1854 in the United Kingdom
Events from the year 1854 in the United Kingdom.
- 21 January – the iron clipper RMS Tayleur runs aground on Lambay Island (off the east coast of Ireland) on her maiden voyage out of Liverpool with the loss of at least 300 of around 650 on board.
- 13 February – Cheltenham Ladies' College admits its first pupils.
- 17 February – the British recognise the independence of the Orange Free State.
- 27 February – Britain sends Russia an ultimatum to withdraw from two Ottoman provinces it has conquered, Moldavia and Wallachia.
- 11 March – Royal Navy fleet sails from Britain under Vice Admiral Sir Charles Napier.
- 21 March–end April – Giuseppe Garibaldi visits Tyneside.
- 28 March – United Kingdom declares war on Russia thus joining the Crimean War.
- 1 April – Hard Times begins serialisation in Charles Dickens's magazine, Household Words.
- 26 April – 'National Day of Fast and Humiliation' held, in support of the Crimean War.
- 4 May – Religious Tract Society publishes first issue of The Sunday at Home, 'a family magazine for Sabbath reading'.
- May – Holman Hunt first exhibits the original version of his painting The Light of the World, together with The Awakening Conscience, at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
- 10 June – the Crystal Palace reopens in Sydenham, south London with life-size dinosaur models in the grounds.
- 21 June – Crimean War: In the First Battle of Bomarsund in Åland, Royal Navy mate Charles Davis Lucas throws a live Russian artillery shell overboard before it explodes – the incident is the first that will be retroactively awarded the Victoria Cross in 1857.
- 22 July – discovery of the asteroid 30 Urania by John Russell Hind.
- August – the Oxford University Act 1854 reforms the University of Oxford, opening it to undergraduates outside the Church of England by abolishing the requirement to undergo a religious test or take the Oath of Supremacy.
- 10 August – Merchant Shipping Act 1854 introduces official numbers for ships, revises calculations of tonnage, vests management of Scottish lighthouses in the Northern Lighthouse Board and provides for rewards to lifesavers leading to creation of the Sea Gallantry Medal.
- 12 August – prorogation of Parliament, the last time this is carried out by the monarch in person, and the last time royal assent to its Acts is given in person.
- 16 August – Crimean War: second Battle of Bomarsund – after a three-day bombardment, Russian troops on the island of Bomarsund in Åland surrender to combined French and British forces.
- 27 August – Alfred Wills and party set out for the first ascent of the Wetterhorn in Switzerland, regarded as the start of the "golden age of alpinism".
- 31 August–8 September – an epidemic of cholera in London kills 10,000. Dr John Snow traces the source of one outbreak (that killed 500) to a single water pump, validating his theory that cholera is water-borne, and forming the starting point for epidemiology.
- 20 September – Crimean War: at the Alma, the Franco-British alliance wins the first battle of the war.
- 6 October – the great fire of Newcastle and Gateshead is ignited by a spectacular explosion.
- 17 October – Crimean War: Siege of Sevastopol begins.
- 21 October – Florence Nightingale leaves England with 38 other trained volunteer nurses for Selimiye Barracks at Scutari in the Ottoman Empire, where they arrive the following month to care for British Army troops invalided from the Crimean War.
- 25 October – Crimean War: the Battle of Balaclava occurs, overall a victory for the allies, but including the disastrous cavalry Charge of the Light Brigade.
- 5 November – Crimean War: Russians defeated at the Battle of Inkerman.
- 30 November – SS Nile is wrecked on The Stones reef off Godrevy Head on the north Cornwall coast, with the loss of all on board – at least 40.
- 4 December – the Distinguished Conduct Medal is instituted by Royal warrant, the first regulated military decoration available to other ranks of the British Army.
- 20 December – in the case of Talbot v Laroche, pioneer of photography William Fox Talbot fails in asserting that the collodion process infringes his calotype patent. The case allows more freedom for other early photographers to experiment and accelerates the development of photography.
- Rowland Hill becomes Secretary of the Post Office; programme of purpose-built Post Offices initiated.
- Northcote–Trevelyan Report on the organisation of the permanent civil service is published.
- St George's Hall, Liverpool, opens.
- Prudential Assurance begins selling the relatively new concept of industrial branch insurance policies to the working classes for premiums as low as one penny through agents acting as door to door salesmen.
- Brown and Polson's patent cornflour first produced, in Paisley.
- Cuddesdon College is established by Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, as a diocesan Anglican seminary.
- George Airy calculates the mean density of the Earth by measuring the gravity in a coal mine in South Shields.
- George Boole's influential work on algebraic logic An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, on Which are Founded the Mathematical Theories of Logic and Probabilities.
- Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times.
- Alfred Tennyson's poem The Charge of the Light Brigade.
- William Makepeace Thackeray's novel The Rose and the Ring.
- 4 March – Napier Shaw, meteorologist (died 1945)
- 31 March – Dugald Clerk, mechanical engineer (died 1932)
- 9 June – Weedon Grossmith, writer (died 1919)
- 13 June – Charles A. Parsons, inventor (died 1931)
- 16 October – Oscar Wilde, writer (died 1900)
- 24 December – Thomas Stevens, cyclist (died 1935)
- 8 January – William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, general and politician (born 1768)
- 17 February – John Martin, painter (born 1789)
- 6 March – Charles William Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, soldier, politician and nobleman (born 1778)
- 13 March – Thomas Noon Talfourd, jurist (born 1795)
- 3 April – John Wilson, writer (born 1785)
- 15 April – Arthur Aikin, chemist and mineralogist (born 1773)
- 29 April – Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, general (born 1768)
- 25 May – Hyde Parker, admiral (born c. 1784)
- 1 November – Charles Geach, industrialist, banker and politician (born 1808)
- 12 November – Charles Kemble, actor (born 1775)
- 18 November – Edward Forbes, naturalist (born 1815)
- 25 November – John Gibson Lockhart, writer and editor (born 1794)
- Shillito, Elizabeth H. (1930). Dorothea Beale, Principal of the Cheltenham Ladies' College, 1858–1906. London: SPCK.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. p. 274. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- Duckers, Peter (2005). The Victoria Cross. Princes Risborough: Shire. ISBN 978-0-7478-0635-6.
- Erskine May: Parliamentary Practice (19th ed.). pp. 261, 564.
- "Wetterhorn during the golden and the post golden age". summitpost.org. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Johnson, Steven (2006). The Ghost Map: a street, an epidemic and the two men who battled to save Victorian London. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-7139-9974-7.
- Larn, Richard; Bridget (1997). "Section 4". Shipwreck Index of the British Isles. 1. London: Lloyd's Register of Shipping. ISBN 0-900528-88-5.
- Wood, R. D. (1975). The Calotype Patent Lawsuit of Talbot v. Laroche 1854. Bromley, Kent: privately published. ISBN 0-9504377-0-0.
- Blake, Richard. The Book of Postal Dates, 1635–1985. Caterham: Marden. p. 11.
- "Timeline 1826–1901". Prudential plc. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- Baren, Maurice (1997). How Household Names Began. London: Michael O'Mara Books. pp. 26–8. ISBN 1-85479-257-1.