1885 in the United Kingdom
|1885 in the United Kingdom|
|1883 | 1884 | 1885 | 1886 | 1887|
|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
- Monarch – Victoria
- Prime Minister – William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) (until 9 June); Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (Conservative) (starting 23 June)
- Parliament – 22nd (until 18 November)
- January – Socialist League formed as a breakaway from the Social Democratic Federation by William Morris, Eleanor Marx and others.
- 17 January – Mahdist War: British victory at the Battle of Abu Klea.
- 24 January
- 26 January – Mahdist War: in Sudan, following the Siege of Khartoum, British and Egyptian forces are defeated by the Mahdist Sudanese. The British commander Charles George Gordon is killed.
- 23 February – the executioner at HM Prison Exeter fails after several attempts to hang John 'Babbacombe' Lee, sentenced for the murder of his employer Emma Keyse; Lee's sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.
- 26 February – the Berlin Conference concludes with the major European powers including the United Kingdom establishing their spheres of influence in the "scramble for Africa".
- 14 March – Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado opens at the Savoy Theatre in London.
- 26 March – first legal cremation in England: Mrs Jeanette Pickersgill of London, "well known in literary and scientific circles", is cremated by the Cremation Society at Woking Crematorium in Surrey.
- 31 March – the United Kingdom establishes a protectorate over Bechuanaland.
- 29 April – women are permitted to take the University of Oxford entrance examination for the first time.
- 5 June – Niger River basin becomes a British protectorate.
- 9 June – William Ewart Gladstone's Liberal government is defeated in a vote of no confidence following criticism of the fall of Khartoum and violence in Ireland. Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury forms a new Conservative government.
- 18 June – Clifton Hall Colliery disaster: an explosion kills 178 in Salford.
- 24 June – Lord Randolph Churchill becomes Secretary of State for India.
- 6–9 July – Eliza Armstrong case: Campaigning journalist W. T. Stead publishes a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon exposing the extent of female child prostitution in London.
- 20 July – professional football is legalised.
- 22 July – Caister Lifeboat capsizes: 8 of 15 crew are killed.
- 7 August – Criminal Law Amendment Act passes through Parliament, raising the age of consent from 13 to 16, and thereby outlawing child prostitution. The Labouchere Amendment to the Act outlaws "gross indecency" between males.
- 12 September
- 29 September – opening of the Blackpool tramway, the first to be electrically powered.
- 30 September – a British force abolishes the Boer republic of Stellaland and adds it to British Bechuanaland.
- October – Third Burmese War begins.
- 3 October – Millwall F.C. is founded by workers on the Isle of Dogs in London as Millwall Rovers.
- 23 November – general election. Liberals under Gladstone hold the largest number of seats, but Salisbury remains Prime Minister with the support of the Irish Party.
- 28 November – British occupy Mandalay; Burma annexed to British India.
- early – John Kemp Starley of Coventry demonstrates the first Rover safety bicycle, the first practical example of the modern bicycle.
- The first modern pedestal flush toilet is demonstrated by Frederick Humpherson of the Beaufort Works, Chelsea.
- Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association established to provide charitable assistance.
- Soap manufacturer Lever Brothers founded.
- Completion of Sway Tower in Hampshire, England, designed by Andrew Peterson using concrete made with Portland cement. It remains the world's tallest non-reinforced concrete structure.
- John Everett Millais granted a baronetcy, the first artist to be honoured with a hereditary title.
- "Glasgow Boys" painters first exhibit collectively, at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.
- Stanhope Forbes' Newlyn School painting A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach.
- Richard Francis Burton's The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments
- Dictionary of National Biography begins publication under the editorship of Leslie Stephen.
- A. V. Dicey's text An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.
- H. Rider Haggard's novel King Solomon's Mines.
- George Meredith's novel Diana of the Crossways.
- Daniel Owen's long novel Hunangofiant Rhys Lewis, Gweinidog Bethel, the first written in Welsh.
- Walter Pater's novel Marius the Epicurean.
- Old Testament in the Revised Version of The Bible.
- The magazine The Lady is first published.
- 25 January – William Wand, Bishop of London (died 1977)
- 15 February – Princess Alice of Battenberg (died 1969)
- 7 March – John Tovey, admiral of the fleet (died 1971)
- 11 March – Malcolm Campbell, land and water racer (died 1948)
- 9 June – John Edensor Littlewood, mathematician (died 1977)
- 18 August – A. E. J. Collins, cricketer and soldier (died 1914)
- 11 September – D. H. Lawrence, English author (died 1930)
- 26 January – Charles "Chinese" Gordon, general (killed in battle) (born 1833)
- 8 April – Susanna Moodie, author (born 1803)
- 5 June – Julius Benedict, English composer (born 1804)
- 8 August – Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax, politician (born 1800)
- 1 October – Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, politician and philanthropist (born 1801)
- 26 November – Thomas Andrews, chemist (born 1813)
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 310–311. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. pp. 438–440. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- The Hutchinson Factfinder. Helicon. 1999. ISBN 1-85986-000-1.
- "Cremation". The Times (31405). 27 March 1885. p. 10.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "Icons of Invention: Rover safety bicycle, 1885". Making the Modern World. Science Museum (London). Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- Eveleigh, David J. (2008). Privies and Water Closets. Oxford: Shire Publications. ISBN 978-0-7478-0702-5.
- James, J. (1997). All about Sway Tower. Lymington: Lymington Museum Trust.
- Trout, Edwin (October 2002). "Sway Tower: an early example of high-rise concrete construction". Concrete: 64–5.
- Marlowe, Michael D. "English Revised Version (1881–1895)". Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-15.