Biographical Keynotes

The Life of Charles Dodgson

(27 Jan)
Born in Daresbury, Cheshire.
1843 (Autumn)Moved to Croft, Yorkshire.
1844 (Aug)Attended Richmond School.
1845 (Nov)Left Richmond School.
1846 (Jan)Attended Rugby School.
1849 (Dec)Left Rugby School.
1850 (May)Matriculated at Oxford University (Christ Church).
(24 Jan)
(26 Jan)
Took up residence in Oxford. Mother died.
1854 (Dec)Awarded B.A. (First Class Honours in Mathematics)
1855Became Sub-librarian at Christ Church (until 1857). Became a Master of the House. (Oct 15). Appointed Mathematical Lecturer (until 1881).
1856 (Feb)Edmund Yates, editor of The Train, helped Dodgson select his now famous pseudonym.
1856 (Mar)With the help of Reginald Southey, Dodgson acquires his first camera
1857Admitted as M.A. of the University.
1858Became Senior Student
(22 Dec) 
Ordained Deacon
(4 July)
Went on a rowing trip on the river Isis at Oxford, with friend Robinson Duckworth and the three daughters of the Dean of Christ Church (Lorina, Alice and Edith Liddell). During this trip he told the tale which later evolved into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
1865Alice's Adventures in Wonderland published, illustrated by John Tenniel. For full details visit the page on the Publishing History of Alice.
1867Went on a tour to Russia with Henry Liddon.
1868Father died. Acquired the lease on The Chestnuts in Guildford, Surrey for the family.
1871Through the Looking-Glass is published as a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
1877Spent the Summer vacation in Eastbourne for the first time, and returned there every Summer until his death.
1880Gives up photography (last photograph believed to have been taken in July)
1881Resigned his mathematical lectureship to devote more time to other publishing projects
1882Appointed Curator of Common Room (until 1892).
(14 Jan)
Died at Guildford. Buried at The Mount Cemetery, Guildford.

Glossary and Notes

Common Room

Common Room was a ‘club’ for graduates (with degree of M.A.) at Christ Church. The Curator (an honorary position) was responsible for the day-to-day running of Common Room.

Daresbury (Carroll's Birthplace)

The parsonage at Daresbury, Cheshire in the north of England, where Lewis Carroll was born no longer stands.

The site on which the house originally stood is now managed by the National Trust, and has the foundations of the house marked out.

Liddon, Henry Parry(1829-1890)

Student of Christ Church, renowned for his eloquent preaching.

Went on a tour to Russia with Dodgson 1867.

Later Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral.


Prospective undergraduates were required to sit an examination. Those who met the required standard were then enrolled into the University in a matriculation ceremony


Prior to 1858, Christ Church had 101 Students in receipt of a small stipend. 40 were undergraduates (the equivalent of Scholars); the remainder were postgraduates. No new Students were appointed under the terms of the 'Old Foundation' after 1858 and their numbers gradually dwindled. However, the system, revised by Liddell, remained for Junior Students (the equivalent of undergraduate scholarships).

Senior Student

In 1858, the eight Students who had become college Tutors/Lecturers were appointed Senior Students – the equivalent of fellows at other colleges. As Mathematical Lecturer, Dodgson automatically became a Senior Student. Subsequent Senior Students were elected through open competition.

Reginald Southey (1835-1899)

Student at Christ Church - studied science and medicine. Became doctor in skin diseases at St. Bartholomew’s, London. Fellow-photographer with Dodgson including skeletons in the Christ Church collection and the Liddell, Cameron and Tennyson children.

Further Reading

Click Here for our Reading Lists