Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Prime Minister 1886 – 1892

  • 17 March – British steamship SS Utopia sinks at Gibraltar after collision with the HMS Anson, killing 564.
  • 01 April – The London–Paris telephone system opened to the general public.
  • 05 April – United Kingdom Census.
  • 01 June –  Trial instigated by Sir William Gordon-Cumming's law suit begins, high point of Royal baccarat scandal.
  • 25 June – the character of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) appears in the Strand Magazine for the first time.
  • 30 July – The Springboks rugby union team play first international test match against the British Lions and win by 4-0.
  • 14 September – The first penalty kick is awarded in a football match; John Heath scores for Wolverhampton Wanderers.
  • 22 December – Asteroid 323 Brucia becomes the first asteroid discovered using photography.

And also...

  • February – The driest month on record up to this date.
  • March (09–12) – The Great Blizzard of 1891 in the south and west of England.
  • April - Flu epidemic starts, eventually spreading to Huddersfield.
  • May – Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claims to be the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi awaited in Islam.
  • October – Gladstone launches his Newcastle Programme.
  • Unknown – The Clarion, founded by Robert Blatchford and  Alexander M. Thompson, publishes its first issue.
  • Unknown – New Scotland Yard becomes the HQ of the London Metropolitan Police.
  • Unknown – Tobacco Protest in Iran.
  • Unknown – Nikola Tesla invents the Tesla coil.


  • Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles.
  • William Morris, News from Nowhere.
  • Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.


  • 'We have had two parties in the past, the can'ts and the won'ts, and it is time we had a party that will' Charlie Glyde