1808 in the United Kingdom
Events from the year 1808 in the United Kingdom.
- 1 January – Sierra Leone becomes a British Crown Colony.
- 15 February – laying of the foundation stone for Nelson's Pillar in Dublin
- 18 February – first recorded rescue using the Manby Mortar when the crew of the Plymouth brig Elizabeth stranded off Great Yarmouth are hauled safely to shore under the direction of Captain Manby.
- February – William Bradbery first cultivates watercress commercially, at Springhead, Kent.
- 2 May – end of Anglo-Spanish War and beginning of Peninsular War as Spain allies with the United Kingdom and Portugal against France.
- 20 July – Henry Crabb Robinson makes the first despatch from a specialist war reporter, to The Times newspaper.
- 1 August – Peninsular War: British expeditionary force lands near Porto.
- 21 August – Peninsular War: British-Portuguese victory over the French at the Battle of Vimeiro.
- 20 September – the original Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in London is destroyed by fire along with most of the scenery, costumes and scripts. Rebuilding begins in December.
- George Ponsonby becomes de facto first (whig) Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.
- West Africa Squadron established to suppress the slave trade along the coast of West Africa.
- Society for Promoting the Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor formed to develop Joseph Lancaster's system of elementary schools for nonconformists. In 1814, the Society is renamed the British and Foreign School Society for the Education of the Labouring and Manufacturing Classes of Society of Every Religious Persuasion.
- Barium, calcium, magnesium and strontium isolated by Sir Humphry Davy.
- John Dalton begins publication of A New System of Chemical Philosophy, explaining his atomic theory of chemistry.
- 20 March – Charles Henry Cooper, antiquarian (died 1866)
- 22 March – Caroline Norton, campaigner for married women's rights (died 1877)
- 27 April – William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, politician (died 1891)
- 2 May – Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin (died 1896)
- 12 May – Edwin Abbott, educator (died 1882)
- 30 May – Caroline Chisholm, humanitarian (died 1877)
- 12 June – George Wilshere, 1st Baron Bramwell, judge (died 1892)
- 11 June – James Ballantine, artist and author (died 1877)
- 19 June – Montagu Bertie, 6th Earl of Abingdon, politician (died 1884)
- 1 July – Henry Doubleday, entomologist and ornithologist (died 1875)
- 15 July – Henry Cole, civil servant (died 1882)
- 30 July – Frederick Nicholls Crouch, composer and cellist (died 1896)
- 19 August – James Nasmyth, engineer (died 1890)
- 24 August – William Lindsay Alexander, church leader (died 1884)
- 5 September – Arthur William Buller, Member of Parliament (died 1869)
- 15 September – John Hutton Balfour, botanist (died 1884)
- 6 November – Thomas Legh Claughton, academic, poet and clergyman (died 1892)
- 22 November – Thomas Cook, travel entrepreneur (died 1892)
- 15 December – Henry Fothergill Chorley, critic (died 1872)
- 28 May – Richard Hurd, bishop and writer (born 1720)
- 5 September – John Home, writer (born 1722)
- 10 November – Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, soldier and governor of Quebec (born 1724)
- Theophilus Lindsey, theologian (born 1723)
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 242–243. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Walthew, Kenneth (1971). From Rock and Tempest – The Life of Captain George William Manby. London: Bles. ISBN 0-7138-0287-1.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- British History Timeline, BBC History