1853 in the United Kingdom
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- Monarch – Victoria
- Prime Minister – George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen (Coalition)
- Parliament – 16th
- 20 January – the United Kingdom annexes Lower Burma ending the Second Anglo-Burmese War.
- 4 February – Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society takes its first deposits.
- 15 February – PS Queen Victoria sinks in a snowstorm at night entering Dublin Bay with the loss of more than 80 lives.
- 18 February – a treaty is signed with the United States concerning international copyright.
- 29 March – Manchester is granted city status by letters patent.
- May – the world's first public aquarium is opened in London Zoo.
- 6 June – naval fleet travels to Besika Bay to fend off Russian threats to the Ottoman Empire.
- 25 June – Hochster v De La Tour, a landmark case on anticipatory breach of contract in English contract law, is decided in the Court of Queen's Bench.
- 1 July – first constitution of the Cape Colony provides for a legislative council.
- 12 August – Licensing (Scotland) Act (known after its sponsor as the 'Forbes Mackenzie Act') regulates the supply of intoxicating beverages in Scotland.
- September (approx.) – first pillar box on the British mainland erected in Carlisle.
- 28 September – emigrant ship Annie Jane sinks in heavy seas off the Scottish island of Vatersay with the loss of 350 lives.
- 31 October–15 May 1854 – lockout of Preston cotton mill workers seeking reinstatement of ten per cent of their pay; this will be Britain's longest industrial dispute up to this date.
- 3 December – Crimean War: a protocol is signed with France, Austria, and Prussia for restoring peace between Russia and Turkey.
- 14 December – Palmerston resigns as Home Secretary over demands for parliamentary reform, but changes his mind on 23 December.
- 15 December – the Sierra redwood Sequoiadendron giganteum is introduced to England as Wellingtonia by William Lobb.
- Penal Servitude Act provides for convicted criminals to serve their entire sentence in prison, rather than suffer transportation, and also to be freed on licence.
- Betting Houses Act prohibits betting shops, restricting legal betting on horse racing to racecourses.
- Highland Clearances in Skye and Raasay.
- West Australian becomes the first horse to win the English Triple Crown by finishing first in the Epsom Derby, 2,000 Guineas and St Leger.
- Charlotte Brontë's novel Villette (published as by Currer Bell).
- Mrs Gaskell's novel Ruth.
- Robert Smith Surtees' comic novel Mr. Sponge's Sporting Tour.
- Charlotte M. Yonge's novel The Heir of Redclyffe.
- 29 March – Elihu Thomson, engineer and inventor (died 1937)
- 7 April – Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, member of the royal family (died 1884)
- 3 June – Flinders Petrie, Egyptologist (died 1942)
- 5 July – Cecil Rhodes, businessman (died 1902)
- 19 August – George Cockburn, Naval commander (born 1772)
- 29 August – Charles James Napier, general and Commander-in-Chief in India (born 1782)
- 6 September – George Bradshaw, cartographer and timetable publisher (born 1800)
- Baren, Maurice (1996). How It All Began Up the High Street. London: Michael O'Mara Books. p. 58. ISBN 1-85479-667-4.
- Cates, William L. R. (1863). The Pocket Date Book. Chapman and Hall.
- The London Gazette (1853-04-01) 21426:950.
- "The City of Manchester". The Guardian. Manchester. 2 April 1853. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- Brunner, Bernd (2003). The Ocean at Home. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 99. ISBN 1-56898-502-9.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 273–274. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Matthew, H. C. G. (2004). "Mackenzie, William Forbes (1807–1862)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/17605. Retrieved 27 June 2011. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1840–1860". Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
- Farrugia, Jean Young (1969). The Letter Box: a history of Post Office pillar and wall boxes. Fontwell: Centaur Press. ISBN 0-900000-14-7.
- "Annie Jane". Wreck site. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- Leigh, J. S. (2008). Preston Cotton Martyrs: the millworkers who shocked a nation. Lancaster: Carnegie. ISBN 978-1-874181-45-3.
- Earle, Christopher J., ed. (15 August 1999). "Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindley) Buchholz 1939". Gymnosperm Database. University of Hamburg. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
- "Timeline of capital punishment in Britain". Retrieved 2 February 2011.
- "The Skye and Raasay Clearances – 1853". Scotland's History. BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- Leavis, Q. D. (1965). Fiction and the Reading Public (2nd ed.). London: Chatto & Windus.