The first railway between British cities is up and running. And the railway boom is on its way. Horses are so over.
The whole voting process got shaken up with the First Reform Act. Okay, so this mainly only meant that more middle-class men could vote, but, hey, it was a first step.
Dickens starts serializing his first novel, and everyone is hooked: where will the Pickwick Club go next?
Queen Victoria takes the throne, and will reign for 64 years. Luckily, her name works well as an adjective.
Working-class men unite to demand more rights, including the vote and secret ballot. Because that First Reform Act kind of totally ignored them…
Fox Talbot presents his new process for taking photographs—forever changing the way we react to memorable experiences. Should I enjoy the view and remember it forever? No, let's take a picture.
Mudie starts lending books in 1842, and the business grows so big that authors start writing with Mudie's in mind. So if you hate three-decker, family-friendly novels, this is the guy to give the stink eye to.
Samuel Morse improves the telegraph, gets a patent, and sends his first telegram. Now if only we knew Morse code so we could decipher it.
Think county fair, but for a whole empire. Instead of baked goods and flower arrangements, the Great Exhibition showcased the best in art and mechanical inventions. And instead of holding it in a barn, the Victorians kept it classy with a specially built Crystal Palace. (Boy, did Dostoevsky have a lot to say about that Crystal Palace.)
Britain and France unite (for once) in war against a common enemy—the Russians.
The Act establishes a divorce court—and hundreds of petitions start rolling in.
Darwin publishes his theory of evolution. Cue heated debates.
George Eliot publishes her first novel, and as usual, she doesn't shy away from controversy (female preachers and child abandonment for the win).
Yet more reforms, this time based on the radical idea that having money doesn't necessarily make you better at making decisions. In other words: working men can now vote.
The first in a series of Acts that gave married women more control over their property. And yet civilized society does not collapse.
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone—and it only takes us another hundred years to invent the cell phone.
After much fighting, the British convert the Boers' land into a colony—a state that will only last until 1931.