Ellen Ternan

Born Mar 3, 1839
Died Apr 25, 1914

Ellen Ternan is sometimes confused with her near contemporary, the Shakespearean actress Ellen Terry, whose career was more distinguished, but who did not have an affair with Dickens. Ellen Lawless Ternan, also known as Nelly Ternan or Nelly Robinson, was an English actress who is mainly known as the mistress of Charles Dickens.… Read More

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1839 Birth Born in 1839.
1846 7 Years Old Ternan was considered the least theatrically gifted of the three sisters, but she worked extensively in the provinces, particularly after her father died in 1846.


1857 18 Years Old In 1857, she was spotted by Dickens performing at London's Haymarket Theatre. … Read More
1858 19 Years Old Matters came to a head in 1858 when Catherine Dickens opened a packet delivered by a London jeweller which contained a gold bracelet meant for Ternan with a note written by her husband. The Dickenses separated that May 1858 after 22 years of marriage.


1860 21 Years Old Ternan left the stage in 1860, and was supported by Dickens from then on.
1865 26 Years Old She sometimes travelled with him, and Dickens was travelling with Ternan and her mother back from a visit to France when they were both involved in the Staplehurst rail crash on 9 June 1865.
1867 28 Years Old He abandoned a plan to take her on his visit to America in 1867 for fear that their relationship would be publicised by the American press. … Read More


1870 31 Years Old Dickens left a legacy of £1,000 to Ternan in his will on his death in 1870, and sufficient income from a trust fund to ensure that she would never have to work again.
1876 37 Years Old In 1876, six years after Dickens' death, Ternan married George Wharton Robinson, an Oxford graduate, who was twelve years her junior. … Read More


1910 71 Years Old Ternan's husband died in 1910, and she spent her last years in Southsea with her sister Frances. … Read More
1914 75 Years Old Died in 1914.
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