1858 in the United Kingdom
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Events from the year 1858 in the United Kingdom.
- Monarch — Victoria
- Prime Minister — The Viscount Palmerston (Liberal) (until 19 February), The Earl of Derby (Conservative) (starting 19 February)
- January — First GPO wall-mounted post boxes put into place and agreed for general adoption.
- 25 January — The "Wedding March" by Felix Mendelssohn becomes a popular wedding recessional after it is played on this day at the marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter Victoria, "Vicky" the Princess Royal, to Prince Friedrich of Prussia in St James's Palace, London.
- 30 January — Hallé Orchestra founded by Charles Hallé in Manchester.
- 31 January — I. K. Brunel's SS Great Eastern, the largest ship built to date, is launched on the River Thames.
- 13 February — Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke become the first Europeans to discover Lake Tanganyika.
- 21 February — Palmerston resigns as Prime Minister, following the rejection of a counter-terrorism bill in the wake of the Orsini affair; he is replaced by Earl of Derby, forming a new Conservative government.
- 10 April — Big Ben, the Great Bell for the Palace of Westminster's clock tower in London, is recast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
- 29 April — Charles Dickens embarks on his first professional tour giving readings from his works; this will comprise 129 appearances in 49 different towns throughout England, Scotland and Ireland.
- May — Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes first sits (with Sir Cresswell Cresswell as judge in ordinary) following coming into effect of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 making civil divorce without parliamentary approval legally possible.
- 3 May — William Powell Frith's painting The Derby Day is first exhibited at the Royal Academy, attracting crowds.
- 15 May — New Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, opens.
- 1 July — Papers by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace announcing a theory of evolution by natural selection read at the Linnean Society of London.
- 2 July — The Great Stink: the stench of sewage from the River Thames affects work in the House of Commons.
- 17 July — Salvage of the Lutine bell, which is subsequently hung in Lloyd's of London.
- 26 July — Lionel de Rothschild takes his seat as the first Jewish Member of Parliament.
- 28 July — In Bengal, British official William Herschel uses a hand impression of Rajyadhar Konai as a contract fingerprint signature.
- 2 August — British Empire takes over powers and properties of the British East India Company.
- 3 August — Explorer John Hanning Speke discovers Lake Victoria, source of the River Nile.
- 16 August — US President James Buchanan inaugurates the new trans-Atlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria. However, a weak signal will force a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.
- 26 August — The Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce signed.
- August — Reforming educator Dorothea Beale takes up her duties as Principal of Cheltenham Ladies' College.
- 1 September
- Mirror galvanometer invented by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin.
- The Miners Association established in Cornwall.
- Frederic Farrar's moral schoolboy novel Eric, or, Little by Little.
- Anthony Trollope's novel Doctor Thorne.
- 22 January — Beatrice Webb, socialist, economist and reformer (died 1943)
- 10 March — Henry Watson Fowler, lexicographer (died 1933)
- 23 April — Ethel Smyth, composer and a leader of the women's suffrage movement (died 1944)
- 14 July — Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette (died 1928)
- 15 August — E. Nesbit, author (died 1924)
- 16 September — Bonar Law, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (died 1923)
- 10 June — Robert Brown, botanist (born 1773)
- 3 November — Harriet Taylor Mill, philosopher and women's rights advocate (born 1807)
- 17 November — Robert Owen, founder of the Co-operative Society (born 1771)
- 20 November — Sir Joseph Bailey, 1st Baronet, ironmaster (born 1783)
- 23 November — Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons, admiral (born 1790)
- Farrugia, Jean Young (1969). The Letter Box: a history of Post Office pillar and wall boxes. Fontwell: Centaur Press. ISBN 0-900000-14-7.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "ss Great Eastern". Brunel 200. 2006. Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2011-06-29.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 278–279. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Hobsbaum, Philip (1998) . A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens. Syracuse University Press. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-8156-0475-4. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- "Icons, a portrait of England 1840–1860". Archived from the original on 17 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- Shillito, Elizabeth H. (1930). Dorothea Beale, Principal of the Cheltenham Ladies' College, 1858–1906. London: SPCK. Retrieved 1 February 2011.