1839 in the United Kingdom
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Events from the year 1839 in the United Kingdom.
- January — The first parallax measurement of the distance to Alpha Centauri is published by Thomas Henderson.
- 19 January — British East India Company captures Aden.
- 25 January — H. Fox Talbot shows his "photogenic drawings" at the Royal Institution in London. Sara Anne Bright is also producing such photographic reproductions this year.
- 29 January — Naturalist Charles Darwin marries his cousin Emma Wedgwood at Maer, Staffordshire.
- February — Report on the Affairs of British North America published.
- 26 February — First nationally recognised Grand National run, at Aintree. It is won by Jem Mason riding Lottery.
- 26 March — The first Henley Royal Regatta is held on the River Thames.
- 9 April — The world's first commercial electric telegraph line comes into operation alongside the Great Western Railway line from London Paddington station to West Drayton.
- 19 April — The Treaty of London establishes Belgium as a kingdom with its independence and neutrality guaranteed by Britain and the other great powers of Europe.
- 1 May — Start of Eyre's expeditions to the interior of South Australia.
- 7–11 May — Bedchamber Crisis: Robert Peel asks that Queen Victoria dismiss her Ladies of the Bedchamber as a condition for his forming a government. Victoria refuses to accept the condition, and Melbourne is persuaded to stay on as Prime Minister.
- 13 May — First Rebecca Riots targeted against Welsh turnpikes, at Efailwen in Carmarthenshire.
- 31 May — Important British constitutional case of Stockdale v Hansard is launched when publisher John Joseph Stockdale sues for libel after John Roberton's pseudo-medical work On Diseases of the Generative System (1811) is declared in a parliamentary report to be indecent.
- 3 June — Destruction of opium at Humen begins, casus belli for Britain to open the 3-year First Opium War against Qing dynasty China.
- 4 July — Chartists riot in Birmingham.
- 15 July — First clipper ship launched in Britain, the schooner Scottish Maid at Alexander Hall's yard in Aberdeen.
- 23 July — British forces under Sir John Keane capture the fortress city of Ghazni, Afghanistan in the Battle of Ghazni during the First Anglo-Afghan War.
- 23 August — British forces seize Hong Kong as a base, as it prepares to wage the First Opium War.
- 30 August — The Eglinton Tournament, a recreation of a medieval tourney, takes place at Eglinton Castle, North Ayrshire, Scotland.
- 5 October — James Clark Ross sets out on the Antarctic expedition of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror which will chart much of the coastline of the continent.
- 19 October — George Bradshaw publishes the first national railway timetable, Bradshaw's Railway Time Tables and Assistant to Railway Travelling, in Manchester.
- 4 November — Newport Rising: several thousand coal miners march on Newport, Monmouthshire, to liberate Chartist prisoners; 24 killed.
- November — Launch of the first British ocean-going iron warship, Nemesis for the East India Company, by William Laird at Birkenhead.
- 5 December — Uniform Fourpenny Post introduced, a major postal reform, whereby 4d is levied for pre-paid letters up to half an ounce in weight instead of postage being calculated by distance and number of sheets of paper.
- 24 December — An enormous landslide occurs at Axmouth, Devon. A report by geologists William Daniel Conybeare and William Buckland is one of the earliest scientific descriptions of such an event.
- New Committee of Council on education sets up a national system of Inspectors of Schools.
- County Police Act enables the appointment of police in rural areas and City of London Police Act confirms establishment of a force in the City.
- Custody of Infants Act (based largely on campaigning by Caroline Norton) permits limited rights of custody of young children to divorced mothers.
- Sisters of Mercy establish the first Roman Catholic convent in England since the Reformation, at Bermondsey in London.
- Michael Faraday publishes Experimental Researches in Electricity clarifying the true nature of electricity.
- Claimed invention of the rear-wheel driven bicycle by Kirkpatrick Macmillan in Scotland.
- Philip James Bailey's (anonymous) poem Festus.
- Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle under the Command of Captain FitzRoy, R.N., from 1832 to 1839.
- Mrs William Ellis's conduct book The Women of England: their social duties and domestic habits.
- 7 January — Ouida (Maria Louise Ramé), novelist (died 1908)
- 16 March — John Butler Yeats, Irish artist (died 1922)
- 17 June — Arthur Tooth, Anglican clergyman prosecuted for Ritualist practices in the 1870s (died 1931)
- 19 September — George Cadbury, businessman (died 1922)
- 22 December — John Nevil Maskelyne, stage magician (died 1917)
- 16 January — Edmund Lodge, writer (born 1756)
- 28 January — William Beechey, portrait-painter (born 1753)
- 11 April — John Galt, novelist (born 1779)
- 17 May — Archibald Alison, author (born 1757)
- 24 December — James Smith, author (born 1775)
- Gavine, David (2004). "Henderson, Thomas (1798–1844)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- Clark, Nick (2015-07-06). "The leaf storm". i (1438). London. p. 27.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "Grand National History 1839–1836". The-grand-national.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- "Facts & Figures". Grandnational.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- Haywood, Linda (4 April 2008). "A Big Long History of the Grand National". Popular Nostalgia. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1820–1840". Archived from the original on 12 March 2006. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
- "National Gallery information". Retrieved 2010-06-29.
- "History of the Society". Ecclesiological Society.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 263–264. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Loveland, Ian (2000). Political Libels: A Comparative Study. Oxford: Hart Publishing. pp. 21–22. ISBN 1-84113-115-6.
- "Scottish Maid". Scottish Built Ships. Aberdeen City Council. Retrieved 2014-04-25.
- "National Army Museum : Exhibitions : Afghanistan". Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- "John Lovell and the People's Charter, National Archives". Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Reynolds, Mairead (1983). A History of The Irish Post Office. Dublin, Ireland: MacDonnell Whyte Ltd. pp. 61–62. ISBN 0-9502619-7-1.
- "Axmouth to Lyme Regis: The Undercliff, The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site". Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Berry, George (1970). Discovering Schools. Tring: Shire Publications. ISBN 0-85263-091-3.
- Friar, Stephen (2001). The Sutton Companion to Local History (rev. ed.). Stroud: Sutton Publishing. p. 243. ISBN 0-7509-2723-2.
- Nelson, Sioban (2001). Say Little, Do Much: Nursing, Nuns and Hospitals in the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3614-9.
- "Experimental Researches in Electricity". Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- "Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812–1878)". Historic Figures. BBC. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
- Birley, Robert (1962). "Philip James Bailey, Festus". Sunk Without Trace: some forgotten masterpieces reconsidered. London: Rupert Hart-Davis. pp. 172–208.