|Covid-19|Monarch — Victoria
Prime Minister — The Viscount Palmerston (Liberal)
1 January — First steam-powered merry-go-round recorded, in Bolton.
15 February — About 350 convicts held on St Mary's Island at Chatham Dockyard take over their prison in a riot.
20 February — Storms damage the Crystal Palace in London and cause the collapse of the steeple of Chichester Cathedral.
21 to 26 March — Major fire in Southwark destroys several buildings.
30 March — William Crookes announces his discovery of thallium.
7 April — United Kingdom Census. The population is more than double that of 1801.
12 April — American Civil War breaks out, leading to Lancashire Cotton Famine (1861–1865).
13 May — British government resolves to remain neutral in the American Civil War.
17 May — Thomas Cook runs the first package holiday from London to Paris.
31 July — Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act codifies company law.
6 August — Criminal law consolidation Acts (drafted by Charles Sprengel Greaves) granted Royal Assent, generally coming into effect on 1 November. The death penalty is limited to murder, embezzlement, piracy, high treason and to acts of arson perpetrated upon docks or ammunition depots; the age of consent is codified as twelve. The Home Secretary takes over the power to reprieve or commute sentences from the judiciary and Privy Council.Accessories and Abettors Act, codifying the law on accessories and abettors.
Coinage Offences Act, codifying the law on counterfeiting of coins.
Criminal Statutes Repeal Act.
Forgery Act, codifying the law on forgery.
Larceny Act, codifying the law on larceny and related offences.
Malicious Damage Act, codifying the law on criminal damage.
Offences against the Person Act, codifying the law on violent offence against the person.
27 August — Last execution in Britain for attempted murder — Martin Doyle in Chester.
16 September — Post Office Savings Bank opens.
24 October — HMS Warrior, the world's first ocean-going (all) iron-hulled armored battleship is completed and commissioned.
8 November — Trent Affair: Union captained ship USS San Jacinto intercepts the British mail packet Trent at sea and removes two Confederate diplomats.
25 November — A tenement collapses in the Old Town, Edinburgh, killing 35 with 15 survivors.
1 December — Trent Affair: British government dispatches its response, partly drafted by The Prince Consort.
James Clerk Maxwell demonstrates the principle of three-colour photography (see picture).
British Empire establishes bases in Lagos to stop the slave trade.
Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship signed between Bahrain and the U.K.
Construction commences on Royal Museum in Edinburgh.
Crimean War Memorial unveiled in London, including sculptures of Other Ranks.
William Morris founds the influential furnishing company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co.
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.
Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations complete in book form.
George Eliot's novel Silas Marner.
F. T. Palgrave's anthology Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics, 1st edition.
Charles Reade's novel The Cloister and the Hearth.
Anthony Trollope's novels Framley Parsonage (book form) and Orley Farm (serialisation begins).
Mrs Henry Wood's 'sensation novel' East Lynne.
The anthology Hymns Ancient and Modern. This includes the setting "Eventide" by the music editor William Henry Monk for the hymn Abide with Me.
15 February — Halford Mackinder, geographer (died 1947)
12 June — William Attewell, cricketer (died 1927)
19 June — Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, soldier (died 1928)
20 June — Frederick Hopkins, biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (died 1947)
23 September — Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, poet and novelist (died 1907)
16 October — J. B. Bury, historian (died 1927)
29 January — Catherine Gore, novelist and dramatist (born 1799)
16 March — Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent and mother of Queen Victoria (born 1786, Germany)
29 June — Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet (born 1806)
21 October - Edward Dickinson Baker, United States Senator from Oregon from 1860 till 1861. (born 1811)
14 December — Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria (born 1819)
1861 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia
Events from the year 1861 in the United Kingdom.