1803 in the United Kingdom
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Events from the year 1803 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
- 4 January - William Symington demonstrates his Charlotte Dundas, the "first practical steamboat".
- 21 February - Colonel Edward Despard, a radical Anglo-Irish former British Army officer and colonial official, and six others are hanged for their part in the previous year's Despard Plot (apparently intended to assassinate King George III and seize key positions such as the Bank of England and Tower of London). This is the last time anyone has been sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in England, although prior to execution the sentence has been commuted to simple hanging and beheading, which is carried out on the gatehouse roof at Horsemonger Lane Gaol in London before a crowd of at least 20,000, one of the largest public gatherings ever up to this date.
- 2 April - The Easton Massacre, British armed forces shoot and kill three citizens of Easton, Dorset during an attempt to press male members of the village into service.
- 18 May - Napoleonic Wars: The U.K. redeclares war on France after France refuses to withdraw from Dutch territory.
- 25 May - Speaker of the British House of Commons Charles Abbot allows journalists to report the proceedings of the House of Commons.
- June - Britain captures Tobago and Saint Lucia from France.
- 9 June - Matthew Flinders completes the first known circumnavigation of Australia.
- 24 June - Abortion is made a crime by Lord Ellenborough's Act.
- 23 July - Emmet's insurrection in Ireland: United Irishman Robert Emmet stages a rising in Dublin which is quelled by the military, with approximately fifty rebels and twenty soldiers dead. The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Lord Kilwarden, is hacked to death.
- 26 July - The Surrey Iron Railway, a wagonway between Wandsworth and Croydon, is opened, being the first public railway line in England.
- 27 July - Caledonian Canal authorized by Act of Parliament and construction begins; Thomas Telford also begins work on improving roads in Scotland.
- 3 August - British begin Second Anglo-Maratha War against Sindhia of Gwalior
- 6 September - John Dalton FRS composes his five main points of atomic theory, the first to do so.
- 20 September - Irish rebel Robert Emmet is hanged for high treason in Dublin.
- 23 September - The Battle of Assaye in India – British-led troops defeat Maratha forces.
- 21 October - John Dalton presents a paper to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society containing the first table of atomic weights.
- Anglo-Spanish War, 1796–1808
- Smithson Tennant discovers the chemical elements iridium and osmium.
- William Hyde Wollaston discovers the chemical element rhodium.
- Robert Ransome invents the self-sharpening chilled cast-iron ploughshare in Ipswich.
- Frederick Albert Winsor gives a demonstration of gas lighting at the old Lyceum Theatre, London.
- The British Army adopts the anti-personnel shell invented by Henry Shrapnel.
- Pantaloons sanctioned for wear on military campaigns.
- Martello Towers built to protect against the threat of French invasion.
- Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin begins removal of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens to protect them from destruction during the Ottoman occupation of Greece.
- Joseph Lancaster publishes Improvements in Education as it Respects the Industrious Classes.
- Humphry Repton publishes Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening.
- Jane Porter's historical novel Thaddeus of Warsaw is published, immediately going through several editions.
- 25 May - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, novelist and playwright (died 1873)
- 24 June - George James Webb, English-born composer (died 1887)
- 3 August - Joseph Paxton, gardener and architect (died 1865)
- 16 October - Robert Stephenson, engineer (died 1859)
- 6 December - Susanna Moodie, writer (died 1885)
- 21 December - Joseph Whitworth, engineer and entrepreneur (died 1887)
- Undated - George Myers, master builder (died 1875)
- 23 January - Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer (born 1725)
- 2 April - Sir James Montgomery, 1st Baronet, politician and judge (born 1721)
- 6 April - William Hamilton, diplomat (born 1730)
- 19 April - Thomas Jones, landscape painter (born 1742)
- 3 June - Lord George Murray, Bishop of St David's and developer of the UK's first optical telegraph (born 1761))
- 26 October - Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Marquess of Stafford, politician (born 1721)
- Conner, Clifford D. (2000). Colonel Despard: The Life and Times of an Anglo-Irish Rebel. Combined Publishing.
- Jay, Mike (2004). The Unfortunate Colonel Despard. Bantam Press. ISBN 0593051955.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- ""200 years of hacks in the House", BBC News". 22 May 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 239–240. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- "British History Timeline, BBC History". Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "Lord Ellenborough's Act". Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- Dalton, John (1805). "On the Absorption of Gases by Water and Other Liquids". Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, 2nd ser. 1: 271–87. Archived from the original on 11 June 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
- "John Dalton, the man and his legacy: the bicentenary of his Atomic Theory". Retrieved 2008-02-17.
- "Theatres Compete in Race to Install Gas Illumination - 1817" (PDF). Over The Footlights. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Downing, Sarah Jane (2010). Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen. Oxford: Shire Publications. ISBN 978-0-7478-0767-4.
- Leavis, Q. D. (1965). Fiction and the Reading Public (rev. ed.). London: Chatto & Windus.