1861 in the United Kingdom
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|1861 in the United Kingdom:|
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|1861 English cricket season|
Events from the year 1861 in the United Kingdom.
- 1 January — First steam-powered merry-go-round recorded, in Bolton.
- 15 February — About 350 convicts held on St Mary's Island at Chatham Dockyard take over their prison in a riot.
- 20 February — Storms damage the Crystal Palace in London and cause the collapse of the steeple of Chichester Cathedral.
- 21 to 26 March — Major fire in Southwark destroys several buildings.
- 30 March — William Crookes announces his discovery of thallium.
- 7 April — United Kingdom Census.
- 12 April — American Civil War breaks out, leading to Lancashire Cotton Famine (1861–1865).
- 13 May — British government resolves to remain neutral in the American Civil War.
- 17 May — Thomas Cook runs the first package holiday from London to Paris.
- 31 July — Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act codifies company law.
- 6 August — Criminal law consolidation Acts (drafted by Charles Sprengel Greaves) granted Royal Assent, generally coming into effect on 1 November. The death penalty is limited to murder, embezzlement, piracy, high treason and to acts of arson perpetrated upon docks or ammunition depots; the age of consent is codified as twelve. The Home Secretary takes over the power to reprieve or commute sentences from the judiciary and Privy Council.
- Accessories and Abettors Act, codifying the law on accessories and abettors.
- Coinage Offences Act, codifying the law on counterfeiting of coins.
- Criminal Statutes Repeal Act.
- Forgery Act, codifying the law on forgery.
- Larceny Act, codifying the law on larceny and related offences.
- Malicious Damage Act, codifying the law on criminal damage.
- Offences against the Person Act, codifying the law on violent offence against the person.
- 27 August — Last execution in Britain for attempted murder — Martin Doyle in Chester.
- 16 September — Post Office Savings Bank opens.
- 24 October — HMS Warrior, the world's first ocean-going (all) iron-hulled armored battleship is completed and commissioned.
- 8 November — Trent Affair: Union captained ship USS San Jacinto intercepts the British mail packet Trent at sea and removes two Confederate diplomats.
- 25 November — A tenement collapses in the Old Town of Edinburgh killing 35 with 15 survivors.
- 1 December — Trent Affair: British government dispatches its response, partly drafted by The Prince Consort.
- James Clerk Maxwell demonstrates the principle of three-colour photography (see picture).
- British Empire establishes bases in Lagos to stop the slave trade.
- Construction commences on Royal Museum in Edinburgh.
- Crimean War Memorial unveiled in London, including sculptures of Other Ranks.
- William Morris founds the influential furnishing company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.
- Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.
- Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations complete in book form.
- George Eliot's novel Silas Marner.
- F. T. Palgrave's anthology Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics, 1st edition.
- Charles Reade's novel The Cloister and the Hearth.
- Anthony Trollope's novels Framley Parsonage (book form) and Orley Farm (serialisation begins).
- Mrs Henry Wood's 'sensation novel' East Lynne.
- The anthology Hymns Ancient and Modern. This includes the setting "Eventide" by the music editor William Henry Monk for the hymn Abide with Me.
- 15 February — Halford Mackinder, geographer (died 1947)
- 12 June — William Attewell, cricketer (died 1927)
- 19 June — Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, soldier (died 1928)
- 20 June — Frederick Hopkins, biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (died 1947)
- 23 September — Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, poet and novelist (died 1907)
- 16 October — J. B. Bury, historian (died 1927)
- 29 January — Catherine Gore, novelist and dramatist (born 1799)
- 16 March — Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent and mother of Queen Victoria (born 1786, Germany)
- 29 June — Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet (born 1806)
- 21 October - Edward Dickinson Baker, United States Senator from Oregon from 1860 till 1861. (born 1811)
- 14 December — Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria (born 1819)
- "Fairground Rides - A Chronological Development". National Fairground Archive. University of Sheffield. 2007. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
- Hastings, Paul; Coulson, Ian. "Life in Kent Gaols before 1877". Here's History Kent. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 282–283. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- "Timeline of capital punishment in Britain". Retrieved 2011-02-02.
- Fairfax, D. Macneil (1885). "Captain Wilkes’s Seizure of Mason and Slidell". In Johnson, Robert Underwood; Buel, Clarence Clough (ed). Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: North to Antietam. pp. 136–9.
- Ferris, Norman B. (1977). The Trent Affair: a Diplomatic Crisis. pp. 52–53. ISBN 0-87049-169-5.
- The Hutchinson Factfinder. Helicon. 1999. ISBN 1-85986-000-1.
- "A History of Hymns Ancient & Modern Ltd". SCM-Canterbury Press. Retrieved 2011-01-03.