system.
1859 Gas lights are installed in the Houses of Parliament in London.
1859 Francis Frith & Co. is opened, the world's first photographic publisher.
1859 A National Standard post box is introduced.
22nd November 1859 Charles Darwin publishes his book On Origin of Species.
14th December 1861 Prince Albert dies.
1862 William Morris designs his first repeating pattern for wallpaper.
10th January 1863 The first London Underground railway opens.
21st May 1863 North Pier in Blackpool is opened.
1864 The first jelly babies are manufactured by Herr Steinbeck in Lancashire.
8th December 1864 Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge is opened.
4th July 1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is published.
1866 The SS Great Eastern is used to lay the first, lasting transatlantic telegraph cable.
18th November 1869 The Suez Canal opens, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean.
1870 Portcurno, in the far west of Cornwall, becomes the hub for international cable communications. The first link stretches from the UK to India.
1870 The 1870 Elementary Education Act gives power to local school boards to start schools.
1870 The first of Dr Barnardo's Homes for poor children is opened.
1871 Joseph List introduces antiseptic (germ-killing) spray.
1871 The 1871 Bank Holidays Act establishes the first Bank Holidays.
1872 The New Zealand Maori Wars end.
1872 The penny-farthing bicycle is invented by James Stanley.
1873 The first chocolate Easter Egg is produced.
1875 Liberty department store opens in London selling decorative furnishing objects.
1876 The safety bicycle is designed by John Lawson.
7th March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the first practical telephone.
1st May 1876 Queen Victoria is given the title Empress of India.
1877 Manchester Town Hall is completed.
1878 The 1878 Factory and Workshops Act stops children under the age of 10 from working.
1878 Joseph Swan invents the first incandescent light bulb.
1879 Listerine mouthwash is created.
1880 The 1880 Elementary Education Act makes it law for every child between the ages of 5 and 10 to go to school.
20th December 1880 The first Boer War starts between the UK and the South African Republic.
23rd March 1881 The first Boer War ends.
1882 The Egypt and Sudan War starts.
7th March 1883 John Brown, Queen Victoria’s personal servant, dies.
23rd May 1883 Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is published.
1885 Thomas Twyford invents the single piece, ceramic toilet.
29th September 1885 The first electric street tramway opens in Britain, the Blackpool Tramway.
1st October 1885 Lord Shaftsbury dies.
1887 The first Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is published.
1891 The 1891 Elementary Education Act makes education free for all children.
1892 The 'Snakes and Ladders' board game is introduced.
1893 Construction starts on the Bournville 'model' town for workers at the Cadbury chocolate factory.
1893 The 1893 Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act raises the school leaving age to 11 years.
1894 The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is published.
1897 Queen Victoria celebrates her Diamond Jubilee for being on the throne for 60 years.
1898 The Egypt and Sudan War ends.
11th October 1899 The second Boer War starts.
1899 The 1893 Elementary Education (School Attendance) Act is amended to raise the school leaving age to 12 years.
May 1899 The Palace Pier in Brighton opens to the public.
22nd January 1901 Queen Victoria dies at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.