- 5 January – Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, begins removal of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens, where they are at risk of destruction during the Ottoman occupation of Greece; the first shipment departs Piraeus on board Elgin's ship, the Mentor, "with many boxes of moulds and sculptures", including three marble torsos from the Parthenon.
- February – The Rosetta Stone is brought to England by Colonel Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner, who arrives at Portsmouth on the captured French frigate L'Egyptiane. On 11 March it is presented to the Society of Antiquaries of London, which in turn presents it to the British Museum.
- 27 March – Treaty of Amiens between France and United Kingdom ends the War of the Second Coalition.
- 15 April – William and his sister Dorothy Wordsworth, walking by Ullswater, see a host of daffodils which inspire his best-known poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, first written two years later.
- 19 April – Joseph Grimaldi first presents his white-faced clown character "Joey", at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London.
- May – Marie Tussaud first exhibits her wax sculptures in London, having been commissioned during the Reign of Terror in France to make death masks of the victims.
- 6 May – William Herschel coins the term asteroid and on 1 July first uses the term binary star to refer to a star which revolves around another.
- June – the first account of Thomas Wedgwood's experiments in photography using silver nitrate is published by Humphry Davy in the Journal of the Royal Institution in London. Since a fixative for the image has not yet been devised, the early photographs quickly fade.
- 5 July – André-Jacques Garnerin and Edward Hawke Locker make a 17-mile (27.4-km) balloon flight from Lord's Cricket Ground in St John's Wood, London, to Chingford in just over 15 minutes.
- 5 July – 28 August – General election brings victory for the Tories led by Henry Addington.
- 31 July – William Wordsworth, leaving London for Dover and Calais with Dorothy, witnesses the early morning scene which he captures in his sonnet "Composed upon Westminster Bridge".
- 27 August – West India Docks, first commercial docks in London, open.
- 5 November – Marc Isambard Brunel begins installation of his blockmaking machinery at Portsmouth Block Mills.
- 13 November – the first play to be explicitly called a melodrama ("melodrame") is performed in London, Thomas Holcroft's Gothic A Tale of Mystery (an unacknowledged translation of de Pixerécourt's Cœlina, ou, l'enfant du mystère) at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden.
- 16 November
- Arrest in London of ringleaders of the Despard Plot: a failed conspiracy by revolutionaries led by Colonel Edward Despard, a radical Anglo-Irish former British Army officer and colonial official, apparently intended to assassinate King George III and seize key positions such as the Bank of England and Tower of London as a prelude to a wider uprising.
- The newly elected House of Lords is inaugurated by King George III, who tells the members, "In my intercourse with foreign powers, I have been actuated by a sincere disposition of the maintenance of peace," but adds that "My conduct will be invariably regulated by a due consideration of the actual situation of Europe, and by a watchful solicitude for the permanent welfare of my people."
- 23 November – East Indiaman Vryheid, in the service of the Batavian Republic, is shipwrecked in a gale off Hythe, Kent; only 18 of 472 on board survive.
- 2 December – the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act (2 June) comes into effect, regulating conditions for child labour in factories. Although poorly enforced, it pioneers a series of Factory Acts.
- Anglo-Spanish War, 1796–1808
- London Fever Hospital founded.
- Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, admits its first intake.
- Solomon Hirschell elected rabbi of the Great Synagogue of London, becoming recognised as chief rabbi of the United Kingdom.
- George Bodley of Exeter patents the first enclosed kitchen stove.
- Goodwood Racecourse laid out.
- 3 January – Charles Pelham Villiers, politician (died 1898)
- 6 February – Charles Wheatstone, scientist and inventor (died 1875)
- 7 March – Edwin Landseer, animal painter (died 1873)
- 12 June – Harriet Martineau, social theorist and writer (died 1876)
- 10 July – Robert Chambers, Scottish author and publisher (died 1871)
- 28 July – Winthrop Mackworth Praed, poet (died 1839)
- 14 August – Letitia Elizabeth Landon, poet and novelist (died 1838)
- 23 December – Sara Coleridge, scholar (died 1852)
- 10 October – Hugh Miller, Scottish geologist (suicide 1856)
- 2 February – Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip, statesman (born 1713)
- 21 January – John Moore, Scottish-born physician and writer (born 1729)
- 28 January – Joseph Wall, army officer, colonial governor and murderer (born 1737)
- 2 February – Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip, statesman (born 1713)
- 18 April – Erasmus Darwin, physician and botanist (born 1731)
- 31 October – Sir William Parker, 1st Baronet, of Harburn, admiral (born 1743)
- 9 November – Thomas Girtin, watercolourist (born 1775)
- 15 November – George Romney, portrait painter (born 1734)
- 5 December – Lemuel Francis Abbott, portrait painter (born 1716)
- Hitchens, Christopher (2016). The Parthenon Marbles: The Case for Reunification. London: Verso Books.
- Lindsay, Ivan (2014). The History of Loot and Stolen Art: from Antiquity until the Present Day. Andrews UK Ltd.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 354. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- "Dorothy and the daffodils". Wordsworth Trust. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- Uglow, Jenny (1 November 2009). "The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew McConnell". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- Herschel, William (6 May 1802). "Observations on the two lately discovered celestial Bodies". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 92: 213–232. doi:10.1098/rstl.1802.0010. JSTOR 107120.
- Hilton, James L. (17 September 2001). "When Did the Asteroids Become Minor Planets?". Archived from the original on 25 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2006.
- Herschel, William (1802). "Catalogue of 500 New Nebulae, Nebulous Stars, Planetary Nebulae, and Clusters of Stars; With Remarks on the Construction of the Heavens" (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 92: 477–528 . Bibcode:1802RSPT...92..477H. doi:10.1098/rstl.1802.0021. JSTOR 107131.
- "An Account of a method of copying Painting upon Glass and making profiles, by the agency of Light upon Nitrate of Silver." Invented by T. Wedgwood, Esq. with Observations by H. Davy.
- Hirsch, Robert (2017). Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography. Taylor & Francis.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 238–239. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Bagust, Harold (2006). The Greater Genius? – a biography of Marc Isambard Brunel. Hersham: Ian Allan. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7110-3175-3.
- "Show me the horrid tenant of thy heart". THEA. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- Conner, Clifford D. (2000). Colonel Despard: The Life and Times of an Anglo-Irish Rebel. Combined Publishing.
- Jay, Mike (2004). The Unfortunate Colonel Despard. Bantam Press. ISBN 0593051955.
- Belsham, William (1805). History of Great Britain: From the Revolution, 1688, to the Conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens, 1802. Vol. 12. Phillips. p. 485.
- Rubinstein, Hilary L. (2004). "Hirschell , Solomon (1762–1842)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13363. Retrieved 9 December 2011. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Cornforth, David; Speight, Anne (3 May 2009). "Bodley & Co". Exeter Memories. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
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