Book - 1885
Good condition set of four.
17 January — Mahdist War: British victory at the Battle of Abu Klea.
24 January - Irish terrorists damage Westminster Hall and the Tower of London with dynamite.
24 January - Edge Hill College opens in Liverpool.
26 January — Mahdist War: In Sudan, following the Siege of Khartoum, British and Egyptian forces are defeated by the Mahdist Sudanese. The British commander Charles George Gordon is killed.
23 February — The executioner at HM Prison Exeter fails after several attempts to hang John 'Babbacombe' Lee, sentenced for the murder of his employer Emma Keyse; Lee's sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.
26 February — The Berlin Conference concludes with the major European powers including the United Kingdom establishing their spheres of influence in the "scramble for Africa".
14 March — Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Mikado opens at the Savoy Theatre in London.
26 March — First legal cremation in England: Mrs Jeanette Pickersgill of London, "well known in literary and scientific circles", is cremated by the Cremation Society at Woking, Surrey.
31 March — The United Kingdom establishes a protectorate over Bechuanaland.
29 April — Women permitted to the take the University of Oxford entrance examination for the first time.
5 June — Niger River basin becomes a British protectorate.
9 June — William Ewart Gladstone's Liberal government is defeated in a vote of no confidence following criticism of the fall of Khartoum and violence in Ireland. Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury forms a new Conservative government.
18 June — Clifton Hall Colliery Disaster: an explosion kills 178 in Salford.
24 June — Lord Randolph Churchill becomes Secretary of State for India.
6–9 July — Eliza Armstrong case: Campaigning journalist W. T. Stead publishes a series of articles in the Pall Mall Gazette entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon exposing the extent of female child prostitution in London.
20 July — Professional football is legalised.
22 July — Caister Lifeboat capsizes: 8 of 15 crew are killed.
7 August — Criminal Law Amendment Act passes through Parliament raising the age of consent from 13 to 16, and thereby outlawing child prostitution. The Labouchere Amendment to the Act outlaws "gross indecency" between males.
12 September - Bury F.C., formed in a meeting between the Bury Wesleyans and Bury Unitarians Football Clubs, play at Gigg Lane for the first time, beating a Wigan team 4–3.
12 September - Arbroath 36–0 Bon Accord, the all-time largest margin of victory in professional football.
29 September — Opening of the Blackpool tramway, the first to be electrically powered.
30 September — A British force abolishes the Boer republic of Stellaland and adds it to British Bechuanaland. October — Third Burmese War begins.
3 October — Millwall F.C. is founded by workers on the Isle of Dogs in London as Millwall Rovers.
23 November — General election. Liberals under Gladstone hold the largest number of seats, but Salisbury remains Prime Minister with the support of the Irish Party.
28 November — British occupy Mandalay; Burma annexed to British India.