Events from the year 1879 in the United Kingdom.
- 1 January — Benjamin Henry Blackwell opens the first Blackwell's bookshop in Oxford.
- 8 January — British army occupies Kandahar in Afghanistan.
- 11 January — Anglo-Zulu War begins.
- 22 January — Zulu troops led by King Cetshwayo massacre British troops at the Battle of Isandlwana. At Rorke's Drift, outnumbered British soldiers drive the attackers away after hours of fighting.
- March — The standard design of pillar box reverts to a cylindrical shape (the "anonymous" style cast by Andrew Handyside and Company).
- 2 March — Murder of Julia Martha Thomas at Richmond upon Thames.
- 12 March — Anglo-Zulu War: At the Battle of Intombe, a British force over one-hundred strong is ambushed and destroyed by Zulu forces.
- 13 March — Marriage of The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria, to Princess Louise Marguerite of Prussia.
- 28 March — Anglo-Zulu War: British forces suffer a defeat at the Battle of Hlobane.
- 29 March — Anglo-Zulu War: Battle of Kambula: British forces defeat 20,000 Zulus.
- 3 April — Anglo-Zulu War: British forces successfully lift the two-month Siege of Eshowe.
- 12 May — John Henry Newman elevated to Cardinal.
- 26 May — Russia and the United Kingdom sign the Treaty of Gandamak establishing an Afghan state.
- June–August — The coolest and wettest summer in England and Wales since records began in 1766.
- 14 June — Sidney Faithorn Green, an Anglican priest in the Church of England, is tried and convicted for using Ritualist practices.
- 4 July — The Anglo-Zulu War effectively ends with British victory at the Battle of Ulundi.
- 19 August — The foundation stone of the fourth Eddystone Lighthouse is laid by The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Edinburgh.
- 18 September — Blackpool Illuminations lit for the first time.
- 13 October — First female students admitted to study for degrees of Oxford University, at the new Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville Hall and with the Society of Oxford Home-Students.
- 17 October — Sunderland A.F.C. is formed as 'Sunderland and District Teachers A.F.C.' in the North East.
- 27 October — Liverpool Echo newspaper first published.
- November–March 1880 — Probably the longest ever fog in the city's history engulfs London.
- 15–23 December — Second Anglo-Afghan War: British victory at the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment.
- 28 December — The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses in a storm as a train passes over it, killing 78.
- 30 December — The Pirates of Penzance is first performed, in Paignton, Devon.
- 1 January
- 13 January — William Reid Dick, sculptor (died 1961)
- 26 February — Frank Bridge, composer (died 1941)
- 5 March — William Beveridge, economist and social reformer (died 1963)
- 20 April — Robert Wilson Lynd, essayist and writer (died 1949)
- 26 April — Owen Willans Richardson, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1959)
- 29 April — Thomas Beecham, conductor (died 1961)
- 19 May — Viscount Waldorf Astor, businessman and politician (died 1952)
- 25 May — Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook, Canadian-British business tycoon, politician and writer (died 1964)
- 30 May — Colin Blythe, cricketer (died 1917)
- 6 June — Patrick Abercrombie, town planner (died 1957)
- 15 July — Joseph Campbell, poet and lyricist (died 1944)
- 13 August — John Ireland, composer (died 1962)
- 27 December — Sydney Greenstreet, actor (died 1954)
- ^ "Nos. 48–51: Blackwell's Bookshop". Broad Street, Oxford. 2008. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
- ^ a b c d e Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 303–304. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- ^ a b c d e f Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- ^ Farrugia, Jean Young (1969). The Letter Box: a history of Post Office pillar and wall boxes. Fontwell: Centaur Press. ISBN 0-900000-14-7.
- ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1995). The London Encyclopaedia. Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-57688-8.
- ^ Cumming, Valerie; Cunnington, C. W.; Cunnington, P. E (2010). The Dictionary of Fashion History. Berg. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-84788-533-3.
- ^ Leavis, Q.D. (1965). Fiction and the Reading Public (2nd ed.). London: Chatto & Windus.