|Covid-19|Monarch – Victoria
Prime Minister – The Viscount Palmerston (Liberal)
January — The song Glan Rhondda which will become the national anthem of Wales, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Fathers), is composed by James James with lyrics by his father Evan James, both residents of Pontypridd.
29 January — Queen Victoria institutes the Victoria Cross.
4 February — The sailing ship Grand Duke is wrecked off St. Govan's Head in Pembrokeshire with the loss of 29 lives.
5 March — Fire destroys Covent Garden Theatre in London.
15 March — The Boat Race 1856, first of the annual series rowed between Cambridge and Oxford University Boat Clubs on the River Thames in London; Cambridge wins.
31 March — The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Crimean War.
19 April — The iron-hulled paddle steamer RMS Persia (launched on the Clyde, 1855) sets out from Liverpool on a 9-day, 16-hour transatlantic crossing at an average 13.11 knots (24.28 km/h) to regain the Blue Riband for the Cunard Line.
9 July — Natal becomes a Crown Colony.
13 July — An underground explosion at Cymmer Colliery in the Rhondda kills 114.
3 September — The Royal British Bank collapses with debts in excess of £500,000.
22 September — Robert Mushet patents improvements to the Bessemer process for the production of steel.
The Second Opium War between several western powers, including the United Kingdom, and China begins with the Arrow Incident on the Pearl River.
Free Trade Hall inaugurated in Manchester.
1 November — Anglo-Persian War: War is declared between Britain and Persia in response to a Persian invasion of Afghanistan with the objective of capturing Herat.
November — The first known rules of modern croquet are registered by Isaac Spratt in London.
1 December — Under the County and Borough Police Act, in any county or area where a police force has not already been established, the Justices of the Peace must from this date take steps to create one according to nationally defined standards.
2 December — National Portrait Gallery, London, formally established.
9 December — Bushehr surrenders to the British.
Edward Stanley Gibbons begins the sale of collectable postage stamps in his father's pharmacy in Plymouth, origin of the firm of Stanley Gibbons.
Mrs Craik's novel John Halifax, Gentleman.
James Anthony Froude's History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth, begins publication.
Charles Reade's novel It is Never too Late to Mend.
W. H. Smith's pamphlet Was Lord Bacon the Author of Shakespeare's Plays?, the start of Baconian theory.
4 March — Alfred William Rich, watercolour painter and author (died 1921)
8 March — Bramwell Booth, Salvation Army General (died 1929)
12 April — William Martin Conway, art critic and mountaineer (died 1937)
22 June — Henry Rider Haggard, writer (died 1925)
26 July — George Bernard Shaw, playwright (died 1950)
10 August — William Willett, promoter of daylight saving time (died 1915)
15 August - Kier Hardie, former Member of parliament and founder of the Independent Labour Party (died 1915)
18 December — J.J. Thomson, physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (died 1940)
25 December — Samuel William Knaggs, civil servant in the West Indies (died 1924)
17 February — John Braham, opera singer (born 1777)
25 February — George Don, botanist (born 1797)
29 August — Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, Christian writer (born 1778)
Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, writer (born 1811)
John Ross, Arctic explorer (born 1777)
1856 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Events from the year 1856 in the United Kingdom.