1849 in the United Kingdom
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- 13 January – Second Anglo-Sikh War: British forces retreat from the Battle of Chillianwala.
- 22 January – Second Anglo-Sikh War: The city of Multan falls to the British East India Company following the Siege of Multan.
- February–May – shareholder enquiries into the conduct of railway financier George Hudson begin his downfall
- 1 February – abolition of the Corn Laws by the Importation Act 1846 comes fully into effect.
- 21 February – Second Anglo-Sikh War: Battle of Gujrat – British East India Company forces defeat those of the Sikh Empire in Punjab.
- 1 March – Nathaniel Cook registers the design of the Staunton chess set, which is first marketed in September by Jaques of London with an endorsement by Howard Staunton.
- 3 March – the Arana-Southern Treaty with the Argentine Confederation ends British involvement in the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata.
- 30 March – the Second Anglo-Sikh War ends with the U.K. annexing the Punjab.
- 21 April – Great Famine (Ireland): 96 inmates of the overcrowded Ballinrobe Union Workhouse die over the course of the preceding week from illness and other famine-related conditions, a record high. This year's potato crop again fails and there are renewed outbreaks of cholera.
- May – first exhibition of paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in London: John Everett Millais' Isabella and Holman Hunt's Rienzi at the Royal Academy summer exhibition, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Girlhood of Mary Virgin at the Free Exhibition on Hyde Park Corner.
- 19 May – Irishman William Hamilton arrested after shooting blank shots at Queen Victoria on Constitution Hill, London.
- Summer – Karl Marx moves from Paris to London, where he will spend the remainder of his life.
- 2–12 August – Visit of Queen Victoria to Cork, Dublin and Belfast.
- 9 August – "The Bermondsey Horror": Marie Manning and her husband, Frederick, murder Patrick O'Connor in London. On 13 November they are hanged together publicly by William Calcraft at Horsemonger Lane Gaol for the crime.
- 13 December – foundation stone of Llandovery College is laid.
- 17 December – the customer, probably Edward Coke, collects the first bowler hat (devised by London hatmakers Thomas and William Bowler) from hatters Lock & Co. of St James's.
- Navigation Acts repealed.
- Two shilling coin (florin), depicting the Queen crowned, introduced, partly to test public opinion on possible decimalization of the currency.
- Bedford College (London) founded by Elizabeth Jesser Reid as the Ladies College in Bedford Square, a non-sectarian higher education institution to provide a liberal female education.
- The drapers' store of Arthur & Fraser, predecessor of the House of Fraser, is established in Glasgow by Hugh Fraser and James Arthur.
- Second cholera pandemic (1849–51) affects London (14,137 deaths), Liverpool (5,308), Hull (1,834), Wales and Scotland.
- Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley (published as by Currer Bell).
- Thomas De Quincey's essay The English Mail-Coach (in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, October–December).
- Charles Dickens' novel David Copperfield begins serialisation (May).
- J. A. Froude’s controversial novel of religious doubt The Nemesis of Faith.
- John Ruskin's essay The Seven Lamps of Architecture (May).
- Notes and Queries first published (November).
- Who's Who first published.
- 13 February – Lord Randolph Churchill, statesman (died 1895)
- 22 May – Aston Webb, architect (died 1930)
- 11 July – Francis Russell, son to the serving Prime Minister
- 24 November – Frances Hodgson Burnett, author (died 1924)
- 29 November – John Ambrose Fleming, electrical engineer and inventor (died 1945)
- 19 February – Bernard Barton, poet (born 1784)
- 22 May – Maria Edgeworth, novelist (born 1767)
- 25 May – Benjamin d'Urban, general and colonial administrator (born 1777)
- 28 May – Anne Brontë, author (born 1820)
- 30 June – William Ward, cricketer (born 1787)
- 12 July – Horace Smith, author (born 1779)
- 6 September – Edward Stanley, Bishop of Norwich (born 1779)
- 2 December – Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen of William IV (born 1792)
- 12 December – Marc Isambard Brunel, engineer (born 1769, France)
- Ross, David (2002). Ireland: History of a Nation (New ed.). New Lanark: Geddes & Grosset. p. 313. ISBN 1842051644.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Connolly, Sean (2008). "Queen Victoria in Ireland, August 1849". Irish History Live. Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 2012-08-05.
- Borowitz, Albert (1981). The Woman Who Murdered Black Satin: The Bermondsey Horror. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. ISBN 0-8142-0320-5.
- Bloxham, Andy (2010-10-05). "Bowler hat makes a comeback". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- Cates, William L. R. (1863). The Pocket Date Book. Chapman and Hall.
- "The Story of the Florin or Two Shilling Piece". Blackpool: Chard. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- "House of Fraser archive project" (PDF).
- Paul, Herbert (1906). The Life of Froude. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 47–48.
- Willey, Basil (1956). "J. A. Froude". More Nineteenth Century Studies: a Group of Honest Doubters. London: Chatto & Windus. p. 131.
- Ashton, Rosemary (1989). "Doubting Clerics: From James Anthony Froude to Robert Elsmere via George Eliot". In Jasper & Wright. The Critical Spirit and the Will to Believe. New York: St. Martins. p. 76.