Historical events from 1 January 1950 to 31 December 1969
(+9999) = Day count from end of World War Two in Europe
18/12/1969. Thursday (+8,990) The death penalty for murder was formally abolished in Britain.
15/12/1969. Monday (+8,987) (1) Dubcek was made Czechoslovak Ambassador to Turkey. He was expelled from the Czech Communist party on 26/6/1970.
(2) Swansea received City Status.
10/12/1969, Wednesday (+8,982) A Nobel Prize was added for Economics.
6/12/1969. Saturday (+8,978) A free concert given by the Rolling Stones, at Altamont, California, ended in tragedy when Hell’s Angels stabbed a man to death.
25/11/1969, Tuesday (+8,967) John Lennon returned his MBE to Buckingham Palace, in protest at British involvement in the Biafra civil war in Nigeria.
19/11/1969. Wednesday (+8,961) Second landing on the Moon. See 20/7/1969.
15/11/1969. Saturday (+8,957) (1) The first colour TV advert went on British television – for Birds Eye peas.
(2) Huge anti Vietnam War demonstration in Washington.
14/11/1969. Friday (+8,956) (1) Ghaddaffi nationalised all foreign banks in Libya.
(2) The US launched Apollo 12, crewed by Charles Conrad, Richard Gordon, and Alan Bean. Conrad and Bean made the 2nd Moon landing.
13/11/1969, Thursday (+8,955) In London, a woman had quintuplets after fertility drug treatment.
11/11/1969, Tuesday (+8,953) The owners of the Torrey Canyon agreed to pay £1.5 million compensation to Britain and France.
5/11/1969, Wednesday (+8,947) Anti-Apartheid demonstrators invaded the pitch at Twickenham, during a game by the touring South African Springboks.
29/10/1959, Wednesday (+8,940) King Sisavang Vong of Laos died, aged 74, after a reign over 50 years. He was succeeded by his son, King Savang.
21/10/1969. Tuesday (+8,932) Willy Brandt was elected Chancellor of West Germany.
15/10/1969, Wednesday (+8,926) The biggest anti-Vietnam-War demonstration to date took place in America. The war so far had cost the USA the lives of 40,000 servicemen, over 8 years.
14/10/1969. Tuesday (+8,925) The 7-sided 50p coin came into circulation in Britain, replacing the 10-shilling note.
10/10/1969, Friday (+8,921) (1) The Hunt Commission on Northern Ireland recommended disarming the police and disbanding the ‘B Specials’.
(2) Concorde 001 broke the sound barrier for the first time during a test flight over Paris.
6/10/1969, Monday (+8,917) The Wymondham to Dereham railway closed.
1/10/1969, Wednesday (+8,912) The first line of the Beijing Metro, 24 km long, opened. Construction had been approved in 1965.
28/9/1969, Sunday (+8,909) Police in Belfast erected a ‘peace wall’ between Protestant and Catholic communities.
25/9/1969, Thursday (+8,906) Heavy rains began in Tunisia. Flooding killed 700 and left 200,000 homeless.
16/9/1969. Tuesday (+8,897) President Nixon announced the withdrawal of a further 36,000 troops from Vietnam by mid-December.
12/9/1969. Friday (+8,893) President Nixon continued B52 bombing raids on Vietnam.
3/9/1969. Wednesday (+8,884) Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, died of a heart attack aged 79.
2/9/1969. Tuesday (+8,883) ITV began broadcasting in colour.
1/9/1969. Monday (+8,882) (1) Portsmouth Polytechnic was established, one of the first under the UK’s 1966 White Paper, A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges.
(2) President Ghaddaffi ousted King Idris of Libya in a military coup.
31/8/1969, Sunday (+8,881) Bob Dylan starred in a pop festival on the Isle of Wight, drawing in 150,000 fans.
29/8/1969. Friday (+8,879) Arab guerrillas hijacked a TWA aircraft en route from Rome to Tel Aviv and forced it to land in Damascus.
19/8/1969, Tuesday (+8,869) The British Army took over security and policing in Northern Ireland.
17/8/1969, Sunday (+8,867) Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect, died.
15/8/1969. Friday (+8,865) The famous American rock festival, Woodstock, began. It was attended by 400,000.
14/8/1969, Thursday (+8,864) British troops moved into Londonderry to stop rioting between Catholics and Protestants. This was known as ‘The Troubles’, and the police were initially welcomed by Catholics, hoping for protection from extremist Protestants. However the Catholics were to come to see the police themselves as oppressors.
10/8/1969, Sunday (+8,860)
9/8/1969. Saturday (+8,859) The Royal Ulster Constabulary used tear gas for the first time in its history. Thus followed nine hours of rioting by the Roman Catholics in Bogside, Londonderry. Eighty police were injured in these riots.
8/8/1969, Friday (+8,858) The French Franc was devalued by 11.1%, and Sterling came under pressure.
4/8/1969, Monday (+8,854)
1/8/1969. Friday (+8,851) The British pre-decimal halfpenny ceased to be legal tender.
24/7/1969, Thursday (+8,843) The Apollo 11 astronauts returned successfully to earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.
23/7/1969. Wednesday (+8,842) The Open University was established at Milton Keynes. See 11/1/1973.
22/7/1969, Tuesday (+8,841) (1) Apollo 11 left the Moon.
(2) Spanish dictator General Franco named Juan Carlos, grandson of King Alfonso XIII, as his heir apparent.
20/7/1969. Sunday (+8,839) Neil Armstrong became the first man on the Moon. He said, as he emerged from the Eagle lunar module, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. The Eagle had separated from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. See 7/10/1968 and 19/11/1969. The mission had launched from Cape Canaveral on 16/7/1969, and the astronauts returned to earth, splashing down in the Pacific, on 24/7/1969.
18/7/1969. Friday (+8,837) Senator Edward Kennedy crashed his car into the Chappaquidick River on the east coast of the USA. Kennedy escaped but his companion Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. Kennedy didn’t report the incident for ten hours and was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident.
16/7/1969, Wednesday (+8,835) The US launched Apollo 11, crewed by Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins.
5/7/1969, Saturday (+8,824) (1) Tom Mboya, leader of the campaign for Kenyan independence from Britain, was assassinated in Nairobi.
(2) Sir Walter Gropius, architect, founder of the Bauhaus school of design, died.
4//7/1969. Friday (+8,823) Franco offered Gibraltarians Spanish citizenship.
3/7/1969, Thursday (+8,822)
1/7/1969. Tuesday (+8,820) Prince Charles was formally invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. This event was watched by a TV audience of some 200 million worldwide. The Daily Mail cost 5d (2p).
30/6/1969, Monday (+8,819) (1) Spain returned the enclave of Ifni to Morocco; however the towns of Ceuta and Melilla were retained.
(2) The Nigerian Government seized control of all relief for Biafra.
29/6/1969, Sunday (+8,818) Tshombe died of a heart attack, in an Algerian prison.
24/6/1969. Tuesday (+8,813) The 20 year old Prince Charles tackled the ‘awfully difficult’ question of his future marriage. ‘You have to chose somebody very carefully, I think’ said the Prince.
20/6/1969, Friday (+8,809) High-grade oil was discovered in the North Sea.
17/6/1969, Tuesday (+8,806) Boris Spassky became world chess champion when he beat Tigran Petrosian.
16/6/1969, Monday(+8,805) Earl Alexander of Tunis, British military commander who led the invasion of Italy in WW2, died.
15/6/1969, Sunday (+8,804) Pompidou became President of France, see 28/4/1969.
14/6/1969, Saturday (+8,803) Steffi Graf, tennis champion, was born.
13/6/1969, Friday (+8,802) In the UK, the Divorce Reform Bill received its third reading. It provided for a divorce after 2 years separation with mutual consent, or after five years without this consent.
12/6/1969, Thursday (+8,801) Alexander Deyneka: Ukrainian artist (born 1899), died.
11/6/1969, Wednesday (+8,800) John Llewellyn Lewis, US Trades Union leader (born 2/12/1880 in Lucas, Iowa), died.
10/6/1969, Tuesday (+8.799) James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years in Memphis, Tennessee, for the murder of Martin Luther King in April 1968.
9/6/1969, Monday (+8,798) Enoch Powell proposed voluntary repatriation of immigrants, causing a storm of protest.
8/6/1969. Sunday (+8,797) President Nixon announced that 25,000 US troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of August.
30/5/1969, Friday (+8,788) Rioting over low wages and unemployment broke out in Curacao. Shops were looted and burnt. From 1955 the oil refineries had begun to replace labour with automation, and began to contract out services such as cleaning and construction, and contractors paid lower wages than the refinery had done.
26/5/1969. Monday (+8,784) John Lennon and Yoko Ono began a ‘bed – in’ at a Montreal hotel in aid of world peace. See 8/12/1980.
25/5/1969, Sunday (+8,783) The Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl set sail with seven crew from the Moroccan port of Safi in a reed boat in order to prove that The ancient Egyptians could have reached America, accounting for the Pyramids in central America. He used 12 tons of papyrus reeds, and traditional boat builders from Chad made the vessel. The boat did not sink, and Heyerdahl completed the voyage; in 1948 he successfully completed a voyage from Polynesia to Peru to prove that Pacific Islanders could have settled South America.
24/5/1969. Saturday (+8,782) The Black and White Minstrel Show at London’s Victoria Palace closed after 4,354 performances over seven years. It was the longest running musical show in Britain.
20/5/1969, Tuesday (+8,778)
18/5/1969, Sunday (+8,776) Apollo 10 was launched, crewed by Thomas Stafford, John Young, and Eugene Cernan.
17/5/1969. Saturday (+8,775) Dubliner Tom McLean completed the first solo transatlantic crossing by rowing boat, from Newfoundland to Ireland.
16/5/1969, Friday (+8,774) The Russian spacecraft Venus 5 touched down on Venus.
12/5/1969. Monday (+8,770) The voting age in Britain was lowered to 18 from 21. See 2/7/1928, 13/3/1970.
5/5/1969, Monday (+8,763) The Rugby to Nottingham (Great Central) railway closed. Kings Lynn to Hunstanton closed.
2/5/1969. Friday (+8,760) The Queen Elizabeth II sailed from Southampton on her maiden voyage.
1/5/1969, Thursday (+8,759) Queen Elizabeth II opened the new Ordnance Survey offices in Southampton.
28/4/1969. Monday (8,756) General De Gaulle, 79 years old, resigned as Prime Minister of France. President Pompidou, who became French President on 15/6/1969, succeeded him. De Gaulle lost a referendum on changes to French regional institutions. De Gaulle was resented for high taxation to pay for the French military, whilst health, education, and social services were neglected, leading to French student riots in spring 1968. De Gaulle retired to Colombey. See 9/11/1970.
22/4/1969. Tuesday (+8,750) IRA bombs hit the main post office and bus station in Belfast.
18/4/1969, Friday (+8,746) Bernadette Devlin became Britain’s youngest MP for nearly 200 years when she was elected for Mid-Ulster, 6 days before her 22nd birthday.
17/4/1969, Thursday (+8,745) Alexander Dubcek was replaced as First Secretary of the Czech Communist Party.
16/4/1969. Wednesday (+8,744) Desmond Dekker became the first Jamaican artist to top the UK charts with The Israelites.
15/4/1969, Tuesday (+8,743) The Woodstock music festival began in Bethel, New York.
9/4/1969, Wednesday (+8,737) (1) Sikh bus drivers in Wolverhampton won the right to wear turbans.
(2) Concord’s first trial flight from Bristol to Fairford. See 21/1/1976. The French Concorde made its first flight on 2/3/1969. The Concorde project had begun in 1962 between the British and French governments to develop a supersonic aircraft. Sceptics doubted that it was possible to build a passenger aircraft with over 100 seats that travelled as fast as a military fighter. However Concorde halved flight times across the Atlantic.
2/4/1969, Wednesday (+8,730) Jim Morrison, of pop group ‘The Doors’ was arrested in the USA.
1/4/1969. Tuesday (+8,729) France formally left NATO.
31/3/1969, Monday (+8,728) An airline pilots strike grounded all BOAC flights.
28/3/1969, Friday (+8,725) Dwight D Eisenhower, American Army Commander and Republican 34th President 1953 to 1961, died in Washington.
25/3/1969, Tuesday (+8,722) Amidst increasing separatist tension in East Pakistan, Ayub resigned, handing power to General Yahya Khan. Khan promised elections for 7/12/1970, and that 162 of the 300 seats in the National Assembly would be reserved for East Bengalis. Given the popularity of the Awami League in East Pakistan, this appeared to invite further problems of governance.
22/3/1969. Saturday (+8,719) Soccer hooligans ran riot on the London Underground, causing thousands of pounds of damage.
20/3/1969. Thursday (+8,717) The Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
19/3/1969. Wednesday (+8,716) British forces landed on the Caribbean island of Anguilla. The rebel government set up self-appointed President Ronald Webster offered no resistance. Many of the 6,000 islanders welcomed the British invasion force, whose arrival had already been announced by the BBC.
18/3/1969, Tuesday (+8,715) The US began heavily bombing Cambodia, the aim being to cut the Ho Chi Minh trail and thereby disrupt supplies to the Communist Vietcong. The operation was not publicised to the West, because that would have revealed Sihanouk’s complicity in the bombing of his own country. Sihanouk was pro-US because he perceived Pol Pot to be allied to Hanoi. In fact the bombing destabilised Cambodia so that within a year Sihanouk was deposed by his own ministers. The new Cambodian leader, Lon Nol, insisted that all Vietnamese troops leave Cambodian soil to the delight of the US. However Lon Nol was weak and his rule facilitated the advance of Pol Pot’s forces into rural areas, forcing Lon Nol’s troops back into the cities.
15/3/1969, Saturday (+8,712)
12/3/1969, Wednesday (+8,709) Beatle Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at Marylebone Registry Office, London.
11/3/1969. Tuesday (+8,708) (1) Golda Meir, aged 70, became Prime Minister of Israel after the death of Levi Eshkol. Mrs Meir remained Prime Minister until her resignation in 1974.
(2) The author John Wyndham died.
10/3/1969, Monday (+8,707) James Ray Earl pleaded guilty to the murder of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
7/3/1969, Friday (+8,704) London’s Victoria Line opened, from Warren Street to Victoria, see 3/11/1968.
5/3/1969. Wednesday (+8,702) The gangland twins Ronald and Roger Kray, 35, were found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey and given life sentences. The judge said they should not be released for 30 years.
3/3/1969, Monday (+8,700) (1) Apollo 9 was launched, manned by James McDivitt, David Scott, and Russell Schweickart.
(2) The Richmond (Yorkshire) branch closed. Kilmarnock to Troon via Gatehead closed.
2/3/1969. Sunday (+8,699) (1) The French built Concorde made its maiden flight from Toulouse Airport. See 9/1/1969. It was piloted by Andre Turcat, chief test pilot of Sud Aviation; he got the plane to 300 mph.
(2) Soviet and Chinese troops clashed on their border.
28/2/1969, Friday (+8,697)
26/2/1969, Wednesday (+8,695) Levi Eshkol, Prime Minister of Israel, died.
25/2/1969, Tuesday (+8,,694) Mariner 6 was launched from Cape Canaveral, to fly by Mars.
24/2/1969, Monday (+8,693) The Uckfield to Lewes railway closed.
22/2/1969. Saturday (+8,691) President Nixon arrived in Britain for talks with Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
On TV a wheelchair bound detective called Ironside battled San Francisco’s crooks. Films on release included 2001: A Space Odyssey.
18/2/1969. Tuesday (+8,687) At Zurich an Israeli aircraft was attacked by four Arabs, injuring 6 passengers; one Arab was killed.
13/2/1969. Thursday (+8,682) Scientists in Cambridge announced the first successful in-vitro fertilisation of a human being.
11/2/1969. Tuesday (+8,680) In the UK, female workers at the Ford car plant won equal pay with male workers.
9/2/1969, Sunday (+8,678) The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet made its maiden flight. See 21/1/1970.
5/2/1969. Wednesday (+8,674) The Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, declared a state of ‘extreme emergency’ at the university campus at Berkeley after violent struggles there between students and police. On BBC1 All Gas and Gaiters was a comedy about a young Church of England priest, Derek Nimmo.
3/2/1969. Monday (+8,672) In Cairo, Yasser Arafat became leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the PLO.
30/1/1969. Thursday (+8,668) The Beatles performed together for the last time.
27/1/1969. Monday (+8,665) In Northern Ireland, the Protestant leader, Ian Paisley was jailed.
23/1/1969, Thursday (+8,661) The British Government rejected proposals to cut penalties for smoking cannabis.
20/1/1969. Monday (+8,658) President Nixon was sworn in as US President.
19/1/1969, Sunday (+8,657) A 21-year-old student, Jan Palach, set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square, Prague, in protest at the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.
6/1/1969, Monday (+8,644) The rail service between Edinburgh and Carlisle via Galashiels, Riccarton Junction, Hawick (Waverley Line) closed. Leuchars to St Andrews closed.
2/1/1969, Thursday (+8,640) A civil rights march from Belfast to London ended in violence.
1/1/1969. Wednesday (+8,639) Sir Learie Constantine became Britain’s first Black peer.
31/12/1968, Tuesday (+8,638) (1) Russia’s TU144 flew, becoming the world’s first supersonic aircraft.
(2) The ‘lion’ ceased to be stamped on British eggs. The practice began on 30/6/1957.
30/12/1968, Monday (+8,637) Trygve Lie, Norwegian ambassador and Secretary-General to the UN, 1946 to 1952, died.
28/12/1968. Saturday (+8,635) Israeli commandos in helicopters raided Beirut Airport, destroying 13 Lebanese aircraft. This was in retaliation for alleged Lebanese toleration of guerrilla raids into northern Israel.
26/12/1968. Thursday (+8,633) Two Arab gunmen, killing one passenger, attacked an Israeli Boeing 707 in Athens.
22/12/1968, Sunday (+8,629) The captain and crew of the Pueblo were released by the North Koreans at Panmunjom.
21/12/1968. Saturday (+8,628) The first flight of a man around the Moon, when Apollo 8 was launched. It was crewed by Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders.
20/12/1968. Friday (+8,627) (1) Franco banished Prince Carlos from Spain.
(2) John Steinbeck, American author who wrote The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, Nobel Prize Winner in 1962, died in New York City.
4/12/1968. Wednesday (+8,611) On TV Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men still entertained children 16 years after their initial appearance. The weak willed pair still lived in fear of the gardener and were mercilessly bullied by Weed.
30/11/1968. Saturday (+8,607) The Trades Descriptions Act came into force.
28/11/1968. Thursday (+8,605) Enid Blyton, creator of Noddy and Big Ears, died. She was born on 11/8/1897 in East Dulwich. In the mid 1930s she began writing her stories, which featured Noddy, the Famous Five, and the Secret Seven.
26/11/1968, Tuesday (+8,603) In Britain the Race Relations Act came into force, banning racial discrimination at work.
15/11/1968. Friday (+8,592) Cunard’s flagship liner the Queen Elizabeth docked at Southampton for the last time. Launched in September 1938, she was used during the War as a troopship based in Sydney, Australia. Her first commercial voyage was from Southampton in 1946. She was replaced by the Queen Elizabeth II.
12/11/1968. Tuesday (+8,589) One thousand people attended the first public meeting of the Greater London Council. Ideas discussed included a monorail down Oxford Street by 1972 and an ‘end to the architecture of totalitarianism’. The Milton Keynes Development Corporation announced that the first blueprint for the new city would be available by February 1969. On TV Z Cars patrolled Merseyside whilst Trumpton kept watch at the Fire Station.
5/11/1968 Tuesday (+8,582) (1) Richard Milhous Nixon, born 9/1/1913, won the 37th Presidency of the USA by a narrow majority. He had stood for election in 1960 but was defeated by John F Kennedy. J F Kennedy was born on 29/5/1917.
(2) The first Black woman was elected to the US House of Representatives.
3/11/1968. Sunday (+8,580) (1) The second section of London’s Victoria Line opened, from Highbury to Warren Street, see 1/9/1968 and 7/3/1969.
(2) Severe storms and floods in northern Italy killed over 100 people.
1/11/1968, Friday (+8,578) Georgios Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, died.
31/10/1968. Thursday (+8,577) President Johnson of the USA ordered a total halt to US bombing of North Vietnam.
27/10/1968, Sunday (+8,573) Violent anti-Vietnam war protests outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London.
16/10/1968, Wednesday (+8,562) (1) In Britain, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices merged.
(2) The Czechoslovak Government signed, under duress, an agreement that Warsaw Pact troops would remain in the country indefinitely.
14/10/1968, Monday (+8,560) The new Euston Station in London was opened by the Queen. Work had begun in 1963.
13/10/1968, Sunday (+8,559) The Chinese Cultural Revolution ended when President Liu was dismissed from his posts in the Party and the Republic. The Cultural Revolution (see 3/9/1965), encouraging a return to basic Maoist principles, but also public criticism of all party members, had been too disruptive to China’s government and economy.
12/10/1968. Saturday (+8,558) (1) Equatorial Guinea became independent.
(2) The 19th Olympic Games opened in Mexico City.
11/10/1968, Friday (+8,557) The USA’s Apollo 7 spacecraft was launched flawlessly by its 700 ton Saturn 1B rocket and began 10 days and 21 hours in space. It was crewed by Walter Schirra, Don Eiselle and Walter Cunningham.
10/10/1968, Thursday (+8,556) Enoch Powell warned that immigration might ‘change the character of England’
9/10/1968, Wednesday (+8,555) Harold Wilson, British PM, met Ian Smith for further talks about Rhodesian independence aboard HMS Fearless moored off Gibraltar. The talks failed to resolve the situation.
7/10/1968. Monday (+8,553) Rhodesia’s leader Ian Smith announced that there would be no majority rule in Rhodesia in his lifetime. He continued with talks between himself and Prime Minister Harold Wilson; but Mr Smith said that ‘ordinary Africans were incapable of answering the simplest question regarding a constitution’.
Films on release included 2001: A Space Odyssey.
5/10/1968, Saturday (+8,551) Police in Londonderry broke up a Protestant civil rights march using water cannon and batons.
1/10/1968, Tuesday (+8,547) The University of Ulster, at Coleraine, opened.
27/9/1968, Friday (+8,543) (1) The French again vetoed UK membership of the EEC.
(2) Antonio Salazar resigned as Prime Minister of Portugal, after holding the office for 36 years and 84 days, the longest term of office of any politician.
(3) The Rock musical Hair with 13 naked actors opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, the day after the Theatres Act lifted censorship of it.
19/9/1968, Thursday (+8,535) (1) Death of Chester Carlson, US inventor of the Xerox photocopier.
(2) The TV Times, a weekly magazine for British independent TV, was first published.
16/9/1968. Monday (+8,532) Britain adopted a two tier postal system, stamps cost 5d or 4d.
15/9/1968, Sunday (+8,531) Severe flooding in south east England, the worst since 1953.
13/9/1968, Friday (+8,529) (1) British banks announced plans to cease Saturday opening.
(2) Press censorship was reimposed in Czechoslovakia.
9/9/1968, Monday (+8,525) The railway from Dereham to Kings Lynn closed. March to Magdalen Road (Kings Lynn) opened.
7/9/1968, Saturday (+8,523) Protests by the New York Radical Women (NYRW) Group disrupted the Miss World competition in New York.
6/9/1968. Friday (+8,522) Swaziland became independent from Britain.
4/9/1969, Wednesday (+8,520)
2/9/1968. Monday (+8,518) A major earthquake in Iran killed over 20,000 people.
1/9/1968, Sunday (+8,517) The first section of London’s new Victoria line opened, from Walthamstow to Highbury, see 3/11/1968.
27/8/1968. Tuesday (+8,512) Russian patrols watched the streets of Prague after a failed anti – Communist uprising. Tanks had first entered Czechoslovakia on 20/8/1968. The Soviets overthrow President Dubcek, and 175,000 troops, mostly Russian, occupied the major cities of Czechoslovakia. Prague was put under curfew. 20 people were reported dead and at least 200 injured, many of them students, after the anti-Soviet protests.
25/8/1968, Sunday (+8,510) The French exploded their first Hydrogen Bomb.
22/8/1968, Thursday (+8,507) Soviet tanks entered Prague.
21/8/1968, Wednesday (+8,506) President Dubcek was arrested and taken to Moscow. He returned to Czechoslovakia on 27/8/1968, having agreed to Soviet demands.
20/8/1968. Tuesday (+8,505) Russia sent tanks into Czechoslovakia. Dubcek had said on 18/7/1968 he would not go back on his progressive policies, see 5/4/1968.
16/8/1968, Friday (+8,501)
12/8/1968. Monday (+8,497) Race riots in Watts, Los Angeles.
11/8/1968, Sunday (+8,496) The last main line passenger steam train ran on British Railways. Called the Fifteen Guinea Special, it ran from Manchester to Carlisle.
5/8/1968, Monday (+8,490) The southern railway branch from Tooting to Wimbledon was closed to goods traffic, see 3/3/1929.
3/8/1968, Saturday (+8,488) (1) The last scheduled normal service steam train ran on British Railways. It ran from Preston to Liverpool.
(2) The Countryside Act allowed local authorities to designate National Parks.
1/8/1968. Thursday (+8,486) (1) President Nixon said the Vietnam War should be scaled down.
(2) The Princess Margaret inaugurated the hovercraft service between Dover and Boulogne.
29/7/1968, Monday (+8,483) (1) The Pope condemned all forms of birth control.
(2) President Dubcek met with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in the village of Cierna nad Tisou (on the Czech-USSR border). Brezhnev agreed that Czechoslovakia could follow ‘its own road to Socialism’ and Dubcek promised ‘Socialist solidarity’. The meeting closed on 1/8/1968.
23/7/1968. Tuesday (+8,477) An Israeli Boeing 707, flying from Rome to Tel Aviv, was hijacked and flown to Algeria.
18/7/1968, Thursday (+8,472) Dubcek said he would not go back on his progressive policies, see 20/8/1968.
1/7/1968. Monday (+8,455) (1) The USA and the USSR signed the Non-Proliferation treaty regarding nuclear weapons (see 5/8/1963). This bound its signatories not to transfer nuclear weapons or knowledge to non-nuclear countries. This was a recognition that both the USA and the USSR had interests in not assisting China to become nuclear.
(2) The railway from Matlock to Chinley closed.
30/6/1968. Sunday (+8,454) De Gaulle won massive support in French elections.
25/6/1968. Tuesday (+8,449) Comedian Tony Hancock killed himself in a hotel bathroom in Sydney, Australia.
10/6/1968, Monday (+8,434) NHS prescription charges were reintroduced. See 1/2/1965.
8/6/1968, Saturday (+8,432) Bermuda achieved internal self-government.
5/6/1968. Wednesday (+8,429) A Jordanian-Arab called Sirhan Bishara Sirhan shot Robert Kennedy, US Senator (born 1925), in the Hotel Ambassador, Los Angeles. Kennedy, younger brother of President Kennedy, died 25 hours later. Sirhan was arrested. He was protesting against Kennedy’s outspoken support for Israel, on the first anniversary of the Six Day War.
30/5/1968, Thursday (+8,423) French President De Gaulle announced he would not resign, and called a General Election.
27/5/1968, Monday (+8,420) The trial of the executives of the Chemie-Grunenthal company, responsible for the Thalidomide disaster that killed 80,000 babies and maimed 20,000 more, opened in Alsdorf, near Aachen. The trail was expected to last at least three years, but was shut down on 18/12/11970. All defendants were granted immunity from prosecution. The German Government and Grunenthal agreed a compensation scheme that many parents regarded as inadequate. Thalidomide was launched as a wonder cure for morning sickness on 1/10/1957; it was withdrawn on 27/11/1961. It was sold as Distaval in the UK, as Contergan in Germany. It emerged that no tests were done for effects on embryos; the executives claimed nobody in te 1950s realised that drugs taken by the mother could affect the foetus, which claim was untrue even then. Adults who took thalidomide as a sedative in 1959 had suffered serious nerve damage.
25/5/1968. Saturday (+8,418) Riots continued in Paris. Demonstrators erected barricades and students stormed the Bourse and set fire to the interior. In London a demonstration of support for the rioters was made outside the French Embassy; the police moved in and arrests were made, resulting in fines totalling £145 for 17 people. In north London, students at Hornsey College of Art continued a sit in of the main building, demanding ‘a change to the college’s educational system’.
22/5/1968. Wednesday (+8,415) Striking French workers now numbered 9 million.
19/5/1968. Sunday (+8,412) (1) Nigerian forces captured Port Harcourt in the civil war against the breakaway region of Biafra.
(2) Two million workers in France were on strike.
17/5/1968. Friday (+8,410) French president Georges Pompidou appealed to ordinary Parisians to help stop the anarchy as student riots continued in Paris. However the Cannes Film Festival collapsed in chaos as striking technicians and directors caused film screenings to be cancelled, and three days later the number of striking French workers had risen to about six million. Three people died in east London when 22 floors of a block of flats collapsed at Ronan Point, Newham, following a gas explosion. Council officials met with solid resistance when they suggested that the 80 families evacuated after the disaster should return to their flats. The director of the Transport studies centre predicted that in the future people would be ‘piped’ in high speed pneumatic trains like oil and gas. TV viewers could watch The Saint, Danger Man, or The Avengers.
16/5/1968, Thursday (+8,409) The Ronan Point block of flats collapsed in London’s East End. Three died when the 22-storey flats in Butcher’s Road, Plaistow, were brought down by a gas explosion in a flat on the 18th floor. The pre-fabricated ‘system building’ technique used to construct the flats meant that every flat on that corner then collapsed.
14/5/1968, Tuesday (+8,407) French workers called a one-day strike to support the students. The French Franc plummeted.
10/5/1968. Friday (+8,403) (1) Student clashes with police continued in Paris, with 30,000 people involved in a day and a night of violence. Students at The Sorbonne were locked out of campus, causing further unrest; the demonstrations were against the Vietnam War.
(2) Peace talks began between the USA and North Vietnam in Paris. The talks failed because North Vietnam wanted the country unified under the Vietcong, whilst the United States wanted North Vietnam to withdraw from the South which would remain an independent state. Eventually the North agreed to Southern independence and the US agreed not to demand the withdrawal of Communist forces from the North. However the North was to invade the South two years later as US forces withdrew from the South.
6/5/1968, Monday (+8,399) (1) An opinion poll suggested 74% of Britons supported Enoch Powell’s views on immigration. Enoch Powell made his famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, see 20/4/1968.
(2) The Vietnam War continued with house to house fighting in Saigon. The Kray Twins were charged with ten offences including two of conspiracy to murder. The Home Secretary James Callaghan told the Ministry of Public Building and Works that he had no power to deport Tariq Ali back to his native Pakistan. Mr Ali was a member of the Vietnam Solidarity campaign in Britain. Ironside was on TV, and the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes were showing.
(3) Spain closed its border with Gibraltar to all but Spaniards.
(4) The railway from Okehampton to Bere Alston closed. The Ulceby to Brocklesby rail curve closed. Grange Junction to Elgin via Dufftown closed.
3/5/1968. Friday (+8,396) (1) French police evicted striking students from campus, sparking large street demonstrations.
(2) Britain’s first heart transplant.
2/5/1968, Thursday (+8,395) Students rioted in Paris.
1/5/1968. Wednesday (+8,394) Legoland Family Park, the Danish toy maker’s answer to Disneyland, opened at Billund in Denmark.
30/4/1968, Tuesday (+8,393) Frankie Lymon, US pop star, died of a heroin overdose.
27/4/1968. Saturday (+8,390) Abortion was legalised in Britain, as the 1967 Abortion Act became Law. The Liberal MP David Steel had introduced the Abortion Act to Parliament.
23/4/1968. Tuesday (+8,386) First decimal coins, the 5p and 10p coins, appeared in Britain, see 15/2/1971. On 14/10/1969, 50 pence pieces replaced ten shilling notes; these notes ceased to be legal tender on 21/11/1970.
20/4/1968, Saturday (+8,383) Enoch Powell, Conservative MP for south-west Wolverhampton, made his famous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech about the dangers of immigration at a hotel in Birmingham. See 6/5/1968.
18/4/1968. Thursday (+8,381) London Bridge was sold for £1million to oil tycoon Robert McCullough. He had it rebuilt at Lake Havasu in the USA. It was rumoured that he thought he was buying Tower Bridge.
7/4/1968, Sunday (+8,370) US President Johnson ordered a slowdown in the bombing of North Vietnam.
6/4/1968, Saturday (+8,369) Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada.
5/4/1968, Friday (+8,368) In Czechoslovakia, Dubcek began a programme of reform which was to lead to a measure of political democracy and restoration of personal freedoms, see 5/1/1968 and 20/8/1968.
4/4/1968. Thursday (+8,367) Martin Luther King, 39, was assassinated, shot dead by James Earl Ray on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He was on a trip to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis. The funeral was attended by Jacqueline Kennedy. White and Black were briefly united in anger, and there were riots in hundreds of towns across America. Martin Luther King had campaigned on civil rights for Black people, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1964.
3/4/1968, Wednesday (+8,366)
2/4/1968, Tuesday (+8,365) Two West German terrorists, Baader and Ensslin, firebombed a Frankfurt department store, in protest against the bombs being dropped by the US on Vietnam.
1/4/1968, Monday (+8,364) Speculation in the gold market; gold was US$ 38 in London.
27/3/1968. Wednesday (+8,359) (1) The UK foreign secretary said the Falklands will stay British.
(2) Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space in 1961, was killed in a plane crash near Moscow, on a routine training flight.
23/3/1968, Saturday (+8,355) President Dubcek was summoned to an emergency Warsaw Pact meeting to try and stop his liberal policies in Czechoslovakia.
21/3/1968, Thursday (+8.353) (1) In Britain, road deaths fell 23% in the three months after introduction of breath tests. See 8/10/1967.
(2) Students at Nanterre University, Paris, began a sit-in, which soon spread to other French universities.
20/3/1968, Wednesday (+8,352) Six French students were arrested in Paris during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.
19/3/1968, Tuesday (+8,351)
17/3/1968, Sunday (+8,349) Violent anti-Vietnam War demonstrations outside the US Embassy in London.
16/3/1968. Saturday (+8,348) The My Lai massacre; US soldiers massacred 700 Vietnamese civilians in a raid on hamlets in Son My district, where Communist Vietcong rebels were suspected to be hiding out. US forces believed that 250 Vietcong guerrillas were hiding in My Lai and that all civilians would have left for market. As the 30 US troops went in under the command of Lieutenant William Calley they threw grenades and deployed flamethrowers on the thatched roof huts; it was soon clear that only women, children and the elderly were present. There was no counter fire. However a ‘contagion of slaughter’ had set in and the rape and murder continued. Senior US army officials turned a blind eye to the event; only five people were ever court-martialled, with just one, Lieutenant Calley, found guilty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but served 3 ½ years before release on parole. This event turned many civilians within the US against the Vietnam War.
15/3/1968, Friday (+8,347)
13/3/1968. Wednesday (+8,345) Dubcek abolished press censorship in Czechoslovakia.
12/3/1968, Tuesday (+8,344) Mauritius, a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, became independent from the UK, and joined the Commonwealth. It had been a British colony since 1810.
8/3/1968, Friday (+8,340) Student unrest in Poland intensified. On 30/1/1968 a play by Mickiewicz, Dziady (The Forefathers) was shown at the Warsaw National Theatre for the last time; the authorities were concerned that the play provoked anti-Soviet sentiments in its audience. On the occasion of its last showing, Warsaw University students staged a street demonstration. The organisers of the demonstration were arrested; meanwhile the Warsaw branch of the Writers Union, supported by well-known personalities such as Slonimski, Jastrun, Andrzejewksi, Kolakowski and Jasienica protested the decision to close Dziady as Party censorship curtailing creativity. On 8/3/1968 a student protest meeting was brutally broken up by police and paramilitaries. Unrest spread onto the streets of Warsaw and to other Polish universities. The intelligentsia supported the students but the workers, influenced by official propaganda, opposed them. Around 1,200 students were arrested but only a small number were tried and received jail terms. Some were temporarily suspended from their university, Some academics also lost their posts, entire university departments were closed, new academic appointments were made on political grounds not ability, and overall, academic freedom was replaced by repression and suspicion, at least while Gomulka held power in Poland.
22/2/1968, Thursday (+8,325) The UK Government was concerned at the level of immigration of Asians from East Africa.
21/2/1968, Wednesday (+8,324) Lord Florey, Australian-born British pathologist who made possible the large-scale production of penicillin, died.
20/2/1968, Tuesday (+8,323) In Britain, the provision of free school milk at secondary schools ceased.
4/2/1968. Sunday (+8,307) The world’s largest hovercraft, 165 tonnes, was launched at Cowes.
31/1/1968. Wednesday (+8,303) Nauru became independent from Britain.
30/1/1968. Tuesday (+8,302) The Vietcong launched the great Tet Offensive against South Vietnam, named after the Tet holiday of January 31, when south Vietnamese soldiers would be off-guard. Militarily the Tet offensive was disastrous for the North; they held none of the towns they captured. The last town, Hue, was recaptured by US Marines three weeks after the Tet Offensive began. However the North won the propaganda war, with massive damage inflicted on the South during the Offensive, much of by US forces whilst evicting the Communists. Martial law was proclaimed in Vietnam. US casualties now amounted to 1,000 per day. Questions were asked why the US and South were suffering so many losses without obvious success in the war.
29/1/1968, Monday (+8,301) The Alnmouth to Alnwick railway closed.
26/1/1968. Friday (+8,298) The two British banks, the National Provincial and the Westminster, merged to form the National Westminster Bank.
23/1/1968, Tuesday (+8,295) The USS Pueblo, an intelligence ship, and its 89 man crew was seized by the North Koreans in the Sea of Japan.
21/1/1968, Sunday (+8,293) North Korean commandos made an assassination attempt upon President Park of South Korea, getting within 300 metres of the Presidential Palace.
16/1/1968, Tuesday (+8,288) The UK government announced public expenditure cuts of £700 million. This included postponing a rise in the school-leaving age, and re-imposing prescription charges.
11/1/1968. Thursday (+8,283) Emigration from Britain exceeded immigration by 30,000 in the second quarter on 1967. The world’s fifth heart transplant was performed in New York. A new magazine, Student, hit Britain’s newsstands. Its publisher, Richard Branson, hoped the new magazine would become the voice of Britain’s youth.
Children were entertained on TV by The Magic Roundabout and Blue Peter.
5/1/1968. Friday (+8, 277) Alexander Dubcek became the Czech leader, replacing Novotny. Czech discontent at oppressive government from Prague and economic exploitation by the USSR led to criticism of the Communist leader of Czechoslovakia, Novotny (see 25/2/1948), at a Workers Union Congress in June 1967, and to student demonstrations in October 1967. See 5/4/1968.
2/1/1968, Tuesday (+8,274) Christiaan Barnard performed a second heart transplant; the recipient Philip Blaiberg survived 594 days, proving the technique was feasible.
1/1/1968, Monday (+8,273) The Bedford to Cambridge via Sandy railway closed. Oxford to Bletchley closed. Larbert to Alloa closed.
31/12/1967, Sunday (+8,272) Hippies embraced love, flower power, LSD and the Rolling Stones as a cure for the world’s ills.
21/12/1967, Thursday (+8,262) Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, was born.
19/12/1967. Tuesday (+8,260) Second French veto by De Gaulle on British membership of the E.E.C. The pound was devalued, and Harold Wilson made his ‘pound in your pocket’ television speech.
13/12/1967. Wednesday (+8,254) King Constantine II fled Greece after an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the military junta, see 21/4/1967, and 1/6/1973.
11/12/1967. Monday (+8,252) The prototype of the world’s first supersonic airliner, Concorde, was revealed in Toulouse, France. It first flew from Bristol on 9/1/1969.
9/12/1967. Saturday (+8,250) Nicolae Ceausescu became President of Romania.
5/12/1967. Tuesday (+8,246) The Beatles opened their Apple store on Baker Street.
3/12/1967. Sunday (+8,244) Professor Christian Barnard, born 1923, performed the world’s first heart transplant in Cape Town. The recipient, a 53-year old grocer called Waskansky, who received the heart of a 25 year old traffic casualty, died 18 days later of pneumonia. The drugs given to suppress rejection compromised Waskansky’s immune system. A second heart transplant patient (see 2/1/1968) survived much longer.
30/11/1967. Thursday (+8,241) The British withdraw from Aden, and the Republic of South Yemen was formed.
29/11/1967, Wednesday (+8,240) Roy Jenkins succeeded James Callaghan as Chancellor.
28/11/1967. Tuesday (+8,239) Horseracing was suspended in Britain because of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
27/11/1967, Monday (+8,238) De Gaulle vetoed Britain’s entry into the EEC.
26/11/1967, Sunday (+8,237)
23/11/1967. Thursday (+8,234) The UK government was about to ban meat imports from Europe because of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease there. TV shows included a debate on The Roman Catholic Church has no place in the 20th Century and The Man from UNCLE.
22/11/1967. Wednesday (+8,233) The UN passed the famous Resolution 242. It promised secure Israeli borders in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, and stated the need for a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem. However no timetable was given for achieving these aims.
18/11/1967. Saturday (+8,229) Devaluation of Sterling. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr James Callaghan, announced a 14.3% devaluation, from $2.80 to $2.40 to the pound. He resigned the Chancellorship eleven days later.
8/11/1967. Wednesday (+8,219) The first local radio station in the UK, Radio Leicester, went on the air. It was opened by the Postmaster-General, Edward Short.
5/11/1967, Sunday (+8,216) 49 people were killed at a rail crash at Hither Green, south London.
2/11/1967, Thursday (+8,213) The first Scottish Nationalist Party candidate took their seat at Westminster. In the by-election at Hamilton, Winifred Ewing took the seat for the SNP, a party formed in 1934.
1/11/1967, Wednesday (+8,212) Rolling Stone Magazine started publication, the first Rock’n’Roll periodical in the USA.
31/10/1967, Tuesday (+8,211) The Expo ’67 exhibition in Montreal closed; it had opened on 27/4/1967.
30/10/1967. Monday (+8,210) Statistics showed that the number of Britain’s drug addicts under 20 rose from 145 in 1965 to 329 in 1966. Captain Scarlet merchandise hit the shops. TV showed Bewitched, Dr Finlays Casebook, The Saint, and Z Cars.
29/10/1967, Sunday (+8,209)
27/10/1967, Friday (+8,207) The UK’s Abortion Act received Royal Assent.
26/10/1967. Thursday (+8,206) The Shah of Iran and his wife were crowned in Tehran.
25/10/1967. Wednesday (+8,205) UK Parliament passed the Abortion Act, decriminalising abortion.
24/10/1967. Tuesday (+8,204) Israeli artillery destroyed a petrol refinery at Port Suez.
21/10/1967. Saturday (+8,201) The Israeli destroyer Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missiles
18/10/1967, Wednesday (+8,198) The Soviet space probe Venera 4 made the first soft landing on Venus.
15/10/1967. Sunday (+8,195) Henry Pu Yi, the last emperor of China from the age of 2, died in Peking aged 61. The Guardian offered its readers ‘the first binary computer kit’ called Digi-Comp 1, for £3 10 shillings. Meanwhile in Tokyo the Nippon Electric Co was offering the world’s first commercial television telephone. TV viewers saw Steptoe and Son, whilst Patrick McGoohan was unable to accept his lot in North Wales as The Prisoner. Ironside the wheelchair bound detective propelled himself around the streets of San Francisco.
9/10/1967. Monday (+8,189) The revolutionary Marxist leader Che Guevara was captured in Bolivia and shot. Bolivian troops killed Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and six other guerrillas they had cornered in the village of La Higuera near Vallegrande. The Argentine born hero of Latin American revolutionaries, Guevara was a prominent figure in Fidel Castro’s successful Cuban Revolution of the 1950s and 60s. Guevara then decided to join other struggles of ‘liberation’. Guevara came from a middle class family and his travels convinced him that only violent revolution would solve the economic, political, and poverty problems facing many Latin American countries. The French philosopher Jean Paul Satre described him as ‘the most complete human being of our age’.
8/10/1967. Sunday (+8,188) (1) A motorist in Flax Bourton, Somerset became the first person to be breathalysed in Britain. See 21/3/1968.
(2) Clement Atlee, British Prime Minister 1945-51, died aged 84.
5/10/1967, Thursday (+8,185) The first majority verdict was recorded in a UK court, 10 to 2, at Brighton Quarter Sessions.
30/9/1967. Saturday (+8,180) BBC Radio was reorganised. BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, and 4 began broadcasting, with Tony Blackburn introducing The Breakfast Show. His first record was Flowers In The Rain by The Move.
27/9/1967, Wednesday (+8,177) The liner Queen Mary arrived at Southampton, at the end of her last transatlantic voyage.
20/9/1967. Wednesday (+8,170) The Queen launched the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth II, at Clydebank, Scotland.
18/9/1967, Monday (+8,168) Sir John Cockroft, British scientist who along with Ernest Walton split the atom, died.
12/9/1967. Tuesday (+8,162) Governor Reagan called for an escalation of the Vietnam War.
10/9/1967. Sunday (+8,160) Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to stay British. 12,318 voted for Britain, and 44 for Spanish rule. In 2002 the British government was considering sharing sovereignty with Spain but the Gibraltarian governor was to hold an unauthorised referendum, which he believed would show the majority wished to stay British.
8/9/1967, Friday (+8,158) Uganda became a republic, with Milton Obote as the first President.
3/9/1967. Sunday (+8,153) Sweden switched over from driving on the left to driving on the right. All traffic was banned from Sweden’s roads between 1.am. and 6.am. that day. This reduced accidents since neighbouring Norway and Denmark already drove on the right. An earlier referendum, in 1955, had rejected the switchover but the Swedish Government finally approved the change in 1963.
1/9/1967, Friday (+8,151) At a meeting in Khartoum, the Arabs decided to lift the oil embargo that had been imposed on the West since the Six Day War.
28/8/1967, Monday (+8,147) Death of Charles Darrow, US inventor of the board game Monopoly.
27/8/1967, Sunday (+8,146) Brian Epstein, who managed The Beatles rise to rock stardom, died in a swimming pool accident.
23/8/1967, Wednesday (+8,142) Race riots in Detroit.
15/8/1967. Tuesday (+8,134) The Marine Broadcasting Act came into force in the UK, outlawing pop pirate radio stations.
8/8/1967, Tuesday (+8,127) ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) was founded. The original members were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999. East Timor attempted to join, post-independence, but was blocked by Indonesia.
4/8/1967, Friday (+8,123) The Tagus Road Bridge at Lisbon opened.
30/7/1967, Sunday (+8,118)
29/7/1967, Saturday (+8,117) An earthquake in Caracas, Venezuela killed 240.
28/7/1967, Friday (+8,116) The UK steel industry was nationalised.
27/7/1967. Thursday (+8,115) Robin Scott, the man in charge of the brand new Radio One, announced that should pop music prove to be a passing fad, he would devote the station’s output to ‘sweet music’.
26/7/1967, Wednesday (+8,114)
25/7/1967, Tuesday (+8,113) During a State visit to Canada, General Charles de Gaulle of France encouraged French-speaking Quebec citizens to break away; he was rebuked for this breach of etiquette by the Canadian Prime Minister and returned to France.
24/7/1967, Monday (+8,112) Graham Greene, Francis Crick, and The Beatles were among those who signed a full-page advertisement in The Times, saying the law against marijuana was ‘immoral in principle and unworkable in practice’.
23/7/1967, Sunday (+8,111) Riots broke out in Detroit after police raided a ‘blind pig’, an unlicensed bar, in the 12th street area of Detroit. In 5 days of disorder, 43 people were killed and 467 injured. 7,200 were arrested and almost 3,000 buildings burnt or looted. The US Army had to go in with tanks and machine guns. The root cause of the riots was credit discrimination by banks against addresses in districts that were mainly Black.
22/7/1967, Saturday (+8,110) The US poet Carl Sandburg died in North Carolina.
21/7/1967, Friday (+8,109) Majority verdicts were now allowed in UK courts.
18/7/1967, Tuesday (+8,106) British forces were to withdraw from areas east of Suez by the mid-1970s,
15/7/1967, Saturday (+8,103) Israel said it would not comply with the UN request to withdraw from east Jerusalem (4/7/1967) and also would not give up the strategically-important Golan Heights.
14/7/1967. Friday (+8,102) Parliament in the UK voted to legalise abortion. This was after a record 64 hour debate. This was after a record 64 hour debate. The 1967 Abortion Act allowed for the legal termination of pregnancy if two registered doctors believed that continuation of the pregnancy could damage the physical or mental health of the woman, or of members of her family, or where there was substantial risk of the baby being born with physical or mental abnormalities.
10/7/1967, Monday (+8,098)
8/7/1967, Saturday (+8,096) Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani politician, died.
7/7/1967. Friday (+8,095) (1) Nigerian troops invaded the breakaway region of Biafra, see 30/5/1967. The Biafrans had, initially, the main oil reserves and the refinery at Port Harcourt, so were able to secure help and weapons from abroad. However they faced an overwhelmingly larger Federal Nigerian Army. The ruler of Nigeria, Gowon, faced the threat of regional secession and was determined to maintain the unity of his country.
(2) Using Sir Francis Drake’s sword, the Queen knighted Sir Francis Chichester, who had sailed solo around the world in Gypsy Moth IV.
6/7/1967, Thursday (+8,094)
4/7/1967, Tuesday (+8,092) The United Nations asked Israel to withdraw from Arab East Jerusalem.
3/7/1967, Monday (+8,091) In Britain, ITV launched News at Ten.
2/7/1967, Sunday (+8,090)
1/7/1967. Saturday (+8,089) BBC 2 began colour broadcasting in Britain. Wimbledon was covered in colour for the first time.
30/6/1967, Friday (+8,088) Moise Tshombe, former President of Katanga and former prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was kidnapped to Algeria.
29/6/1967. Thursday (+8,087) The American child psychologist Dr Benjamin Spock led a march of nearly 5,000 people in London in protest against the Vietnam War. Eighteen people were arrested as the march headed towards the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square. The Magic Roundabout continued on TV, as did The Man from UNCLE as he battled with the evil THRUSH organisation.
28/6/1967, Wednesday (+8,086) Israel declared the annexation of East Jerusalem.
27/6/1967. Tuesday (+8,085) Barclay’s Bank, in Enfield, north London, opened Britain’s first cash dispenser.
17/6/1967. Saturday (+8,075) China exploded its first hydrogen bomb. This raised tensions between China and the USSR.
15/6/1967. Thursday (+8,073) (1) Race riots shook New Jersey, USA, following the arrest of a black taxi driver for a traffic offence. The riots lasted for four nights 1,600 people were arrested, 1,100 were injured, and 22 died.
(2) In Britain the Latey Commission reported that the voting age should be lowered to 18. Films included The Further Perils of Laurel and Hardy. The Guardian TV critic complained that ‘with the basically green and white Wimbledon being followed by Late Night Line Up with everyone wearing basically black and white’ people paying nearly £2 a week to rent the colour sets should be getting ‘the occasional dazzle’. Whickers World and Till Death do us Part formed part of the TV schedules.
14/6/1967. Wednesday (+8,072) At a telecommunications conference in London, the Postmaster General predicted shopping by picture television and news reports by computer before the end of the century. He went on to discuss the imminent arrival of household robots. Australian and New Zealand woolgrowers expressed concern over the effects of the mini skirt on wool prices, which were down 6d a pound on the last season. On TV, ‘Games without Frontiers’ was on. It’s a Knockout and The Likely Lads was also on.
12/6/1967, Monday (+8,070)
10/6/1967, Saturday (+8,068) The White House, Washington, received a threat from the USSR over the ‘hotline’ that Russia would get involved in the Israel-Arab conflict to prevent a total Israeli victory. Moscow, ally of Egypt, had moved naval forces from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean and was planning an invasion of Israel from the coast. The world was in danger of a new World War between the USSR and USA, Israel’s ally. Russia’s ultimate failure to intervene caused it to lose some credibility with its other allies such as Cuba. This day Moscow severed diplomatic relations with Israel.
9/6/1967, Friday (+8,067) As Egypt was heavily defeated in the Six Day war, Nasser resigned.
8/6/1967, Thursday (+8,066) The Israeli Air Force, during the Six-Day War, attacked and severely damaged a US research ship, the USS Liberty. Israel maintained that the attack was an accident, the ship having been mistaken for an Egyptian one.
7/6/1967, Wednesday (+8,065) Israeli forces captured Arab East Jerusalem.
6/6/1967, Tuesday (+8,064) Paul Giamatti, US actor, was born.
5/6/1967. Monday (+8,063) The Six Day War began between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Israel routed the armies of three Arab nations and occupied an area larger than the entire State of Israel in just six days. The war began after Colonel Nasser, having formed a pact with Syria and Jordan, moved his forces into Sinai and closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Early on the morning of 5/6/1967 Israel made lightning strikes against Arab airbases, and within 24 hours the Egyptian and other Arab air forces were destroyed. Three Israeli tank divisions moved into the Sinai Desert. The Sinai capital El Arish fell on 6/6/1967 and by then the Egyptian army was in total disarray. By 7/6/1967 King Hussein's Jordanian forces were also routed and most of the West bank, including the Old City of Jerusalem, was in Israeli hands. On 9/6/1967, amid calls for a ceasefire, Israeli forces pressed on to the Suez Canal. Israel also launched an attack on the Golan Heights and by 10/6/12967 had taken these from Syria.
4/6/1967, Sunday (+8,062) British Midland flight G-ALHG crashed in Hopes Carr, Stockport, Manchester, killing 72 passengers and crew.
3/6/1967, Saturday (+8,061) Appleby station, on the line between Scunthorpe and Grimsby, closed.
2/6/1967, Friday (+8,060) Rioting in West Berlin against the visit of the Shah of Iran, in which Benno Ohnesorg is killed by a police officer. His death resulted in the founding of the terrorist group Movement 2 June.
1/6/1967. Thursday (+8,059) Moshe Dayan appointed the Israeli Defence Minister.
31/5/1967. Wednesday (+8,058) The President of Iraq stated, “The existence of Israel is an error that must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy that has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map”.
30/5/1967. Tuesday (+8,057) Biafra, 44,000 square miles, seceded from Nigeria under the military commander of the Eastern Ibo region, Odumegwu Ojukwu, starting a civil war. See 7/7/1967, 19/5/1968, and 12/1/1970. Nigeria at independence in 1960 had a population of around 50 million, consisting mainly of Muslim Hausa and Fulani in the north, Catholic Ibos in the east, and Muslim Yorubas in the west. There was considerable enmity between the Ibos and the Muslims. In January 1966 a coup by Major-General Johnson Ironsi, an Ibo, replaced the civilian post-independence government, This coup provoked a massacre of Ibos in the northern Muslim regions. At end July 1966 a second coup, by northern Army officers, deposed Ironsi, who was then tortured and murdered. General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian from a minority tribe, now came to power. He tried to reassure the Ibos but hundreds of thousands of them fled to the eastern Ibo region for safety. Gowon planned to institute a 12-region federal structure for Nigeria, but the military Governor of the eastern region, Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, refused to accept this. Ojukwu was a wealthy Ibo, Oxford-educated, who declared the oil-rich Eastern Region independent on 30/5/1967 as Biafra, hoping for support from the oil multinationals. However Nigerian troops overran Biafra, over an extended time period, making Biafra a byword for mass starvation.
Biafran-controlled territory shrank, by September 1968, to a landlocked enclave 100km by 50 km. Ojukwu hired a Swiss public relations firm, Markpress, to plead his cause to the world. Markpress played the religious factor, painting (to the West) Ojukwu as a Christian under Muslim threat; Gowon countered that many on the Nigerian side, including Gowon himself, were also Christian. From August 1968 aid agencies began sending food aid to the starving Biafrans. France backed the Biafran side and sent military aid via Gabon and Cote D’Ivoire. Britain and Russia both backed the Nigerian side. Mercenaries under Colonel Rolf Steiner arrived to bolster the Biafran forces; this held back the Nogerian forces, however only prolonging the suffering of the Biafran people. Nigeria, unable to overcome Steiner’s men, settled upon bombing raids and blockade. Gowon blocked food aid, arguing it was being used as a cover for arms shipments.
29/5/1967, Monday (+8,056) Geronimo Baqueiro Foster, composer, died aged 69.
28/5/1967. Sunday (+8,055) Sir Francis Chichester arrived in Plymouth after a solo voyage around the world in his yacht, Gypsy Moth IV. See 27/8/1966.
27/5/1967. Saturday (+8,054) President Nasser, nine days before the Six Day War began, declared, “Our objective will be the destruction of Israel”.
23/5/1967, Tuesday (+8,050)
15/5/1967, Monday (+8,042) In the village of Naxalbari, West Bengal, peasants rebelled against landowners. This was the start of the Maoist rebel Naxalite movement in eastern India.
14/5/1967. Sunday (+8,041) Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King was consecrated.
27/4/1967, Thursday (+8,024) The Expo ’67 exhibition opened in Montreal. It closed on 31/10/1967.
24/4/1967. Monday (+8,021) The first space casualty occurred when Vladimir Komarov was killed as the Russian spacecraft Soyuz I crashed to earth after leaving orbit. It came to earth on the Steppes of Orenburg.
21/4/1967. Friday (+8,018) Colonels in Greece under Papadopolous took power in a military coup; parliamentary democracy was suspended. King Constantine II initially collaborated with the colonels until 13/12/1967 but then unsuccessfully attempted a counter coup. He later fled to Rome.
19/4/1967, Wednesday (+8,016) Konrad Adenauer, West German Chancellor from 1949 to 1963, died.
15/4/1967. Saturday (+8,012) 100,000 protested against the Vietnam War in New York.
12/4/1967. Wednesday (+8,009) The UK£ reached parity with the US$.
4/4/1967, Tuesday (+8,001) Martin Luther King denounced the Vietnam War.
1/4/1967. Saturday (+7,998) (1) The Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserves formed.
(2) Britain’s first Ombudsman was created, Sir Edmund Compton.
30/3/1967, Thursday (+7,996) The Torrey Canyon was finally destroyed by RAF bombing.
26/3/1967. Sunday (+7,992) 10,000 hippies held a rally in New York's Central Park.
18/3/1967. Saturday (+7,984) The Torrey Canyon ran aground on the Seven Stones reef off Lands End. The 975 foot tanker spilled 117,000 tons of Kuwaiti crude oil that was bound for Milford Haven. Within six days 30,000 tons of oil had escaped producing a 260 square mile slick. Thousands of gallons of detergent were dumped on the slick, but two days later the tanker broke her back during a salvage attempt, releasing a further 30,000 tons of oil. On 28 and 29 March the RAF took emergency action, and tried to burn off the oil. They dumped aviation fuel, high explosive bombs, rockets, and napalm onto the slick. The six hour bombardment was a success but by then the oil had fouled 100 miles of Cornish coastline.
12/3/1967. Sunday (+7,978) Mrs Ghandi re-elected Prime Minister of India.
10/3/1967. Friday (+7.976) The US bombed industrial targets in North Vietnam.
9/3/1967, Thursday (+7,975) Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, defected to the West, requesting political asylum at the US Embassy in India.
6/3/1967, Monday (+7,972) The railway from Millers Dale to Buxton closed. Sidmouth Junction to Sidmouth closed. Tipton St John to Exmouth closed. Appledore to New Romney closed. Cambridge to Sudbury closed. March to St Ives closed. Harrogate to Northallerton closed.
26/2/1967, Sunday (+7,964) The US stepped up the Vietnam war with an attack on the Vietcong HQ.
22/2/1967, Wednesday (+7,960) Suharto replaced Sukarno as President of Indonesia.
18/2/1967, Saturday (+7,956) Robert Oppenheiner, American scientist who developed the US atom bomb, died in Princeton, New Jersey.
14/2/1967. Tuesday (+7,952) 100 Labour MPs in Westminster condemned the US bombing of Vietnam. On 26/2/1967 the US stepped up the war by attacking the Vietcong's HQ.
13/2/1967, Monday (+7,951) The Kirkham to Blackpool South (direct) railway closed.
7/2/1967, Tuesday (+7,945) In Britain the Far Right anti-immigration National Front party was formed. It was founded by A.K.Chesterton, cousin of the famous author.
30/1/1967, Monday (+7,937) The railway from Bodmin Road to Padstow closed.
27/1/1967, Friday (+7,934) Fire broke out on the spacecraft Apollo I during ground tests at Cape Kennedy. Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee were killed. Normally fire-resistant plastics ignited in the pure oxygen used by the astronauts.
18/1/1967. Wednesday (+7,925) Jeremy Thorpe, born on 29/4/1929, became leader of the Liberal Party, replacing Joe Grimond. Thorpe resigned on 10/5/1976.
12/1/1967, Thursday (+7,919) Plans were announced for a new city at Milton Keynes.
8/1/1967, Sunday (+7,915) Rioting in Shanghai, China, as workers went on strike.
4/1/1967. Wednesday (+7,911) Donald Campbell died attempting to break his own water speed record of 276.33 mph on Coniston Water in the Lake District. He had made one run, then turned for another run too soon, and his boat hit its own wake and catapulted out of the water. His boat was called Bluebird K 7.
3/1/1967, Tuesday (+7,910) Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of President Kennedy, died of natural causes at a Dallas hospital. Mr Ruby was awaiting the retrial of his murder case.
2/1/1967. Monday (+7,909) (1) Ronald Reagan sworn in as Governor of California.
(2) Groombridge to Three Bridges railway closed. Stopping services withdrawn Ipswich to Norwich via Stowmarket.
28/12/1966, Wednesday (+7,904) Westminster Abbey celebrated its 900th anniversary.
22/12/1966, Thursday (+7,898) Rhodesia left the Commonwealth.
15/12/1966, Thursday (+7,891) Walt Disney, US film producer and leader in animation, died.
6/12/1966. Tuesday (+7,882) Ian Smith of Rhodesia refused UK government proposals to end UDI. Rhodesia left the Commonwealth on 22/12/1966.
5/12/1966, Monday (+7,881) The railway from Verney Junction to Buckingham closed. Bury to Accrington closed.
3/12/1966, Saturday (+7,879)
2/12/1966, Friday (+7,878) British Prime Minister Harold Wilson met Ian Smith on HMS Tiger off Gibraltar, for talks on the independence of Rhodesia.
1/12/1966, Thursday (+7,877) Britain’s Post Offices issued the first Christmas Stamps.
30/11/1966, Wednesday (+7,876) Barbados proclaimed full independence.
26/11/1966. Saturday (+7,872) Charles De Gaulle in Brittany opened the world’s first tidal power station. It was in the Rance Estuary, in the Golfe de St Malo. The station, first planned in 1955, cost French Francs 420 million (UK£ 42 million) to build.
10/11/1966, Thursday (+7,856) The UK held discussions about entry to the EEC.
9/11/1966. Wednesday (+7,855) Severe flooding hit Florence, ruining many art treasures. The River Arno burst its banks after heavy rain upstream from the city which was situated in a narrow valley, and 100 people died.
8/11/1966. Tuesday (+7,854) Edward Brooke became the USA’s first black senator.
7/11/1966, Monday (+7,853) The Callington branch railway closed. Gobowen to Oswestry closed. Stopping services withdrawn Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds.
26/10/1966. Wednesday (+7,841) US President Johnson visited US troops in Vietnam.
23/10/1966, Sunday (+7,838) BP announced the discovery of large gas fields in the North Sea.
22/10/1966. Saturday (+7,837) KGB master spy George Blake escaped from Wormwood Scrubs, using a home-made rope ladder to scale the high perimeter wall, He had been serving a 42-year sentence for espionage meted out in 1962, one year for each of the lives his treachery was estimated to have cost. On 20/11/1966 he arrived in East Berlin.
21/10/1966. Friday (+7,836) The Aberfan disaster. A coal waste tip collapsed at 9.30am, burying a school in the Welsh Valleys, shortly after the children had arrived for morning assembly. It was a half day and by midday the schools would have been empty again for the half term holiday. 2 million tons of rock and sludge engulfed both the infants and junior schools. Also engulfed were a row of cottages and a farm; 147 people, 116 of them children, were killed. Aberfan was a close-knit community, and now had just five surviving children. The National Coal Board was blamed for siting the colliery waste tip on top of a natural spring; heavy rain had further destabilised the waste heap.
18/10/1966. Tuesday (+7,833) (1) Death of the cosmetic company founder, Elizabeth Arden.
(2) The hanged Timothy Evans won a posthumous Royal Pardon, see 15/7/1953.
6/10/1966, Thursday (+7,821) The EEC published an adverse report on the UK economy; the UK was trying to join the EEC.
4/10/1966. Tuesday (+7,819) Lesotho became independent. It had been formerly known as Basutoland, and had been a British Protectorate since 1868.
3/10/1966, Monday (+7,818) The Clevedon branch line, Somerset, closed. Halwill to Bude and Halwill to Meldon Junction closed. Halwill to Wadebridge via Launceston closed.
1/10/1966, Saturday (+7,716) The railway from Taunton to Barnstaple closed to passengers.
30/9/1966. Friday (+7,815) Botswana became independent. It had formerly been called Bechuenaland. Sir Setese Khama was its first President.
29/9/1966. Thursday (+7,814) Argentina raided the Falkland Islands.
23/9/1966. Friday (+7,808) USA planes dropped tons of herbicides on Vietnam turning the demilitarised zone between North and South Vietnam into a barren wasteland.
Mr Joe Kagan, raincoat maker to Mr Harold Wilson, suggested that by the 1980s men would be wearing something like a mini skirt with a toga over it in cold weather. On TV Emergency Ward Ten was on as Patrick Mc Goohan’s Danger Man was about to give way to The Prisoner.
16/9/1966, Friday (+7,801) Britain’s first Polaris nuclear submarine, the Resolution, was launched by the Queen Mother.
12/9/1966, Monday (+7,797) The Aldeburgh branch (Suffolk) closed.
10/9/1966, Saturday (+7,795) (1) Ireland said it would introduce free post-primary education from 1967.
(2) Sir Seretse Khama became President of the new Republic of Ghana.
8/9/1966. Thursday (+7,793) (1) Queen Elizabeth II opened the Severn Bridge. The career of ferryman Enoch Williams, who had carried passengers and cars across the Severn estuary since starting his business on the first day of the general Strike 1926, ended.
(2) Star Trek was first broadcast.
6/9/1966, Tuesday (+7,791) South African Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Voerwoerd, aged 65, was assassinated, stabbed four times in the chest by a White Parliamentary messenger, with a stiletto, because ‘his Government didn’t do enough for Whites’. Voerwoerd had, since 1950, created semi-independent and poverty stricken ‘homelands’ for South Africa’s 73% Black majority, covering just 13% of South African territory; effectively creating a White majority in the remainder of the country.
5/9/1966, Monday (+7,790) Passenger services ceased between Aylesbury and Rigby (Great Central). Banbury to Woodford Halse closed.
3/9/1966, Saturday (+7,788) Captain Ridgeway and Sergeant Blyth became the first Britons to row across the Atlantic. The journey, in English Rose III, took 91 days.
29/8/1966. Monday (+7,783) The Beatles gave their last live concert performance in Candlestick Park, San Francisco.
27/8/1966, Saturday (+7,781) Francis Chichester left Plymouth on his solo round the world voyage in the yacht Gypsy Moth IV. He arrived back in Plymouth on 28/5/1967.
23/8/1966, Tuesday (+7,777) The Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
18/8/1966. Thursday (+7,772) The Queen Mother opened the Tay Road Bridge.
13/8/1966. Saturday (+7,767) Chairman Mao of China announced a 'cultural revolution'. On 18/8/1966 Mao appeared on the gallery of the Tiananmen Gate in Peking to a crowd of over a million Red Guards. Then the student Red Guards spread out into China to radicalise the towns and countryside.
11/8/1966. Thursday (+7,765) Malaysia and Indonesia ended a 3 year war.
10/8/1966, Wednesday (+7,764) America’s first Moon satellite, Orbiter 1, was launched.
4/8/1966, Thursday (+7,758) John Lennon suggested that The Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus’. Within days US radio stations had banned their music and there were public bonfires of their records.
1/8/1966, Monday (+7,755) Military coup in Nigeria.
31/7/1966, Sunday (+7,754) In the US, there were race riots in Chicago, New York, and Cleveland.
30/7/1966. Saturday (+7,753) England beat West Germany 4 – 2 in extra time (towards the end of normal time England were 2-1 ahead, but Germany secured a last-minute equaliser) to win the World Cup at Wembley Stadium, London.
28/7/1966, Thursday (+7,751) Florence Nagle, 70, became the first woman racecourse trainer.
23/7/1966, Saturday (+7,746) The Secretary of State for Wales opened the Port Talbot motorway (now part of the M4).
21/7/1966, Thursday (+7,744) The first Welsh Nationalist MP, Gwynfor Evans, took his seat in Parliament after a by-election.
20/7/1966. Wednesday (+7,743) (1) Harold Wilson imposed a wages freeze in the UK. Inflation was high.
(2) Racial unrest continued in Brooklyn, New York, resulting in the fatal stabbing of an 11 year old boy. There were other racial tensions across the USA.
(3) Reverend Ian Paisley was jailed for breaching the peace at a church assembly in June.
18/7/1966, Monday (+7,741) The US launched the Gemini 10 spacecraft, crewed by John Young and Michael Collins.
16/7/1966. Saturday (+7,739) Race riots in Chicago caused Governor Kerner to call out 3,000 men from the Illinois National Guard who supplemented 900 police facing 5,000 rioters.
The Home Secretary Roy Jenkins decided that the drug LSD-25 should be controlled under the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act, following a rise in use of the drug by young people.
Doctor Who continued to entertain on TV, and scare kids into hiding behind the sofa so the Daleks wouldn’t get them.
14/7/1966, Thursday (+7,737) The Welsh Nationalists won their first by-election, at Carmarthen
5/7/1966. Tuesday (+7,728) Dozens of captured USA airmen in the Vietnam War were paraded through the streets of Hanoi to shouts of ‘death to the American air pirates’.
3/7/1966. Sunday (+7,726) Anti-Vietnam war protests outside the US Embassy, London.
1/7/1966, Friday (+7,724) (1) In the UK, the average wage for teachers was £1,400 per year (152% of average pay). A top league footballer earned £5,200, and a manual worker was on £1,040 a year, 112% of average. A GP earned £2,964, 320% of average. A train driver earned £884, 95% of average pay. Average pay in 1966 was £1,220 for men, and £630 for women. The average annual wage was £926. A pint of beer cost 2 shillings (10p). A two bedroom terraced house in Northampton cost £1,150. A gallon of petrol cost 5s 3d (26p). An off-the-peg Burton’s suit cost £15.
(2) France withdrew its armed forces from NATO.
29/6/1966, Wednesday (+7,722) Barclaycard, the first British credit card, was introduced.
26/6/1966, Sunday (+7,719) The last scheduled steam train left Scunthorpe railway depot. It was a freight train to west Yorkshire. All subsequent scheduled trains were diesel hauled, although some steam services from the Yorkshire area ran to Scunthorpe until Spring 1967.
6/6/1966, Monday (+7,699) (1) Britain outlawed the Ulster Volunteer Force.
(2) The Melton Mowbray to Nottingham railway closed. Rugby to Lufffenham via Market Harborough closed. The Seaton to Wansford, Northamptonshire, railway closed.
2/6/1966. Thursday (+7,695) (1) Eamon de Valera was re-elected president of Eire, now aged 83.
(2) The US unmanned spacecraft Surveyor made the first soft landing on the Moon.
(3) Philips Petroleum found a large gas field off the Humber estuary.
1/6/1966. Wednesday (+7,694) Folk music fans at the Albert Hall booed Bob Dylan for performing with an electric guitar.
26/5/1966. Thursday (+7,688) Guyana became independent, under President Burnham. It was formerly known as British Guyana.
23/5/1966, Monday (+7,685) In Britain, a State of Emergency was declared in response to the Seamen’s strike.
16/5/1966. Monday (+7,678) Post Office Tower, London, opened to the public.
6/5/1966. Friday (+7,668) The Moors murderers Ian Brady, 28, and Myra Hindley, 24, were found guilty of murder at Chester Crown Court and jailed for life.
2/5/1966, Monday (+7,664) The Times carried news headlines on its front page instead of advertising for the first time.
30/4/1966. Saturday (+7,662) A regular hovercraft service began across the English Channel between Calais and Ramsgate.
21/4/1966, Thursday (+7,653) The opening of the UK Parliament was televised for the first time.
19/4/1966. Tuesday (+7,651) Australia sent 4,500 soldiers to fight in Vietnam.
18/4/1966, Monday (+7,650) Stopping services were withdrawn between Chester and Crewe. Stopping services were withdrawn between Newbury (Berks) and Westbury. Cockermouth to Workington closed. The Royton branch (Oldham) closed. Chippenham to Trowbridge closed. Patney & Chirton to Holt via Devizes closed. Shanklin to Ventnor (IoW) closed.
17/4/1966, Sunday (+7,649)
15/4/1966, Friday (+7,647) Time Magazine declared London ‘the city of the decade’, for its fashion, and opportunities for young people.
14/4/1966, Thursday (+7,646) The South Downs was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
10/4/1966, Sunday (+7,643)
5/4/1966, Tuesday (+7.637) Shell announced the discovery of oil off Great Yarmouth.
4/4/1966. Monday (+7,636) Soviet spacecraft orbited the Moon.
2/4/1966, Saturday (+7,634)
1/4/1966, Friday (+7,633) The newly-created British Airports Authority took responsibility for London’s’ Gatwick and Heathrow Airports.
31/3/1966. Thursday (+7,632) General Election in the UK. Labour under Harold Wilson won a landslide victory, gaining a majority of 66. Labour won 363 seats, the Conservatives won 253 seats, and the Liberals won 12.
28/3/1966, Monday (+7,629) The Ballachulish branch (Oban) closed.
23/3/1966. Wednesday (+7,624) (1) In Rome the first official meeting for 400 years between the heads of the Catholic and Anglican Churches took place, Pope Paul VI met with Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.
(2) In New York, 20,000 people marched down Fifth Avenue demanding an end to the Vietnam War.
17/3/1966. Thursday (+7,618) US astronauts docked in space.
15/3/1966, Tuesday (+7,616) The US spacecraft Gemini 8 was launched, with Neil Armstrong and David Scott.
14/3/1966, Monday (+7,615) Britain’s first Asian policeman, Muhammad Yusuf, was sworn in to the Coventry force.
13/3/1966, Sunday (+7,614)
12/3/1966. Saturday (+7,613) General Suharto assumed power in an army coup in Indonesia.
11/3/1966, Friday (+7,612) De Gaulle announced that France was to withdraw from NATO and that NATO must remove its bases from France by the end of 1966.
7/3/1966, Monday (+7,608) The railway from Horsham to Shoreham closed. Bath to Templecombe and Wimborne via Shepton Mallet closed. Bath to Mangotsfield closed. Evercreech to Burnham via Glastonbury closed. The Seaton branch (Devon) closed. Stopping services were withdrawn between Salisbury and Exeter.
5/3/1966. Saturday (+7,606) The IRA destroyed the Nelson Column in Dublin by a bomb.
1/3/1966, Tuesday (+7,602) The Russian spacecraft Venus III became the first man-made object to land on another planet when it made a hard landing on Venus. It had been launched on 16/11/1965.
28/2/1966, Monday (+7,601) (1) The Cavern Club, where The Beatles first played, went into liquidation.
(2) The Aberdeen to Ballater railway closed.
24/2/1966, Thursday (+7,597) Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana since its independence in 1957, was overthrown by an army coup and went into exile in Guinea.
21/2/1966, Monday (+7,594) The Ryde to Cowes railway (IoW) closed.
20/2/1966, Sunday (+7,593) Chester Nimitz, American General and Pacific Fleet Commander in World War II, died in San Francisco, four days before his 81st birthday.
19/2/1966. Saturday (+7,592) A 26 year old man was gassed as he attempted to cook a dinner for his wife. He had failed to realise that you had to ignite the gas. Lord Silkin’s Bill to legalise abortion ran into difficulties in the House of Lords. The Ministry of Public Works revealed plans to build an underground cafe, ticket office, and sales room, beneath Stonehenge. Statistics in the Ministry of Labour Gazette revealed the weekly average income for a British household as £24 2s 11d.
TV shows included Bewitched and Dixon of Dock Green. Thunderbirds was on at 6pm, and The Morecambe and Wise Show at 9.20 pm.
17/2/1966, Thursday (+7,590) The UK protested to South Africa about petrol supplies to Rhodesia.
14/2/1966, Monday (+7,587) Passenger services ceased on the Fawley (Southampton) branch.
9/2/1966, Wednesday (+7.582) Sophie Tucker, last of the ‘red hot mamas’, died.
8/2/1966. Tuesday (+7,581) Freddie Laker formed a cut-price transatlantic airline.
3/2/1966, Thursday (+7,576) The Soviet unmanned spacecraft, Luna IX, made the first soft landing on the Moon.
22/1/1966, Saturday (+7,564) Martin Luther King moved to a tenement flat in a deprived part of Chicago to draw attention to Black urban poverty.
19/1/1966. Wednesday (+7,561) Indira Ghandi (no relation to Mahatma Gandhi) became prime Minister of India. She succeeded her father Jawaharlal Nehru. She had been leader of the National Congress Party since 1959.
17/1/1966, Monday (+7,555) A US bomber aircraft on exercises was attempting to refuel mid-air over Spain when an error resulted in the fuel boom from the other aircraft clipping the bomber’s wing. The bomber crashed in flames; its crew parachuted to safety. However the bomber was carrying four Hydrogen Bombs. The Bombs were not armed so the electrical sequence necessary to detonate the fission bomb that would have set off the Hydrogen bomb never initiated. In other fortunate events, the parachutes on the bombs failed so they buried themselves deep in the soil, limiting radiation dispersal, and a breeze carried much of the radiation out to sea as flaming bits of aircraft rained down in the area.
11/1/1966. Tuesday (+7,553) Barclays announced plans to go into the credit card business with its Barclaycard, available free to both customers and non customers of the bank. The card would have a limit of £25, and higher amounts could be spent following a telephone check. Hoteliers objected vigorously since promoters make their profit by taking a discount from the amount charged to the card, typically 5% to 10%. Barclays announced that the discount would be 3% to 5%.
8/1/1966. Saturday (+7,550) US launched biggest offensive to date in Vietnam.
3/1/1966, Monday (+7,545) Passenger services ceased on the Heysham (Lancaster) branch. Wennington to Lancaster closed.
1/1/1966. Saturday (+7,543) Bokassa took over as leader of the Central African Republic. In 1977 he organised a lavish coronation ceremony., appointing himself ‘emperor’, which cost US$20million, a quarter of his country’s annual income.
30/12/1965, Thursday (+7,541) In the Philippines, Ferdinand E Marcos became President.
29/12/1965. Wednesday (+7,540) North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh rejected US peace talks.
28/12/1965. Tuesday (+7,539) (1) A British magistrate who was also a rally driver said he would refuse to sit on the bench when motorists were charged with exceeding the speed limit unless injury or damage was also alleged.
(2) On TV, Phil Silvers starred in Sergeant Bilko.
27/12/1965. Monday (+7,538) The North Sea oilrig Sea Gem collapsed into the sea, killing 13 people.
22/12/1965. Wednesday (+7,533) The UK introduced a national 70mph speed limit. See 24/11/1965.
19/12/1965. Sunday (+7,530) De Gaulle was re-elected president of France.
15/12/1965, Wednesday (+7,526) US astronauts achieved the first rendezvous of two vehicles in space. Gemini 6, crewed by Walter P Shirra and Thomas P Stafford, met alongside Gemini 7, crewed by Frank Borman and James A Lovell. The two craft then orbited together, about 3 metres apart, completing two earth orbits at an altitude of 315 kilometres. This exercise was vital in planning the manned lunar programme, where a lunar module would detach from the command ship to land on the Moon, then rejoin the main ship to return to Earth.
6/12/1965. Monday (+7,517) The Redundancy Payments Act came into force; it was described as a major step in the modernisation of British industry. General De Gaulle failed to win the French presidential Election outright, necessitating a second ballot between him and Monsieur Mitterand. The Governor of California received a report on the necessity of stimulating employment and education among the Black population as a means of avoiding race riots.
4/12/1965, Saturday (+7,515) The US spacecraft Gemini 7 was launched, crewed by Frank Borman and James Lovell.
29/11/1965. Monday (+7,510) (1) Mary Whitehouse began her clean up campaign concerning TV broadcasts, by setting up the National Viewers and Listeners Association to tackle ‘bad taste and irresponsibility’.
(2) The Lyme Regis branch line closed.
27/11/1965, Friday (+7,507) The York to Beverley via Market Weighton railway closed to passengers.
24/11/1965. Wednesday (+7,505) The UK government imposed an experimental 70mph speed limit on the motorways (see 22/12/1965). UK motorways, the first of which was a stretch of the M6 known then as the Preston by-pass, had had no speed limits since their inception in 1958. However early one morning in June 1964 the makers of the AC Cobra sports car decided to take their Le Mans contender out for a spin on the M1 and got it up to 185 mph. This led to questions in Parliament and the 70 mph national speed limit.
16/11/1965, Tuesday (+7,497) The Russians launched Venus III on a voyage to Venus, see 1/3/1966.
15/11/1965, Monday (+7,496) In the USA, Craig Breedlove set a new land speed record of 613 mph at Bonneville salt flats.
11/11/1965. Thursday (+7,492) Rhodesia declared UDI from Britain under Ian Smith, the Prime Minister. The opposition leaders Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe were in jail. The British Prime Minister Harold Wilson imposed trade sanctions and an oil embargo. However South Africa, and the neighbouring Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola, assisted Mr Smith in overcoming sanctions, and large multinationals evaded them anyway. However the end of Portuguese rule in Angola and Mozambique in 1975 undermined Mr Smith’s regime and assisted the transfer to Black majority rule there.
9/11/1965. Tuesday (+7,490) (1) A transmission relay in New York City failed, sparking a domino effect that led to a blackout across New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New England, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and parts of Pennsylvania and Ontario.
(2) The Act legally abolishing capital punishment in the UK came into force. This Act was largely due to the efforts of Sidney Silverman MP.
1/11/1965, Sunday (+7,481) The Callander to Dunblane railway closed.
30/10/1965, Saturday (+7,480) In North Lincolnshire, all intermediate stations on the Barnetby to Lincoln line except Market Rasen closed. The stations closed to passengers were North Kelsey, Howsham, Reepham, Langworth, Snelland, Wickenby, Holton-le-Moor and Moortown. These halts remained open for goods traffic only.
28/10/1965. Thursday (+7,478) The Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, were charged with murdering a 13-year old girl, Lesley Ann Downey, whose body had been found on the moors on 15/10/1965.
26/10/1965. Tuesday (+7,476) The Beatles went to Buckingham Palace to be presented with their MBE’s.
25/10/1965. Monday (+7,475) Harold Wilson went to Rhodesia for talks with Ian Smith. But see 11/11/1965.
22/10/1965, Friday (+7,472)
18/10/1865, Monday (+7,468) The Aviemore to Forres and Aviemore to Craigellachie railways closed. Keith Junction to Elgin via Dufftown closed.
17/10/1965. Sunday (+7,467) Anti-Vietnam War protests in the UK and USA.
12/10/1965, Tuesday (+7,462) Paul Muller, the Swiss chemist who formulated the insecticide DDT in 1939, died in Basle.
8/10/1965, Friday (+7,458) (1) Edward Heath said he would take Britain into the European Community.
(2) The Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the first telephone call as the £2 million, 620 foot tall, Post Office Tower in London’s Tottenham Court Road opened.
7/10/1965. Thursday (+7,457) Ian Smith met Harold Wilson for talks at 10 Downing Street; the talks failed to avert UDI by Rhodesia on 11/11/1965.
4/10/1965, Monday (+7,454) (1) The railway from Barnstaple to Torrington closed. Dyce (Aberdeen) to Fraserburgh closed. The Coalburn branch closed.
(2) Pope Paul VI visited New York City; the first Papal visit to America.
28/9/1965, Tuesday (+7,448) The railway from Callendar to Balquihidder closed. Killin Junction to Killin closed.
27/9/1965, Monday (+7,447) The Earby to Barnoldswick railway closed.
25/9/1965, Friday (+7,444)
22/9/1965. Wednesday (+7,442) India and Pakistan halted fighting in Kashmir.
21/9/1965, Tuesday (+7,441) BP (British Petroleum) became the first company to discover oil in the North Sea.
18/9/1965, Saturday (+7,438) The Calne branch railway (Wiltshire) closed.
14/9/1965, Tuesday (+7,434) The comprehensive school in Market Drayton, Shropshire, opened, replacing the town’s old secondary modern and grammar schools.
10/9/1965, Friday (+7,430) Yale University published a map showing that the Vikings discovered America in the 11th century.
6/9/1965. Monday (+7,426) (1) India invaded West Pakistan. A three-pronged attack threatened the Pakistani city of Lahore. Pakistan parachuted troops in behind Indian lines. The conflict in Kashmir escalated.
(2) The railway from Leven to St Andrews closed. Stopping services Ayr to Stranraer were withdrawn.
5/9/1965, Sunday (+7,425) The word "hippie" first appeared in print, in an article in the San Francisco Examiner by reporter Michael Fallon, who was writing a series about the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. "Five untroubled young 'hippies'," Fallon began, "sprawled on floor mattresses and slouched in an armchair retrieved from a debris box, flipped cigaret ashes at a seatbelt in their Waller Street flat and pondered their next move."
4/9/1965. Saturday (+7,424) Albert Schweitzer, French medical missionary, died aged 90 in Lambarene, Gabon, in the village where he had opened his hospital for natives in 1913. He was aged 90, and won the Nobel Prize in 1952.
3/9/1965, Friday (+7,423) The Cultural Revolution began in China. A reassertion of Maoist principles, it began with a speech by Marshal Lin Piao urging pupils in schools and colleges to return to the basics of the Chinese Revolution and to purge liberal and Kruschevian trends in the Chinese Communist Party. See 13/10/1968.
2/9/1965, Thursday (+7,422) Tahir Yahya was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Iraq. The vacancy was filled four days later by Arif Abd ar-Razzaq, who fled the country on September 17 after only 10 days in office
1/9/1965. Wednesday (+7,421) Pakistani troops crossed into Kashmir over the cease-fire line.
27/8/1965. Friday (+7,416) The Swiss architect Le Corbusier died.
21/8/1965, Saturday (+7,410) The US launched the spacecraft Gemini 5, crewed by Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad. It orbited the Earth for 8 days before a safe splashdown in the Atlantic.
13/8/1965, Friday (+7,402) Ikeda Hayato, Prime Minister of Japan, died.
12/8/1965, Thursday (+7,401) 19 days after the US learned that North Vietnam had bases around its capital from which to fire surface-to-air missiles, the North Vietnamese revealed that they had mobile missile units that could be taken to any location, shooting down a U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawk attack jet flying 50 miles southwest of Hanoi. Lieutenant Donald H. Brown of the USS Coral Sea was killed in the crash, becoming the first U.S. Navy flier to be downed by a SAM missile.
11/8/1965, Wednesday (+7,400) Race riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles, USA. A local Black woman, Marquette Fry, was arrested by White police officers on suspicion of drunk-driving and then beaten up. Over the next two nights rioting in the predominantly Black area spread to involve some 130 square kilometres, with cars and shops being looted and burnt. On 13/8/1965 2,000 national Guardsmen arrived to support the thousands of police in enforcing an 8.pm curfew for the next three nights. The riots saw the deaths of 34 people, mostly Black civilians shot by National Guards or police.
10/8/1965, Tuesday (+7,399) The agreement between the United States and the Philippines on U.S. military bases was formally amended, returning exclusive jurisdiction over the Port of Manila and the city of Olongapo to the Philippines, and ceding more than 1,200 km2 of territory back to the Philippine government.
9/8/1965. Monday (+7,398) Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia. It became an independent Republic within the Commonwealth.
6/8/1965, Friday (+7,395) US Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, outlawing racial discrimination in voting procedures.
2/8/1965, Monday (+7,391) A UK White Paper limited immigration from the Commonwealth.
1/8/1965, Sunday (+7,390) General Lo Jui-ching, the Chief of Joint Staff of the armed forces of the People's Republic of China, declared that the Chinese were ready to fight the United States again, as they had in the Korean War.
31/7/1965, Saturday (+7,389) (1) The last advert for cigarettes appeared on British TV.
(2) J K Rowling, British author of the Harry Potter series, was born.
30/7/1965, Friday (+7,388) Coronation Street was the top TV show
29/7/1965, Thursday (+7,387) The governments of Algeria and France signed an agreement which allowed French petroleum companies to retain their concessions for the right to drill for oil in Algeria, but required also that they cooperate with Algeria's government-owned oil and gas consortium.
28/7/1965. Wednesday (+7,386) (1) US President Lyndon Johnson sent a further 50,000 ground troops to Vietnam. The US now had 175,000 troops in Vietnam.
(2) Edward Heath, born 9/7/1916, became leader of the Conservative Party. Sir Alec Douglas Home had resigned as leader on 22/5/1965. Heath was leader until 1975 when Mrs Thatcher became Party leader (11/2/1975). Heath received 155 votes against 133 for Reginald Maudling and 15 for Enoch Powell. At 49 Heath was the youngest leader of the Conservative Party for a century.
27/7/1965, Tuesday (+7,385) The Maldives Islands became independent, having been a British Protectorate since 1887.
26/7/1965, Monday (+7,384) The Post Office announced that in future UK telephone numbers would not include letters.
19/7/1965, Monday (+7,377) Syngman Rhee, first President of the Republic of Korea (1948-60) died in Hawaii.
16/7/1965. Friday (+7,374) The seven-mile Mont Blanc road tunnel opened, linking France with Italy. This road tunnel had first been proposed by French engineer Lepiney back in 1870. The tunnel took 6 years to build.
15/7/1965, Thursday (+7,373) Mariner 4 flew by Mars, returning images of the planet’s surface. It revealed that Mars was covered with impact craters, demonstrating a lack of geological activity. A measurement of the changes in radio transmissions as the signals passed through the Martian atmosphere also showed that surface pressure was 94% less than had been predicted, showing that it was mostly carbon dioxide and that the Martian ice caps were actually frozen CO2.
14/7/1965, Wednesday (+7,372) US politician Adlai Ewing Stevenson, born 5/2/1900 in Los Angeles, California, died suddenly.
7/7/1965, Wednesday (+7,365)
30/6/1965, Wednesday (+7,358) India and Pakistan agreed a ceasefire.
29/6/1965, Tuesday (+7,357) The first US military ground action began in Vietnam.
27/6/1965, Sunday (+7,355)
24/6/1965, Thursday (+7,352) South Vietnam severed relations with France.
23/6/1965, Wednesday (+7,351) The USSR rejected a Vietnam peace initiative proposed by Harold Wilson.
22/6/1965, Tuesday (+7,350) The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was signed in Tokyo, almost twenty years after South Korea had been liberated from the Japanese Empire.
21/6/1965, Monday (+7,349) The UK government announced that the Broad Street to Richmond railway service, earmarked for closure by Beeching, would be reprieved.
20/6/1965, Sunday (+7,348) Police in Algiers broke up demonstrations by people who had taken to the streets chanting slogans in support of deposed President Ben Bella.
19/6/1965, Saturday (+7,347) The President of Algeria, Ben Bella, was overthrown in a military coup by his Minister of Defence, Colonel Houari Boumedienne.
18/6/1965, Friday (+7,346) An alcohol limit was to be set for UK drivers.
16/6/1965, Wednesday (+7,344)
14/6/1965, Monday (+7,342) The railway from Eridge to Hailsham closed. Christs Hospital to Guildford closed. Dumfries to Glenluce closed.
13/6/1965, Sunday (+7,341) Martin Buber, Austrian-born Israeli Jewish philosopher, died aged 87.
12/6/1965. Saturday (+7,340) The Beatles were made MBEs in the Queen’s birthday honours. A number of other holders of the medal returned theirs in disgust.
11/6/1965, Friday (+7,339) President Johnson declared that the promotion of learning the English language should be a major policy in American foreign aid, and directed the Peace Corps, the United States Agency for International Development and other organizations to encourage the such study, in what was viewed as elevating "the status of English as an international language.
10/6/1965, Thursday (+7,338) A British European Airways De Havilland jet airliner flying from Paris to London made the first landing by automatic control.
3/6/1965, Thursday (+7,331) Gemini IV was launched, crewed by James McDivitt and Edward White. During the flight, Edward H White became the first man to walk in space, for 20 minutes.
31/5/1965. Monday (+7,328) Major US air strikes in Vietnam saved the South Vietnamese forces from annihilation, reported The Guardian.
Within a day of moving into a semi detached house on a Staffordshire housing estate a Jamaican family was approached by the resident’ association with an offer to buy them out. ‘We are not against coloured people’ said the chairman, ‘but we are concerned about maintaining the value of our house’.
Duty free cigarettes went on sale at Heathrow Airport at £1 for 200. A spokesman for Tetley’s, Britain’s biggest teabag manufacturer, said they would have 25% of the market by 1975.
24/5/1965, Monday (+7,321) Westminster announced that Britain was to switch to metric measurements.
21/5/1965. Friday (+7,318) Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer who was knighted n 1944, died in Stanmore, Middlesex.
12/5/1965. Wednesday (+7,309) West Germany established diplomatic relations with Israel.
3/5/1965, Monday (+7,300) (1) Major earthquake hit San Salvador City, El Salvador.
(2) The railway from Maud to Peterhead closed. Ballinluig to Aberfeldy closed. Kirkcudbright to Castle Douglas closed. Stopping services Inverness to Elgin were withdrawn. Stopping services Perth to Inverness were withdrawn.
2/5/1965. Sunday (+7,299) The British satellite, Early Bird, began transmitting TV programmes to 300 million viewers in 24 countries.
28/4/1965, Wednesday (+7,295) US forces invaded the Dominican Republic. This country had been in political turmoil since the death of the longstanding dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961. Free elections in December 1962 brought the mildly left-wing Juan Bosch to power, but he was quickly deposed in a military coup. This right-wing military junta was itself deposed in a further coup led by Colonel Francisco Caama, and Bosch was invited to return from exile and restore democracy. However the US was extremely wary, after Cuba, of any more leftist regimes being established in the Caribbean. On 28/4 US troops occupied the western half of the capital, Santo Domingo, whilst in the east right-wing generals took over the San Isidro air base, which was then opened to US military flights. However the US did not want to undertake a permanent occupation of the Dominican Republic; US troops were replaced by a Pan-American force under Brazilian command, and free elections organised in 1966, won by President Joaquin Balaguer.
26/4/1965, Monday (+7,293) The railway from Welwyn to Dunstable via Luton closed.
23/4/1965. Friday (+7,290) (1) Heavy US air raids on North Vietnam.
(2) The Pennine Way, 250 miles from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in Roxburghshire, opened. This was the first long distance footpath in Britain.
17/4/1965, Saturday (+7,284) US students protested against US bombing in Vietnam.
16/4/1965, Friday (+7,283) the Ditton Priors branch railway, Shropshire, closed.
13/4/1965, Tuesday (+7,280)
9/4/1965. Friday (+7,276) Border clashes between India and Pakistan.
4/4/1965. Sunday (+7,271) US jets shot down by North Vietnam.
1/4/1965, Thursday (+7,268) Greater London was created, from the City of London and 32 boroughs.
29/3/1965, Monday (+7,265) The railway from West Drayton to Staines, west London, was closed to passengers.
28/3/1965. Sunday (+7,264) Major earthquake in Chile.
27/3/1965, Saturday (+7,263)
24/3/1965. Wednesday (+7,260) David Steel became Britain’s youngest MP at the age of 26.
23/3/1965, Tuesday (+7,259) US spacecraft Gemini I was launched, crewed by Virgil Grissom and John Young.
22/3/1965, Monday (+7,258) The railway from Arthington to Otley closed. Ilkley to Skipton closed.
18/3/1965. Thursday (+7,254) (1) The first walk in space, lasting about 10 minutes, was made by Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, from the spaceship Voskhod 2.
(2) Farouk I, King of Egypt from 1936 to 1952, died in exile in Italy.
15/3/1965. Monday (+7,251) Doctor Martin Luther King led a Freedom March in Selma, Alabama, in defiance of a court ban. State police stopped the procession with tear gas.
8/3/1965, Monday (+7,244) (1) The US stepped up military action in Vietnam. 3,500 American Marines, the first combat troops to arrive in Vietnam, landed, welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd. By July 1965 there were 75,000 US troops in Vietnam, by end-1965 184,000, and by early 1968, 510,000.
(2) The Bishop Auckland to Crook railway closed. Scarborough to Whitby closed. Rillington via Pickering to Grosmont (Whitby) closed.
7/3/1965, Sunday (+7,243) US State Troopers and police attacked some 600 Civil Rights marchers with clubs, whips, and tear gas on the Selma Freedom March from Selma, Alabama, to the State capital, Alabama. 17 marchers were hospitalised and scores more injured.
1/3/1865, Monday (+7,237) The Torrington to Halwill railway closed.
23/2/1965, Tuesday (+7,231) Stan Laurel, English-born American film comedian along with Oliver Hardy, died aged 74.
22/2/1965, Monday (+7,230) The Carmarthen to Aberystwyth railway closed.
21/2/1965. Sunday (+7,229) American Black leader Malcolm X was shot dead whilst addressing a meeting in New York. He was shot 15 times at point-blank range by three gunmen, and was dead on arrival at hospital. Born on 19/5/1925 in Nebraska, Malcolm X was the son of a Baptist minister, Earl Little, who was a supporter of the Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Little received death threats and in 1931 his body was found, mutilated. Malcolm dropped out of school and by 1942 was involved in the criminal gangs of Harlem, New York. He was imprisoned for burglary in 1946 and in the same year converted to an Islamic sect led by Elijah Mohammed. Malcolm changed his surname to X because he viewed Little as a slave name. Out on parole in 1952, Malcolm preached for the sect, supporting Black separatism and violence. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1964 and then changed his views to supporting all races. He founded the Organisation of Afro-American Unity and toured many countries before he was assassinated.
18/2/1965. Thursday (+7,226) The Gambia, the smallest country in Africa, became an independent monarchy. It had been a British colony since 1843.
16/2/1965, Tuesday (+7,224) British Rail published plans, based on Beeching’s, to halve the rail network.
15/2/1965, Monday (+7,223) Canada flew the newly-adopted maple leaf flag for the first time.
12/2/1965, Friday (+7,220)
8/2/1965. Monday (+7,216) The British Government, Health Minister Kenneth Robinson, announced a ban on cigarette advertising on TV, to take effect on 31/7/1965.
7/2/1965. Sunday (+7,215) US aircraft bombed North Vietnam. The US hoped that by relying on a sustained air bombing campaign, US casualties would be minimised.
5/2/1965, Friday (+7,213)
3/2/1965, Wednesday (+7,211) Spain began a blockade of Gibraltar.
2/2/1965, Tuesday (+7,210) In the UK, PM Harold Wilson announced the cancellation of three expensive defence projects. Two were for aircraft capable of vertical takeoffs and landing, the Armstrong Whitworth AW.681 was a large military transport plane, and the Hawker Siddeley P.1154 was supersonic fighter aircraft. The third, the British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 was a high-speed attack and reconnaissance jet. Wilson said that the cost of the research and development for the TSR-2 alone had already reached £750 million, more than eight times the original forecast, and that each of the 150 planned TSR-2s would cost £4 million each.
1/2/1965, Monday (+7,209) In the UK, NHS prescription charges were removed. They were re-introduced on 10/6/1968.
31/1/1965, Sunday (+7,208) The Yugoslavian cargo ship SS Rascisce sank in the Ionian Sea, but all 30 crew were rescued
30/1/1965, Saturday (+7,207) State funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, see 24/1/1965.
24/1/1965. Sunday (+7,201) Sir Winston Churchill died, aged 90, exactly 70 years after his father died. He was buried in Bladon churchyard, within sight of Blenheim Palace, his birthplace. He was born, on 30/11/1874, a descendant of the Duke of Marlborough, in Blenheim Palace. His funeral was on 30/1/1965, when Big Ben was silenced.
20/1/1965, Wednesday (+7,197) (1) LB Johnson was inaugurated as US President.
(2) American disc jockey Alan Freed died in California. He created the phrase ‘Rock’n’Roll’.
19/1/1965, Tuesday (+7,196) The unmanned Gemini 2 was launched on a suborbital test of various spacecraft systems, in preparation for the first US mission to send two astronauts into space.
18/1/1965, Monday (+7,195) The railway from Nuneaton to Coventry closed. Whitchurch to Oswestry and Buttington closed. Ruabon to Barmouth closed.
7/1/1965. Thursday (+7,184) Indonesia left the United Nations, under President Sukarno.
4/1/1965. Monday (+7,181) (1) The poet and playwright T S Eliot died. He was born on 26/9/1888 in Saint Loius, Missouri. After studying at Harvard University he went to Paris in 1910 to teach French literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne. Later, after the start of World War One, he went to Merton College, Oxford, to read Greek Philosophy. In 1915 he married Vivien Haigh-Wood and in 1919 became a British citizen. His first volume of poetry, Prufrock and other Observations, was published in 1917 followed by Poems in 1919. In 1922 The Waste Land, regarded as his greatest poem, reflected the discontent that followed the trauma of the Great War. In 1948 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
(2) The Leek to Uttoxeter railway closed. Lostwithiel to Fowey closed. Stopping services Swindon to Bristol withdrawn. Bristol to Worcester stopping services withdrawn. Glasgow to Carlisle stopping services withdrawn.
30/12/1964. Wednesday (+7,176) 500 were arrested in India on suspicion of spying for China.
28/12/1964, Monday (+7,174) The railway from Melton Constable to Sheringham closed.
21/12/1964. Monday (+7,167) The UK Commons voted to end capital punishment.
12/12/1964. Saturday (7,158) Kenya became a republic in the Commonwealth. Kenyatta continued as head of state, see 12/12/1963.
10/12/1964, Thursday (+7,156) Dorothy Hodgkin became the first British woman to win a Nobel Prize. She researched the structure of proteins such as insulin.
9/12/1964, Wednesday (+7,155) English poet Dame Edith Sitwell died, aged 77.
8/12/1964, Tuesday (+7,154) Simon Marks, successful retailer in conjunction with Thomas Spencer, knighted in 1944, and made a peer in 1961, died in London at his head office.
7/12/1964, Monday (+7,153) In London, the railway from Edmonton to Angel Road closed. Caernarvon to Afon Wen closed. Gaerwen to Amlwch (Anglesey) closed.
30/11/1964, Monday (+7,146) The railway from Darlington to Midedleton in Teesdale via Barnard Castle closed.
28/11/1964, Saturday (+7,144) Mariner 4 was launched; 228 days later it passed within 9,700 kilometres of Mars.
23/11/1964, Monday (+7,139) (1) In an attempt to avert a Sterling Crisis, the Bank of England raised rates from 5% to 7%. This was merely seen by the markets as a sign of panic and the next day, a massive sell off of Sterling began. On 26/10/1964 a temporary 15% charge was placed on imports to the UK to rectify the balance of trade deficit. On 2/12/1964 the UK was forced to draw US$ 1 billion from the IMF. Further IMF funds were drawn during 1965. The import charge was reduced to 10% on 22/2/1965.
(2) The first British commercial radio station, Radio Manx, began broadcasting.
(3) The Severn Beach to Pilning railway closed.
21/11/1964, Saturday (+7,137) The Verrazano Narrows suspension bridge, across the entrance to New York Harbour, opened to traffic.
19/11/1964. Thursday (+7,135) Major offensive by South Vietnam against the North began.
17/11/1964, Tuesday (+7,133) The UK imposed an arms embargo on South Africa because of its apartheid policy.
11/11/1964, Wednesday (+7,127) In the UK, the new Labour Chancellor introduced a mildly deflationary budget. Measures included 6d a gallon more tax on petrol.
4/11/1964. Wednesday (+7,120) Lyndon B Johnson was elected 36th US President.
2/11/1964. Monday (+7,118) (1) King Faisal became King of Saudi Arabia, succeeding his brother.
(2) First showing of the TV serial Crossroads.
(3) The Fleetwood (Blackpool) branch line closed to passengers. The Gloucester Grange Court to Hereford railway closed. Berkeley Road to Sharpness closed. The Newbiggin branch (Newcastle on Tyne) closed.
29/10/1964, Thursday (+7,114) The name of Tanzania was officially adopted, for the union this day of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
28/10/1964, Wednesday (+7,113) Rioting in Catholic areas of Belfast after a Republican flag was removed by the police.
27/10/1964, Tuesday (+7,112) Wilson warned Rhodesia that a declaration of UDI would be treason.
24/10/1964. Saturday (+7,109) Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda was the first President. This ended 75 years of British rule.
20/10/1964, Tuesday (+7,105) Herbert Hoover, American Republican and 31st President from 1929 to 1933, died in New York City aged 90.
19/10/1964, Monday (+7,104) The Hull to Hornsea railway closed to passengers. Hull to Withernsea closed to passengers.
17/10/1964, Saturday (+7,102)
16/10/1964, Friday (+7,101) China exploded a nuclear weapon at Lop Nor.
15/10/1964. Thursday (+7,100) (1) Labour won the UK General Election with a majority of 4. Labour had 317 seats, the Conservatives 304, and the Liberals 9. Harold Wilson was the new Prime Minister. He inherited a balance of payments deficit of nearly £700 million.
(2) Nikita Khrushchev was replaced, in the USSR, as First Secretary of the Communist Party by Leonid Brezhnev and as Prime Minister by Alexei Kosygin.
14/10/1964. Wednesday (+7,099) Martin Luther King received the Nobel Peace Prize.
12/10/1964. Monday (+7,097) (1) The Worksop (Shireoaks East) to Nottingham line closed to passengers.
(2) Russia launched the first three man space ship.
10/10/1964. Saturday (+7,095) The 18th Olympic Games opened in Tokyo.
9/10/1964. Friday (+7,094) A planned tour by the Rolling Stones to South Africa was cancelled due to the British Musician’s Union’s anti-apartheid embargo.
6/10/1964, Tuesday (+7,091)
5/10/1964, Monday (+7.090) Passenger services between Belmont and Harrow, north London, ceased, see 15/9/1952. Dereham to Wells next the Sea closed. Lanark to Muirkirk closed.
4/10/1964, Sunday (+7,089) Services on the Moorgate to Finsbury Park line, north London, were cut back to Drayton Park to allow for Victoria Line trains at Finsbury Park, see 1/9/1968.
1/10/1964, Thursday (+7,086)
28/9/1964. Monday (+7,083) Harpo Marx, the silent one who chased girls and played the harp, died aged 75.
27/9/1964, Sunday (+7,082) The Warren Report was published, stating that Lee Harvey Oswald alone was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy. Conspiracy theorists were not satisfied.
21/9/1964. Monday (+7,076) Malta became independent of Britain, after 164 years of British rule.
15/9/1964, Tuesday (+7,070) The Sun was first published.
14/9/1964. Monday (+7,069) The British daily newspaper, The Herald, closed and was replaced by The Sun.
10/9/1964, Thursday (+7,065)
7/9/1964, Monday (+7,062) The railway from Audley End to Bartlow closed to passengers. The railway from Stafford to Wellington closed to passengers. Carlisle to Silloth closed to passengers. Derby Friargate to Nottingham via West Hallam closed. Middleton to Middleton Junction (Oldham) closed. Leicester (London Road) to Burton on Trent closed. Stalybridge to Diggle closed. Southport to Preston closed. The Newport Pagnell branch closed. Stopping services between Shrewsbury and Wellington were withdrawn. Bristol to Portishead closed. Worcester Shrub Hill to Bromyard closed. North Walsham to Mundesley on Sea closed.
6/9/1964, Sunday (+7,061) (1) Ian Smith arrived in the UK for talks on independence.
(2) Trains from Waterloo Station, London, ceased to serve destinations beyond Exeter St David’s.
5/9/1964, Saturday (+7,060)
4//9/1964. Friday (+7,059) Queen Elizabeth II opened the Forth Road Bridge. It was 6,156 feet long, with a centre span of 3,300 feet. Construction began 21/11/1958.
3/9/1964, Thursday (+7,058) Britain agreed to support Malaysia against threats from Indonesia.
1/9/1964, Tuesday (+7,056)
22/8/1964, Saturday (+7,046) BBC2 first broadcast Match of the Day; Arsenal played Liverpool at their Anfield ground, watched by a TV audience of 20,000 in black and white. Over 40,000 actually attended the ground. In 2014 BBC1’s Match of the Day has a TV audience of 3.6 million. In 1964 each of the Football League Clubs made £136 from the TV programme; in 2014 each Club made £3 million from the show.
21/8/1964, Friday (+7,045) In London, three women were found guilty of indecency for wearing ‘topless’ dresses.
20/8/1964. Thursday (+7,044) South Africa was banned from the Olympics because of its apartheid policy.
17/8/1964, Monday (+7,041) Greece withdrew its forces from NATO because of tension with Turkey over Cyprus.
13/8/1964. Thursday (+7,037) The last hangings in Britain took place – the murderers Peter Anthony Allen at Walton Prison, Liverpool, and John Robson Walby at Strangeways Prison, Manchester.
12/8/1964, Wednesday (+7,036) Ian Fleming, British author and creator of James Bond, died aged 56.
11/8/1964, Tuesday (+7,035)
10/8/1964. Monday (+7,034) (1) The Roxburgh to Jedburgh railway closed (goods); passenger services ceased after floods on 13/8/1948.
(2) An emergency casualty station had to be set up in Brighton to deal with a constant stream of hysterical girls overcome during a performance of the Rolling Stones.
9/8/1964, Sunday (+7,033) The United Nations ordered a ceasefire in Cyprus.
8/8/1964. Saturday (+7,032) Turkish planes attacked Cyprus.
2/8/1964, Sunday (+7,026) (1) North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US destroyer Maddox, which was patrolling 16 km off the North Vietnamese coast. One Vietnamese boat was sunk, another badly damaged; the Maddox was undamaged and continued her patrol. On the stormy night of 4-5/8/1964 the radar allegedly spotted five Vietnamese boats in ‘attack formation’; in fact these boats almost certainly did not exist. Either the radar image was misinterpreted, or were fabricated to justify further US actions in Vietnam. US President Johnson got the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed through Congress; authorising ‘any necessary measures’ to repel attacks on US forces or US allies, including South Vietnam. This resolution justified a large escalation in US activity in Vietnam from 1965 onwards.
(2) US Congress passed the Civil Rights Act 1964.
31/7/1964, Friday (+7,024) NASA succeeded in landing the Ranger 7 probe on the Moon.
27/7/1964. Monday (+7,020) Sir Winston Churchill last appeared in the House of Commons. He died on 24/1/1965.
17/7/1964. Friday (+7,010) Donald Campbell set a world land speed record of 403mph. He was driving a car called Bluebird, on the salt flats at Lake Eyre, South Australia.
16/7/1964, Thursday (+7,009) The Rolling Stones had their first UK No.1 hit with It’s All Over Now.
13/7/1964, Monday (+7,006) Freight traffic ceased on the West Drayton to Vine Street (Uxbridge) line, closing it completely, see 10/9/1962.
10/7/1964, Friday (+7,003) The Bahamas became independent from Britain.
6/7/1964. Monday (+6,999) (1) The Craigendoran to Arrochar and Tarbert railway closed. Crieff to Gleneagles closed. Tillnyaught to Banff closed.
(2) Malawi, formerly Nyasaland, became independent. It had been a British Protectorate since 1891. The Scottish explorer David Livingstone named the lake, Lake Nyasa, after being told that was its name by the locals; however nyasa meant ‘mass of waters’. So Lake Nyasa meant ‘lake-lake’. On independence the name Malawi was chosen, from the former 16th century Kingdom of Maravi, believed to have ruled over the Zambesi river as far as Mombasa.
2/7/1964. Thursday (+6,995) President Johnson of the USA signed the Civil Rights Bill prohibiting racial discrimination.
30/6/1964, Tuesday (+6,993) UN troops ceased fighting in the Congo.
15/6/1964, Monday (+6,978) (1) The Barry to Bridgend railway closed. St Boswells to Tweedmouth closed to passengers. The Thetford to Swaffham railway closed to passengers. The Langholm (Carlisle) branch railway closed. Johnston to Neyland closed to passengers.
(2) Courtney Cox, US actress, was born.
14/6/1964. Sunday (+6,977) Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island, seven miles off Cape Town. There were international protests. See 27/1/1963.
12/6/1964, Friday (+6,975)
11/6/1964, Thursday (+6,974) Walter Seifert attacked a school in Cologne, Germany, with a home-made flamethrower and a lance, killing 8 pupils and 2 teachers, and injuring 22 others. He then committed suicide by self-poisoning.
10/6/1964, Wednesday (+6,973) The U.S. Senate voted closure of the Civil Rights Bill after a 75-day filibuster.
9/6/1964. Tuesday (+6,972) British newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook died, aged 85.
7/6/1964, Sunday (+6,970)
5/6/1964, Friday (+6,968) The first British space flight, as the Blue Streak rocket took off from Woomera in Australia.
4/6/1964, Thursday (+6,967) The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 189, condemning military incursions into Cambodia.
3/6/1964, Wednesday (+6,966) The Rolling Stones began their first US tour.
2/6/1964. Tuesday (+6,965) The PLO was created in Jerusalem.
27/5/1964 Wednesday (+6,959) The Indian statesman 'Pandit' Nehru died, aged 74, having been the first Prime Minister of India since independence in 1947. He was succeeded by Lal Shastri.
18/5/1964, Monday (+6,950) Mods and Rockers clashed at UK south coast resorts.
17/5/1964, Sunday (+6,949) Bob Dylan made his first major London appearance, at the Royal Albert Hall.
14/5/1964. Thursday (+6,946) Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser opened the first stage of the Aswan Dam in Egypt. The Nile had been diverted four years earlier to build the dam, which will create a lake 6 miles wide and 350 miles long, displacing 100,000 people but irrigating a million acres of desert for farmland. Many of Egypt’s historic sites were also flooded, but the buildings were moved to safe locations.
6/5/1964, Wednesday (+6,938) The Northampton to Peterborough via Wellingborough line closed.
5/5/1964, Tuesday (+6,937) Heike Henkel, German athlete, was born in Kiel
4/5/1964, Monday (+6,936) The Brockenhurst to West Moors railway (Bournemouth) closed. The railway from Alderbury Junction (Salisbury) to West Moors (Poole) closed. Bishop Auckland to Durham closed. Sunderland to Durham closed.
3/5/1964, Sunday (+6,935) In the Lebanese general election, Independent candidates won the majority of seats, on a voter turnout of 53.0%.
2/5/1964, Saturday (+6,934) Nancy, Lady Astor, the first woman to sit in the House of Commons in 1919, died aged 84.
26/4/1964. Sunday (+6,928) Tanganyika and Zanzibar united as Tanzania. Julius Nyerere was the first President.
22/4/1964, Wednesday (+6,924) British businesswoman Greville Wynne who had been imprisoned in the USSR for a year on spying charges was exchanged for the Soviet agent Gordon Lonsdale.
21/4/1964. Tuesday (+6,923) BBC2 began transmission. The first programme was Play School.
19/4/1964, Sunday (+6,921)
17/4/1964, Friday (+6,919) The Rolling Stones released their first LP.
16/4/1964. Thursday (+6,918) Twelve members of the Great Train Robbers were sentenced to a total of 307 years in jail.
15/4/1964, Wednesday (+6,917) The Langport to Yeovil railway closed.
13/4/1964. Monday (+6,915) Ian Smith became Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He succeeded Winston Field, who had resigned.
9/4/1964. Thursday (+6,911) The first driverless trains ran on the London Underground. They were first trialled on the Central Line between Woodford and Hainault.
6/4/1964, Monday (+6,908) The railway from Dalrymple Junction to Dalmellingtion (Ayr) closed. Kilmarnock to Irvine closed. Hurlford to Darvel closed. The Lossiemouth branch (Elgin) closed.
5/4/1964, Sunday (+6,907) Douglas MacArthur, American General and commander in the Pacific during World War Two, died in Washington DC aged 84.
4/4/1964, Saturday (-6,906) (1) Archbishop Makarios rejected the 1960 treaty; fighting broke out in Cyprus.
(2) The last goods train ran from Mill Hill East to Edgware; the tracks were lifted later that year. The Malmesbury branch line closed to passengers.
1/4/1964, Wednesday (+6,903) President Goulart of Brazil was overthrown in a military coup. President Johnson of the USA feared a socialist takeover.
30/3/1964, Monday (+6,901) Mods and Rockers clashed on the seafront at Clacton.
28/3/1964. Saturday (+6,899) (1) Radio Caroline, Britain’s first private radio broadcasting station, began broadcasting from The Channel outside British waters.
27/3/1964. Friday (+6,898) (1) A UN peace force took over in Cyprus.
(2) Powerful earthquake, magnitude 9.2, hit Alaska, 139 died
24/3/1964, Tuesday (+6,895) Stanstead, Essex, was provisionally chosen as the site of London’s third airport.
22/3/1964. Sunday (+6,893) Anti-Muslim violence broke out in India.
20/3/1964, Friday (+6,891) Irish playwright Brendan Behan died.
19/3/1964. Thursday (+6,890) Harold Wilson presented each of The Beatles with a silver heart as joint winners of the Show Business Personality of 1963 award.
17/3/1964, Tuesday (+6,888)
15/3/1964, Sunday (+6,886) Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton married in Montreal.
14/3/1964. Saturday (+6,885) Jack Ruby, aged 52, was found guilty in Dallas of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, alleged assassin of President Kennedy (see 22/11/1963). He was sentenced to death but died of a blood clot on the lung in 1967.
12/3/1964, Thursday (+6,883)
11/3/1964, Wednesday (+6,882) South Africa left the International Labour Organisation
10/3/1964, Tuesday (+6,881) Prince Edward (Edward Antony Richard Louis) was born in Buckingham Palace, the third son of Elizabeth II.
6/3/1964, Friday (+6,877) Constantine II became king of the Hellenes, succeeding his father Paul I.
2/3/1964, Monday (+6,873) Blyton railway station, Lincolnshire, closed to freight. Passenger services had been withdrawn in February 1959. The Etruria to Kidsgrove railway closed. Middlesborough to Guisborough closed.
21/2/1964. Friday (-6,863) £10 notes were issued for the first time since World War Two.
11/2/1964. Tuesday (+6,853) Fighting broke out at Limassol, Cyprus, between Greeks and Turks.
8/2/1964, Saturday (+6,850) The Beatles began their first US tour.
7/2/1964, Friday (+6,849) 25,000 fans gathered at Kennedy Airport to greet the Beatles on their first visit to America.
6/2/1964. Thursday (+6,848) Britain and France reaffirmed agreement to build a Channel Tunnel.
3/2/1964. Monday (+6,845) China challenged the USSR for leadership of the Communist world.
1/2/1964. Saturday (+6,843) The mayor of Notasulga, Alabama, turned away six black pupils from an all white school.
EMI’s managing director announced that The Beatles were making over £500,000 a month. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain called for unauthorised possession of amphetamines to be made an offence.
27/1/1964. Monday (+6,,838) France recognised Communist China.
20/1/1964. Monday (+6,831) In the UK, the trial of the Great Train Robbers began.
17/1/1964, Friday (+6,828) The top UK TV programme was Steptoe and Son.
13/1/1964. Monday (+6,824) (1) In Calcutta, 200 died in Muslim-Hindu riots.
(2) The Beatles entered the US Charts at no. 45 with I Wanna Hold Your Hand.
12/1/1964, Sunday (+6,823) Zanzibar was proclaimed a republic. The Sultan of Zanzibar was banished from the country.
11/1/1964. Saturday (+6,822) Health experts in America published the first warnings that cigarettes could be dangerous for your health.
7/1/1964, Tuesday (+6,818)
6/1/1964. Monday (+6,817) (1) The Church Fenton to Wetherby railway closed. Cross Gates (Leeds) to Harrogate via Wetherby closed.
(2) Pope Paul VI finished a three-day tour of the Holy Land, the first Pope to visit there since Christianity began. He was also the first Pope to leave Italy for over 150 years. On 5/1/1964 Pope Paul VI met the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in Jerusalem, the first meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches for 500 years.
5/1/1964, Sunday (+6,816) The first automatic ticket barrier on the London Underground was installed, at Stamford Brook station.
1/1/1964. Wednesday (+6,812) The first Top of the Pops was broadcast, with Jimmy Savile as its presenter.
22/12/1963, Sunday (+6.802) Violent clashes between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus; UN Peace Forces intervened.
21/12/1963, Saturday (+6,801) Leeds Rugby Club, the first with undersoil heating, used it during a game with Dewsbury.
15/12/1963, Sunday (+6,795)
12/12/1963. Thursday (+6,792) Kenya became independent, with Kenyatta as President.
11/12/1963, Wednesday (+6,791) In Los Angeles, Frank Sinatra Jr was set free after his father paid kidnappers a US$ 240,000 ransom.
10/12/1963. Tuesday (+6,790) Zanzibar became independent. It had been a British Protectorate since 1890.
8/12/1963, Sunday (+6,788) Sarit Dhanarajata, Prime Minister of Thailand, died.
25/11/1963, Monday (+6,775) State funeral of President Kennedy.
24/11/1963, Sunday (+6,774) Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President Kennedy, was himself shot dead by Jack Ruby.
23/11/1963. Saturday (+6,773) The BBC screened the first episode of Dr Who. The doctor was played by William Hartnell.
22/11/1963. Friday (+6,772) John F Kennedy was assassinated, in Dallas, Texas, during the run up to the 1964 USA presidential election. He had become President of the USA in 1960, defeating Richard M Nixon. Lee Harvey Oswald, the man charged with the killing, was shot on 24/11/1963 by club owner Jack Ruby at Dallas Police headquarters. Vice President Lyndon Johnson completed the remainder of his term. See 14/3/1964.
18/11/1963. Monday (+6,768) (1) The Dartford Tunnel was opened.
(2) The push button phone was introduced.
14/11/1963. Thursday (+6,764) The island of Surtsey, off Iceland, was born as an undersea volcano erupted.
9/11/1963, Saturday (+6,759) A mining disaster at Omuta, Japan, killed 442.
4/11/1963, Monday (+6,754) The Havant to Hayling Island railway closed.
2/11/1963, Saturday (+6,752) The first President of Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated, along with his brother, in a military coup encouraged by the CIA.
1/11/1963, Friday (+6,751) In South Vietnam, a coup organised by General Duong Van Minh overthrew President Ngo Dinh Diem.
28/10/1963, Monday (+6,747) The railway from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes closed.
19/10/1963. Saturday (+6,738) Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Conservative, became Prime Minister. Harold Macmillan resigned as Prime Minister on 18/10/1963.
11/10/1963, Friday (+6,730) Jean Cocteau, French artist (born 1889) died.
10/10/1963, Thursday (+6,729) Harold Macmillan announced he would resign as Prime Minister, due to ill-health and the Profumo Affair; see 5/6/1963 and 19/10/1963.
9/10/1963, Wednesday (+6,728) Three thousand were killed as the Vaijont Dam burst in the Italian Alps. Despite warnings that the valley sides were being destabilised as the dam filled, work continued until a rock slide hit the site.
7/10/1963, Monday (+6,727) The railway from Exeter to Morebath via Tiverton closed to passengers.
1/10/1963. Tuesday (+6,720) Nigeria became a republic within the Commonwealth.
20/9/1963, Friday (+6,709) The first pre-natal blood transfusion was performed at the National Women’s hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, by Professor George Green, on a child born to Mrs E McLeod.
19/9/1963, Thursday (+6,708) France and Britain agreed to build a Channel Tunnel.
16/9/1963. Monday (+6,705) Malaysia became independent from Britain; a mob of over 100,000 burned down the British Embassy. The name Malaysia was adopted, from the previous name, Federation of Malaya, when joined by Singapore and Sarawak.
14/9/1963, Saturday (+6,703) The Brent to Kingsbridge railway, Devon, closed.
10/9/1963. Tuesday (+6,699) The people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain under British rule.
9/9/1963, Monday (+6,698) The Shrewsbury to Bewdley railway closed. Llandeilo to Carmarthen closed. Pyle to Porthcawl closed. The Abingdon branch closed to passengers. Tiverton Junction to Hemyock closed. Wellington to Nantwich via Market Drayton closed. The Witham to Yatton via Wells railway closed.
7/9/1963, Saturday (+6,696)
5/9/1963. Thursday (+6,694) Christine Keeler, one of the girls at the centre of the Profumo scandal, was arrested and charged with perjury. She was sentenced to nine months on 6/12/1963. See 5/6/1963.
4/9/1963, Wednesday (+6,693) (1) Desegregation riots in Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
(2) Robert Schuman, French Prime Minister, died.
2/9/1963, Monday (+6,691) George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, halted integration of Black and White students by surrounding Tuskegee High School with state troopers. See 15/5/1972.
1/9/1963, Sunday (+6,690) About 100,000 people in two Japanese cities demonstrated against the presence of American nuclear submarines.
31/8/1963, Saturday (+6,689) The ‘hot line’, linking the Kremlin and the White House, went into operation.
30/8/1963, Friday (+6,688) Guy Burgess, Cambridge spy who worked for the Soviet Union, died.
29/8/1963, Thursday (+6,687) Gulzarilal Nanda replaced Lal Bahadur Shastri as Indian Minister for Home Affairs.
28/8/1963. Wednesday (+6,686) Black civil rights leader Martin Luther King made his famous speech, “I have a dream…” to a rally of 200,000 people in Washington DC, demonstrating for civil rights for Blacks. On 4/9/1963 there were desegregation riots at Birmingham, Alabama.
27/8/1963, Tuesday (+6,685) Du Bois, fighter for Black equality (born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 23/2/1868), died in Accra, Ghana. He founded the Niagara Movement, an association of Black intellectuals, in 1905, which became part of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) in 1909. Du Bois also participated on the conferences that led to the founding of the United Nations, moving to Ghana in 1961.
25/8/1963, Sunday (+6,683)
22/8/1963, Thursday (+6,680) Lord Nuffield, founder of Morris Motors, died, aged 84.
21/8/1963, Wednesday (+6,679) Martial law was declared in South Vietnam.
13/8/1963, Tuesday (+6671)
8/8/1963. Thursday (+6,666) The Great Train Robbery took place at Sear’s Crossing, Mentmore, near Cheddington, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. A gang of 15 men stole over £2.5million. Their haul was £2.5 million in banknotes scheduled for destruction. The robbery was well planned. They used batteries and a light to simulate a red stop signal for the Glasgow to London mail train. When the train stopped they coshed the driver, Jack Mills, decoupled the engine and some of the carriages, and drove them to Bridego bridge further up the line. Here the loot was loaded onto a lorry and taken to a farm nearby, which the police quickly found. Charlie Wilson, the first of the robbers, was arrested and charged later the same month. The train driver was coshed on the head and died six years later, never fully regaining his health.
5/8/1963. Monday (+6,663) President Kennedy signed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in Washington. This treaty forbade testing in the atmosphere, outer space, or underwater, and was aimed at preventing other nations than the USA or USSR developing nuclear weapons. However to allow America and Russia to develop their nuclear weapons, underground testing was allowed under this treaty (see 1/7/1968).
3/8/1963. Saturday (+6,661) The Beatles played in The Cavern, Liverpool, for the last time.
1/8/1963, Thursday (+6,659) The minimum age for prison in the UK was raised to 17.
30/7/1963. Tuesday (+6,657) The ‘third man’, Kim Philby, turned up in Moscow after escaping arrest in Britain for spying. He had defected to Russia on 23/1/1963.
26/7/1963. Friday (+6,653) Big earthquake hit Skopje, Yugoslavia, killing 1,100. 150,000 were left homeless.
22/7/1963, Monday (+6,649) In Britain, a commission into slum housing was set up.
8/7/1963, Monday (+6,635) The Fred Bassett cartoon first appeared in The Daily Mail.
3/7/1963, Wednesday (+6,630) The Clyde Road Tunnel, Glasgow, opened; construction began in 1957.
1/7/1963, Monday (+6,628) Kim Philby, British spy, was revealed as the ‘third man’.
30/6/1963. Sunday (+6,627) Coronation of Giovanni Batista Montini as Pope Paul VI.
26/6/1963. Wednesday (+6,623) President Kennedy made his famous ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech. He meant to say ‘I am a Berliner’, to indicate US support for the freedom of West Germany. However what he actually said translated as ‘I am a doughnut’.
21/6/1963, Friday (+6,618) (1) France withdrew its navy from NATO.
(2) Giovanni Battista Montini was elected as Pope Paul VI.
20/6/1963. Thursday (+6,617) The White House and the Kremlin agreed to set up a ‘hot line’.
18/6/1963, Tuesday (+6,615)
17/6/1963, Monday (+6,614) (1) The Cheadle branch line closed to passengers. Redditch to Ashchurch via Alcester and Evesham closed to passengers. Boston to Lincoln closed to passengers.
(2) The Goxhill to Immingham Docks railway closed to passengers.
(3) The USSR achieved the first link-up of two spacecraft in space. Valentina Tereshkova (26) aboard the Vostok 6 rocket met with Valery Bykovsky (28) who had been orbiting Earth aboard Vostok 5 for two days. Crowds celebrated in the streets of Moscow.
16/6/1963. Sunday (+6,613) Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space. She was born to a peasant family in Maslennikovo, Russia, in 1937, and made her first parachute jump aged 22 with a local aviation club. Her enthusiasm for skydiving brought her to the attention of the soviet space programme, which wanted a woman in space in the early 1960s. Tereshkova was launched into space on 16/6/1993 from Tyaturum aboard Vostok 6, guided by an automatic control system. After just under 3 days in space, and 48 Earth orbits, Vostok 6 re-entered the atmosphere and Tereshkova successfully parachuted to Earth after ejecting at 20,000 feet. She later received the Order of Lenin and Hero of the Soviet Union awards.
14/6/1963, Friday (+6,611)
12/6/1963, Wednesday (+6,609) Civil Rights lawyer Medgar Evers was murdered by White segregationists in Mississippi.
11/6/1963, Tuesday (+6,608) George C Wallace, Governor of Alabama, barred the path of two Black students, James A Hood and Vivian J Malone, who were attempting to enrol at the University of Alabama.
8/6/1963, Saturday (+6,605)
5/6/1963. Wednesday (+6,602) War Minister John Profumo resigned, admitting he misled the Commons about his relationship with a call girl called Christine Keeler, who had links to a Russian diplomat. See 5/9/1963.
4/6/1963, Tuesday (+6,601) At the World Food Congress, John F Kennedy said “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation”.
3/6/1963, Monday (+6,600) Pope John XXIII, Angelo Guiseppe Roncalli, died.
1/6/1963, Saturday (+6,598) Jomo Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister of a self-governing Kenya.
25/5/1963, Saturday (+6,591) The OAU (Organisation of African Unity) was founded at Addis Ababa.
14/5/1963, Tuesday (+6,580) Kuwait was admitted to the United Nations.
13/5/1963, Monday (+6,579) The railway from Churston to Brixham, Devon, closed.
10/5/1963, Friday (+6,576) African-Americans were finally allowed to use the shops and public services in Birmingham, Alabama, after the ‘Birmingham Campaign’ led by Martin Luther King.
28/4/1963, Sunday (+6,564) Cuban President Fidel Castro visited the USA.
18/4/1963, Thursday (+6,554) The first human nerve transplant was carried out by Dr James Campbell at New York University Medical Centre.
17/4/1963, Wednesday (+6,553) The Royal Navy’s first nuclear powered submarine, Dreadnought, was commissioned.
13/4/1963, Saturday (+6,549) Gary Kasparov, Russian world chess champion, was born.
10/4/1963, Wednesday (+6,546) The nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher sank in the Atlantic with the loss of all 129 men on board.
9/4/1963, Tuesday (+6,545) Winston Churchill was given honorary US citizenship.
7/4/1963, Sunday (+6,543)
6/4/1963, Saturday (+6,542) Anglo-US Polaris weapons agreement signed.
5/4/1963, Friday (+6,541) Bradwell nuclear power station opened in the UK.
2/4/1963, Tuesday (+6,538) A Black Civil Rights campaign began in the USA.
27/3/1963, Wednesday (+6,532) Beeching published his report, recommending extensive cuts to the UK rail network. He proposed closing a quarter of the rail network, closing 2,128 stations, scrapping 8,000 rail coaches, and axing 67,700 jobs. There would be no rail service north of Inverness, and most branch lines in north and central Wales and the West Country would close.
25/3/1963, Monday (+6,530) The Co-op on Frodingham Road, Scunthorpe, converted from counter service to self service. Now 24 of the 35 Co-ops in the area were self service, and just three remained offering counter service in Scunthorpe itself.
21/3/1963. Thursday (+6,526) (1) Alcatraz, the notorious prison in San Francisco Bay, was closed. It had been a maximum-security prison since 1934.
(2) Aden joined the South Arabian Federation.
17/3/1963. Sunday (+6,522) (1) A volcano erupted in Bali, killing 11,000.
(2) The first of the Tristan da Cunha islanders returned home from Britain.
16/3/1963. Saturday (+6,521) Lord Beveridge, founder of the Welfare State, died.
6/3/1963, Wednesday (+6,511) Britain had its first frost-free night since December, after a very cold winter.
19/2/1963. Tuesday (+6,496) The USSR agreed to withdraw troops from Cuba.
14/2/1963 Thursday (+6,491) Harold Wilson became leader of the Labour Party, see 18/1/1963. Other candidates were James Callaghan and George Brown. See 18/1/1963.
8/2/1963, Friday (+6,485) The Beatles were asked to leave the Carlisle Golf Club because they were wearing leather jackets.
5/2/1963, Tuesday (+6,482) Maarten Schmidt identified red shifts in quasars.
4/2/1963. Monday (+6,481) (1) The Chacewater to Newquay railway closed.
(2) In the UK, a learner-driver was fined for driving on after the instructor had jumped out of the car for fear of his life.
1/2/1963, Friday (+6,478) Nyasaland became independent, later to be called Malawi.
27/1/1963. Sunday (+6,473) Mrs Winnie Mandela was served with an injunction preventing her seeing her imprisoned husband Mandela. See 14/6/1964. Films on release included Cape Fear.
23/1/1963, Wednesday (+6,469) (1) The Volta River Project, Ghana, to dam the Rover Volta, was inaugurated by Dr Nkrumah.
(2) Kim Philby was officially reported as ‘missing’ after failing to meet his wife at a dinner party in Beirut. Formerly a high-ranking British intelligence officer, he had been accused of spying for the USSR in 1955 but had been exonerated by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan. Philby’s accomplices Guy Burgess and Donald McClean had fled to Moscow in 1951; MacMillan insisted there was no ‘third man’.
22/1/1963. Tuesday (+6,468) UK unemployment was it its highest since World War Two, at 814,632. TV showed The Flintstones at the prime slot of 7pm. TV closed down around midnight. On 19/1/1963 snow and ice meant only 9 out of 63 League Cup Football matches were played, and two of those were abandoned.
18/1/1963. Friday (+6,464) Hugh Gaitskell, former UK Labour Party leader from 1955 to 1963, died unexpectedly. See 14/2/1963.
15/1/1963. Tuesday (+6,461) The BBC ended its ban on mentioning politics, royalty, religion, and sex in comedy shows.
14/1/1963. Monday (+6,460) (1) De Gaulle vetoed Britain’s membership of the EEC. He said the UK was too close to the Commonwealth and the USA, and not ‘sufficiently European’.
(2) The secession of Katanga from the Congo ended, see 11/7/1960. The province was renamed Shaba, and its capital town, formerly Elizabethville, was renamed Lubumbashi.
11/1/1963, Friday (+6,457) The world’s first disco, called Whisky a Go Go, opened in Los Angeles.
8/1/1963, Tuesday (+6,454) Fire damaged eight floors of the Empire State Building in New York.
7/1/1963, Monday (+6,453) The branch railway from Seven Sisters to Palace Gates, N London, closed. The railway from Princes Risborough to Oxford closed. Princes Risborough to Banbury closed. Nottingham to Pinxton South closed.
31/12/1962, Monday (+6,446) The railway from Caersws to Talyllyn via Builth Road closed. The railway from Brecon to Hereford via Talyllyn and Eardisley closed; Brecon to Merthyr Tydfil closed. Newport to New Tredegar closed. Plymouth to Launceston via Bickleigh closed.
26/12/1962. Wednesday (+6,441) The worst winter in Britain since 1740 began with a ‘big freeze’ that lasted well into January 1963 Base rates in Britain were 4%, the Chancellor, Reginald Maudling, announced that rates were to fall. The Beatles, an obscure group from Liverpool, just made no.17 in the charts with their single Love Me Do.
21/12/1962, Friday (+6,436) The US agreed to sell Polaris missiles to the UK.
18/12/1962, Tuesday (+6,433) PM Harold MacMillan of the UK and President Kennedy of the USA concluded the Nassau Agreement, at Nassau, Bahamas. This allowed the US navy to provide Polaris missiles for the Royal Navy, normally operating under NATO command. This Anglo-US collaboration was resented by general De Gaulle of France, who saw it as proof that Britain was not sufficiently European. Within a month De Gaulle had vetoed UK membership of the EEC, see 14/1/1963.
14/12/1962. Friday (+6,429) Mariner II sent back the first close-up pictures of the planet Venus.
10/12/1962, Monday (+6,425) Crick and Watson received the Nobel prize for their work on DNA.
9/12/1962, Sunday (++6,424) Tanzania became a Republic within the Commonwealth, with Julius Nyerere as first President.
8/12/1962, Saturday (+6,423) Revolt in Brunei suppressed with British help.
6/12/1962, Thursday (+6,421)
5/12/1962, Wednesday (+6,420) (1) Britain exploded a thermonuclear device underground in Nevada.
(2) US diplomat Dean Acheson said Britain was 'played out'.
4/12/1962, Tuesday (+6,419) Pietro Tomasi Della Torretta, Italian politician and diplomat, died aged 89.
3/12/1962, Monday (+6,418) The railway from Kingham to Chipping Norton closed.
1/12/1962, Saturday (+6,416)
30/11/1962, Friday (+6,415) U Thant to be next UN Secretary General.
29/11/1962, Thursday (+6,414) France and Britain agreed to develop the ‘Concorde’ airliner.
28/11/1962, Wednesday (+6,413) Wilhelmina, Queen of The Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, died.
22/11/1962, Thursday (+6,407)
21/11/1962, Wednesday (+6,406) Ceasefire in the India-China border dispute.
20/11/1962, Tuesday (+6,405) President Kennedy lifted the blockade of Cuba, having verified that Soviet nuclear missiles had been removed.
19/11/1962, Monday (+6,404) The Newfoundland general election was won by the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador, led by Joey Smallwood.
18/11/1962. Sunday (+6,403) As blizzards and snowstorms hit Britain (see 26/12/1962), the House of Lords expressed concern at Britain’s 7,000 road deaths a year. The Birmingham Corporation revoked a ban on turbaned Sikhs working as bus conductors and drivers. President Kennedy told a press conference that Nikita Khrushchev had told him all Soviet jet bombers would be withdrawn from Cuba within ten days. Bishop Ambrose Reeves encouraged Oxford students to write to their MPs urging them to repeal the laws on homosexuality. The first James Bond film, Dr No, was released.
16/11/1962, Friday (+6,401)
14/11/1962. Wednesday (+6,399) Britain resumed negotiations to join the EEC. Macmillan and De Gaulle talked at Rambouillet on 15-16/12/1962. However De Gaulle was intransigent, fearing the UK would import US influence into Europe. De Gaulle resigned in May 1969.
13/11/1962. Tuesday (+6,398) UK doctors estimated that 40,000 Britons were taking pep pills. America launched its biggest rocket yet, the Saturn booster, in its effort to reach the Moon. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, warned the US reconnaissance planes would be shot down if they continued to fly over Cuba. Kenneth Adam, Director of BBC TV, announced that a second channel would be launched in 1964. The new channel would show very little repeated programmes and not have much American material.
7/11/1962. Wednesday (+6,392) In South Africa, Nelson Mandela was jailed for seven years.
3/11/1962, Saturday (+6,388) The Helston to Gwinear Road railway closed to passengers.
2/11/1962, Friday (+6,387) Tangynika elected Nyerere as president.
30/10/1962, Tuesday (+6384)
28/10/1962. Sunday (+6,382) (1) Khrushchev began to dismantle Soviet missile bases in Cuba, so ending the Cuba Missile Crisis; the Soviet Union simply ignored its earlier demand regarding Turkey. President Kennedy was leader of the USA at the time; on Saturday 27/10/1962 he was just about to order US air strikes on the missile bases, when on Sunday the news came that the USSR had agreed to withdraw the missiles. The USSR attempted to leverage the removal of NATO missiles from Turkey but did not achieve this. The USA had to achieve this result, for political, not military, reasons, or else how could USA support be relied upon further from home. In fact the danger from the Cuban missiles was not much greater than if the same intercontinental ballistic missiles had been launched from 5,000 miles away in the USSR. Actually the 40 or so missiles on Cuba would have reached the USA before any USSR-launched missiles, so acting as an early warning for the USA to launch its 1,685 missiles against the USSR. The USA did not know, however, that only a fraction of the USSR-based missiles were operational, so the 40 Cuban missiles did amount to a substantial increase in Soviet firepower against the USA.
(2) The US pledged to send arms to India in its dispute with China.
26/10/1962, Friday (+6,380) The USSR offered to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba if NATO missiles were removed from Turkey; the US rejected this idea. In fact the US had been planning to remove these missiles anyway, seeing them as obsolete; however a removal now might be seen as a victory for the Soviet Union.
24/10/1962. Wednesday (+6,378) The USA began to blockade Cuba over the Cuban Missile Crisis. At 10.15am, 500 miles from the Cuban coastline, two Soviet merchant vessels, the Gargarin and the Komiles, encountered American warships. The Essex had orders to sink the accompanying Soviet submarines should they refuse to surface when challenged.
22/10/1962 Monday (+6,376) (1) Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress, went on trial charged with treason; he pleaded not guilty.
(2) President Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba after Soviet missile sites were found there.
20/10/1962, Saturday (+6,374) Chinese troops attacked Indian border positions.
16/10/1962, Tuesday (+6,370) President Kennedy saw aerial photos of Cuba which appeared to show nuclear-armed missiles being installed in Cuba.
15/10/1962, Monday (+6,369) The railway from Kingham to Cheltenham closed. Neath to Brecon closed.
13/10/1962, Saturday (+6,367)
10/10/1962, Wednesday (+6,364) Ceasefire in the Congo civil war.
9/10/1962. Tuesday (+6,363) Uganda became independent, after 62 years of British rule. Milton Obote was the first Prime Minister. See 25/1/1971.
8/10/1962, Monday (+6,362) Judge Elizabeth Lane became the first female judge to sit in the High Court.
1/10/1962. Monday (+6,355) The first Black student attended classes at Mississippi University, and 200 were arrested in subsequent riots. James Howard Meredith arrived at university with a large guard of 170 federal marshals. After White rioting, gunfire erupted in the evening, with two killed and over 50 injured, including a French journalist. Under armed guard for his entire period of study, Meredith obtained his degree. However four years later he was shot dead by an armed White man in ambush, in June 1966 on a civil rights march in Mississippi.
29/9/1962, Saturday (+6,353) Canada launched its first satellite, the Alouette.
21/9/1962, Friday (+6,345) The British TV quiz programme University Challenge conducted by Bamber Gascoigne was first transmitted.
14/9/1962, Friday (+6,338) Distillers Company agreed to pay £14 million to the victims of thalidomide.
10/9/1962, Monday (+6,334) The passenger service between Vine Street, Uxbridge, and West Drayton, closed to passengers, see 13/7/1964. The Didcot to Newbury railway closed to passengers. The Dursley branch, Gloucestershire, closed to passengers. The Ellesmere to Wrexham railway closed. Castle Cary to Taunton closed (local services). Taunton to Chard Junction closed. Whitland to Cardigan closed.
9/9/1962. Sunday (+6,333) President Kennedy called for the USA to launch a full speed drive for the Moon and first place in space over Russia, so that space will be an area of peace and not a terrifying theatre of war.
TV showed another episode of Steptoe and Son, and The Morecambe and Wise Show.
8/9/1962. Saturday (+6,332) China-India border dispute escalated. China attacked Indian border posts on 20/10/1962. On 28/10/1962 the USA pledged to send arms to India.
4/9/1962, Tuesday (+6,328)
3/9/1962. Monday (+6,327) The Trans-Canada highway, 4,800 miles from St John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia, was opened.
2/9/1962. Sunday (+6,326) The USSR agreed to supply weapons to Cuba. This started the Cuban Missile Crisis.
1/9/1962, Saturday (+6,325) Severe earthquake hit Iran, killing 20,000.
31/8/1962. Friday (+6,324) Trinidad and Tobago became independent. It had been a British colony since 1802.
29/8/1962. Wednesday (+6,322) American spy planes took pictures of Soviet technicians constructing missile launch pads in Cuba.
27/8/1962, Monday (+6,320) The US spacecraft Mariner II was launched, on the first interplanetary space mission, to Venus.
22/8/1962, Wednesday (+6,315) President De Gaulle of France escaped an assassination attempt by the OAS, a terrorist organisation of White Algerian settlers opposed to De Gaulle’s policies there.
21/8/1962, Tuesday (+6,314) Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, began her maiden voyage.
18/8/1962, Saturday (+6,311) The Shirebrook to Nottingham railway closed.
9/8/1962, Thursday (+6,302) The National Theatre was established in London, with Sir Lawrence Olivier as director.
6/8/1962. Monday (+6,299) Jamaica became independent, after being a colony of Britain for over 300 years.
5/8/1962. Sunday (+6,298) Marilyn Monroe, US film actress, died in Los Angeles aged 36, of a barbiturates overdose.
30/7/1962. Monday (+6,292) The former Great Western goods depot below Smithfield Market, London, closed. The railway from Bewdley to Tenbury Wells closed. Stourbridge to Wolverhampton via Himley closed.
23/7/1962, Monday (+6,285) The railway from Wellington to Much Wenlock via Buildwas closed to passengers.
22/7/1962, Sunday (+6,284) The Mariner 1 spacecraft flew erratically several minutes after launch and had to be destroyed after less than five minutes, at a cost of $4,000,000 for the satellite and $8,000,000 for the rocket. The $12 million dollar loss was later traced to the omission of an overbar in the handwritten text from which the computer programming for the rocket guidance system was drawn.
21/7/1962. Saturday (+6,283) The Rolling Stones made their first appearance at the Marquee Club in London.
20/7/1962, Friday (+6,282) The world’s first regular hovercraft service began, on the Dee estuary between Wallasey and Rhyl.
10/7/1962. Tuesday (+6,272) (1) Telstar I, the world’s first television telecommunications satellite, was launched in America. The following day it transmitted a special television inaugural programme to mark the first communications satellite.
(2) The first motorway in Ireland opened, running from Belfast to Lisburn.
3/7/1962. Tuesday (+6,265) France recognised Algerian independence, after a referendum. Algeria had been under French rule for 132 years. French property was taken over by Algerians. Ben Hella was the first Prime Minister of Algeria. De Gaulle had begun peace talks with the FLN on 30/3/1961 and peace was concluded mostly on the FLN’s terms on 18/3/1962.
2/7/1962, Monday, (+6,264) The Dunstable to Leighton Buzzard railway closed.
1/7/1962. Sunday (+6,263) Rwanda and Burundi became independent. They had formerly been part of the Belgian administration of Ruanda-Urundi.
18/6/1962, Monday (+6,250) The railway from Oxford to Fairford closed. The railway from Cambridge to Mildenhall via Fordham closed. The railway from Barnard Castle to Bishop Auckland closed.
15/6/1962, Friday (+6,247) Berkeley nuclear power station in Gloucestershire began operating.
14/6/1962, Thursday (+6,246) The European Space Research Organisation was formed in Paris.
10/6/1962, Sunday (+6,242) The Blackburn to Hellifield railway closed.
7/6/1962, Thursday (+6,239) William Faulkner, US writer (born 25/9/1897 in New Albany, Mississippi) died in Oxford, Mississippi.
3/6/1962, Sunday (+6,235) An Air France Boeing 707, flying from Orly, Paris to Atlanta, Georgia, crashed on take-off, killing 130.
2/6/1962, Saturday (+6,234) Vita Sackville-West, British novelist, died.
1/6/1962, Friday (+6,233) The Soviet Union raised the price of consumer goods by more than 25 percent in order to cover higher operating expenses for the U.S.S.R.'s collective farm program. Butter was up 25%, and pork and beef by 30%. In protest, workers walked off of the job at the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Factory and the strike soon turned into an uprising.
31/5/1962, Thursday (+6,232) Adolf Eichmann was executed inside Ramleh Prison, Tel Aviv, for his part in the mass killing of millions of Jews during World War Two.
30/5/1962, Wednesday (+6,231) Coventry’s new Cathedral was inaugurated. The original mediaeval building had been destroyed by German bombers in November 1940.
25/5/1962. Friday (+6,226) Coventry’s new cathedral, designed by Sir Basil Spence, was consecrated.
17/5/1962, Thursday (+6,218) Hong Kong built a wall to keep out Chinese migrants.
11/5/1962. Friday (+6,212) President Kennedy ordered US naval, air, and land forces into the Indo China area, to prevent Laos from falling under Communist control.
TV showed Emergency Ward Ten.
9/5/1962, Wednesday (+6,210) The Beatles signed a recording contract with EMI’s Parlophone label.
8/5/1962. Tuesday (+6,209) Trolley buses ran for the last time in London.
5/5/1962. Saturday (+6,206) Eleven elderly East Berliners escaped to the West through a tunnel. They had dug the tunnel six feet high so the women wouldn’t have to crawl.
30/4/1962, Monday (+6,201) The Chester to Denbigh railway closed.
26/4/1962, Thursday (+6,197) Britain’s first satellite, Ariel, was launched from Cape Canaveral.
23/4/1962, Monday (+6,194) 150,000 people gathered in Hyde Park, London, for the biggest-ever Ban the Bomb demonstration.
9/4/1962. Monday (+6,180) The Budget dominated much of the day’s TV. Measures included abolition of tax on sugar, coffee, tea, and cocoa. But a 15% Purchase Tax was placed on ice cream, sweets, and soft drinks. A Picasso fetched £80,000, the highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist. Scotland Yard announced that visitors from abroad who illegally parked in meter zones would be given a polite cautionary leaflet instead of the £2 parking ticket.
8/4/1962. Sunday (+6,179) In Cuba, over 1,000 Bay of Pigs invaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail. See 17/4/1961.
2/4/1962, Monday (+6,173) (1) The first push-button panda road crossings were installed.
(2) Prince Charles arrived as a new pupil at Gordonstoun School, near Elgin, Scotland, the school his father Prince Philip attended.
26/3/1962. Monday (+6,166) The French Army launched an offensive to crush an armed uprising in Algeria. See 3/7/1962.
5/3/1962, Monday (+6,145) The Bedford to Northampton via Olney railway closed to passengers.
2/3/1962. Friday (+6,142) The UK applied to join the European Coal and Steel Community. On 5/3/1962 the UK applied to join the European Atomic Energy Community.
26/2/1962, Monday (+6,138) The IRA announced a ceasefire after a 5-year campaign of violence.
20/2/1962. Tuesday (+6,132) Astronaut John Glenn made three orbits of the Earth in his spacecraft Mercury VI, the first American in orbit. Bad weather on 26/1/1962 at Cape Canaveral had delayed his launch. On 27/1/1962 an unmanned US craft passed within 20,000 miles of the moon.
10/2/1962. Saturday (+6,122) The USA exchanged a Soviet spy for the captured pilot Gary Powers. The exchange took place in the middle of a bridge linking the American and Soviet sectors of Berlin.
5/2/1962, Monday (+6,117) The Eyemouth (Berwick) branch closed. The Galashiels to Rosewell via Peebles line closed.
4/2/1962. Sunday (+6,116) The Sunday Times became the first paper to issue a colour supplement.
1/2/1962, Thursday (+6,113)
22/1/1962. Monday (+6,103) (1) The Barnard Castle to Penrith railway closed.
(2) The ‘A6 murder’ trial began. It was to be the longest murder trial in British legal history, lasting until 17/2/1962, and ended with the hanging of James Hanratty. He had murdered Michael Gregston in a lay-by on the A6.
21/1/1962 Sunday (+6,102) (week commencing). The threat of a general strike loomed as trade unions made it clear they intended to oppose the government’s wage restraint policy. Smallpox was also a threat as an epidemic hit Britain and other countries insisted visitors from the UK were vaccinated. It was announced that, 20 years after the birth of the atomic Age, the world now possessed 280 atomic bombs, 40 of them in Britain. The Met Office started using centigrade as well as Fahrenheit and ring pull cans came into use. In Paris OAS terrorists opposed to President De Gaulle’s plans for Algeria planted ten plastic explosives bombs. In Communist China it was revealed that only ‘registered addicts ‘ were allowed to buy or smoke cigarettes. The Beatles and Cliff Richard were making the charts. On TV, new, were Steptoe and Son and Z Cars.
14/1/1962. Sunday (+6,095) The European Economic Community agreed on a Common Agricultural Policy.
9/1/1962, Tuesday (+6,090) A Cuban-Soviet trade treaty was signed.
3/1/1962, Wednesday (+6,084) Pope John XXIII excommunicated Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
1/1/1962. Monday (+6,082) (1) In the UK, the total number of full-time students in the universities and university colleges stood at 93,524, up from 63,063 in 1947-8.
(2) Western Samoa became independent.
(3) The Wigston to Rugby railway closed. Haverhill to Chappel and Wakes Colne closed. The Oxenhope branch closed.
30/12/1961, Saturday (+6,080) The Bedford to Hitchin railway closed to passengers.
22/12/1961, Friday (+6,072) James Davis became the first US casualty of the war in Vietnam.
19/12/1961. Tuesday (+6,069) India annexed Goa from the Portuguese, after 400 years of Portuguese rule.
15/12/1961, Friday (+6,065) Adolf Eichmann, Nazi official responsible for the execution of millions of Jews, was sentenced to death after a four-month trial in Jerusalem.
13/12/1961, Wednesday (+6,063) Grandma Moses, US painter, died aged 101.
9/12/1961, Saturday (+6,059) Tangynika became independent. See 9/12/1962.
8/12/1961, Friday (+6,058) Seamus Robinson, Irish republican leader, died aged 71.
7/12/1961, Thursday (+6,057) The London County Council approved the building of 300-foot high blocks of flats at Hammersmith, the tallest in Britain.
4/12/1961. Monday (+6,054) (1) The Allhallows on Sea (Kent) branch closed.
(2) The birth control pill became available on the National Health Service.
13/11/1961, Monday (+6,033) The Merthyr to Pontsticill railway closed.
10/11/1961. Friday (+6,030) The USSR renamed Stalingrad as Volgograd.
9/11/1961, Thursday (+6,029) Jill Dando, British journalist and BBC television presenter, was born in Weston-super-Mare (murdered 1999).
8/11/1961. Wednesday (+6,028) Negotiations with Britain began in Brussels to join the Common Market.
7/11/1961, Tuesday (+6,027) Konrad Adenauer was elected Chancellor of Germany for the fourth time.
5/11/1961, Sunday (+6,025)
2/11/1961, Thursday (+6,022) James Thurber, author, died in New York.
1/11/1961, Wednesday (+6,021) (1) The UK, concerned about rising immigration, planned a Commonwealth Immigration Bill to limit their numbers. 21,000 Commonwealth citizens migrated to the UK in 1960 but 100,000 were expected for 1961. Number quotas and/or skills requirements could be imposed. See 2/7/1962.
(2) In the Soviet Union, a ‘de-Stalinisation’ programme resulted in Stalin’s body being removed from the Red Square mausoleum where it had lain next to Lenin since his death in 1953. Even Stalingrad, with its great significance regarding World War Two, was renamed Volgograd.
28/10/1861, Saturday (+6,017) The branch railway from Dunton Green to Westerham closed to passengers.
25/10/1961. Wednesday (+6,014) The satirical magazine Private Eye was published for the first time.
18/10/1961. Wednesday (+6,007) A work by Henri Matisse attracted big crowds in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Only after 116,000 people had seen it over 46 days did someone notice it was hung upside-down.
12/10/1961. Thursday (+6,001) New Zealand voted to abolish the death penalty.
11/10/1961, Wednesday (+6,000) Chico Marx, the piano-playing member of the Marx Brothers comedy team, died.
10/10/1961, Tuesday (+5,999) A volcanic eruption on the southern Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha forced the evacuation of the entire population to Britain.
9/10/1961. Monday (+5,998) Margaret Thatcher got her first government job, as Parliamentary Secretary.
4/10/1961, Wednesday (+5,993) The Labour Party Conference voted against having Polaris bases in Britain.
1/10/1961. Sunday (+5,990) The British Trust territory of Southern Cameroons joined with French Cameroons to form the Republic of Cameroon.
30/9/1961, Saturday (+5,989) The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) was founded in Paris.
29/9/1961, Friday (+5,988) Syria seceded from the United Arab Republic after anti-Egyptian uprisings. See 1/2/1958, and 2/9/1971.
20/9/1961. Wednesday (+5,979) (1) Rhodesian Prime Ministers Ian Smith banned the Black opposition party.
(2) Argentinean Antonio Albertondo completed the first non-stop swim across the English Channel and back. He completed the feat on 21/9 after 43 hours 5 minutes in the water.
19/9/1961, Tuesday (+5,978) Jamaica left the West Indies Federation
18/9/1961, Monday (+5,977) Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish Secretary General of the United Nations and Nobel Prize Winner, was killed a plane crash near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia. He had been flying from Leopoldville, Congo.
17/9/1961. Sunday (+5,976) (1) A large ‘Ban the Bomb’ demonstration in London was ended by the police with 830 arrested, including Vanessa Redgrave. 15,000 had attended the demonstration in Trafalgar Square.
(2) The ex-President of Turkey, Menderes, (see 27/5/1960) was executed at the prison on Imrali island, having been accused of breaking the Turkish Constitution.
14/9/1961, Thursday (+5,973)
13/9/1961. Wednesday (+5,972) U.N. forces defeated Katangan rebels. See 11/7/1960.
12/9/1961, Tuesday (+5,971) The philosopher Bertrand Russell, aged 89, was arrested and imprisoned for protesting against nuclear weapons.
11/9/1961, Monday (+5,970)
10/9/1961, Sunday (+5,969) Passenger services ceased on the Andover-Swindon-Cheltenham line.
9/9/1961, Saturday (+5,968) London Metropolitan line services north of Amersham were withdrawn. The entire line from Dunbridge (Southampton) through Andover, Marlborough, Swindon and Cirencester to Andoversford closed to passengers.
5/9/1961, Tuesday (+5,964) The USA announced it would resume underground nuclear tests.
31/8/1961, Thursday (+5,959) (1) After failure of the Geneva Conference, the USSR announced it would resume nuclear weapons testing.
(2) Last Spanish troops withdrew from Morocco.
21/8/1961, Monday (+5,949) Britain released Jomo Kenyatta, who had been imprisoned for his part in the Mau-Mau rebellion, to facilitate Kenyan political negotiations.
17/8/1961, Thursday (+5,945) Construction of the Berlin Wall began, see 13/8/1961. The Soviets had hidden building materials close to the site of the wall, so construction was rapid. 2,000 people a day had been leaving the east for West Germany.
14/8/1961, Monday (+5,942) The Ashchurch to Upton on Severn railway closed.
13/8/1961. Sunday (+5,941) East German border guards stopped cars passing through the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. The border between East and West Berlin was sealed, at first with barbed wire, later by the Berlin Wall, erected on 17/8/1961. On 22/8/1961 a 100 metre no-man’s-land was created either side of the Berlin Wall.
The Wall was 96 miles long and 3.6 metres high. It had 302 armed watchtowers and 20 bunkers. 192 persons were killed at the Wall, and another 200 wounded by shooting. The East German Government called the barrier ‘an anti-fascist protection wall’. A second wall was added in June 1962, and a third in 1965, reinforced by a fourth in 1975. The Berlin Wall finally came down on 8/11/1989.
10/8/1961. Thursday (+5,938) Britain first applied for membership of the EEC.
4/8/1961, Friday (+5,932) Barak Hussein Obama, first African-American President (44th) of the USA from 2009, was born.
31/7/1961, Monday (+5,928) The Woofferton to Tenbury Wells railway closed.
25/7/1961, Tuesday (+5,922) The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Selwyn Lloyd, introduced a pay freeze for UK workers which was to last 9 months. He was concerned that over the previous 12 months, pay had risen 8% whereas national production had only risen 3%.
21/7/1961, Friday (+5,918) Runcorn Bridge, on the River Mersey, opened. It was then the longest steel arch bridge in the UK.
20/7/1961, Thursday (+5,917) In a move to thwart Iraqi claims on Kuwait, the Arab League admitted Kuwait as a member.
18/7/1961. Tuesday (+5,915) The six Common Market countries issued the Bonn Declaration aimed at political union.
3/7/1961, Monday (+5,900) The Grimsby to Immingham Dock/Town railway closed.
2/7/1961, Sunday (+5,899) The author Ernest Hemingway, born 21/7/1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, committed suicide.
1/7/1961. Saturday (+5,898) (1) British troops were stationed in Kuwait in case of an attack by Iraq. In June 1961 Kuwait gained independence from Britain and a week later Iraq called for ‘a return of Kuwait to the Iraqi homeland’. On 30/6/1961 Kuwait requested assistance from the UK, and Royal Marines were sent out. The British troops remained for two years.
(2) Lady Diana Spencer was born, in Park House, Sandringham.
27/6/1961, Tuesday (+5,894) Dr Ramsey was enthroned as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral.
25/6/1961, Sunday (+5,892) Iraq claimed newly-independent Kuwait as Iraqi, on the grounds that both had been part of the Ottoman Empire and arbitrarily divided by Britain.
19/6/1961, Monday (+5,886) Kuwait became independent.
16/6/1961. Friday (+5,883) Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union whilst in Paris, travelling with the Leningrad Kirov Ballet.
10/6/1961, Saturday (+5,877) The Paddock Wood to Hawkhurst line closed to passengers.
6/6/1961.Tuesday (+5,873) Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychologist and associate of Freud, died aged 85.
1/6/1961, Thursday (+5,868) (1) Dr Richard Beeching was appointed by the Conservative Minister for Transport as Chairman Designate of the British Railways Board.
(2) Northern Cameroons joined the Federation of Nigeria.
31/5/1961. Wednesday (+5,867) The Republic of South Africa was formed, and it left the Commonwealth.
30/5/1961, Tuesday (+5,866) Rafael Trujillo, corrupt and dictatorial President of the Dominican Republic, was assassinated. He had been ruler since he overthrew the benevolent but inefficient rule of President Horacio Velasquez, who acceded in July 1924. After the assassination a brief period of democratic rule under President Juan Bosch from December 1962 to September 1963 was succeeded by a military junta.
28/5/1961. Sunday (+5,864) Amnesty International was founded in London.
25/5/1961, Thursday (+5,861) (1) US President Kennedy announced the Apollo space programme.
(2) Klu Klux Klan marchers clashed with civil rights ‘Freedom Riders’ in Montgomery, Alabama.
24/5/1961, Wednesday (+5,860) Cyprus joined the Council of Europe.
20/5/1961, Saturday (+5,856) The Orient Express left Paris on its final journey to Istanbul. The service started in 1883, and was suspended for World War Two. It used to be the peak of luxury travel but air travel had now superseded it.
18/5/1961, Thursday (+5,854) Plans were announced for new UK universities at Canterbury, Colchester, and Coventry.
17/5/1961. Wednesday (+5,853) Guildford Cathedral consecrated.
11/5/1961, Thursday (+5,487) US President Kennedy sent 400 Special Forces troops to conduct covert anti-Communist operations in North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
8/5/1961. Monday (+5,844) George Blake, 38, a former British diplomat, was jailed for 42 years for spying for Russia.
5/5/1961. Friday (+5,841) The Americans put Alan Shephard into space for 15 minutes, reaching an altitude of 116 miles before splashing down 303 miles from the launch site. He was the second man and the first American to reach space. However the Russian space flight on 12/4/1961 had lasted 108 minutes and circled the Earth.
1/5/1961. Monday (+5,837) Betting shops became legal in Britain. 10,000 of them opened within the first 6 months thereafter.
29/4/1961, Saturday (+5,835) The World Wildlife Fund was founded in Switzerland.
27/4/1961. Thursday (+5,833) Sierra Leone became independent, and joined the Commonwealth.
17/4/1961. Monday (+5,823) 1,300 Anti-Castro Cuban exiles, led by Jose Cardona, attempted to invade Cuba from the Bay of Pigs. However on 18 and 19/4/1961 the exiles were pinned down on the beach by Castro’s troops. The USA under President Kennedy backed down following Khrushchev’s declaration that the USSR would defend Cuba against the USA and the 1,200 survivors were left to their fate. They surrendered to Cuban authorities on 20/4/1961.
12/4/1961. Wednesday (+5,818) Yuri Gagarin (1934 – 1968) made the first orbit of the Earth, at an altitude of 300km, in his spaceship Vostok 1. He took off from Tyuratom in Kazakhstan, made a single Earth-orbit, and landed near Engels in the Saratov region.
11/4/1961, Tuesday (+5,817) The trial of the Nazi war criminal, Adolf Eichmann, opened in Jerusalem.
10/4/1961, Monday (+5,816) The Bury St Edmunds to Long Melford railway closed.
27/3/1961. Monday (+5,802) The first women traffic wardens began ticketing, in Leicester.
15/3/1961, Wednesday (+5,790) South Africa stated it would leave the Commonwealth.
14/3/1961, Tuesday (+5,789) The New English Bible was published.
13/3/1961, Monday (+5,788) In the UK, the old black and white £5 notes ceased to be legal tender.
8/3/1961. Wednesday (+5,783) The death of the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham. Born in 1876 in St Helens, Lancashire, he was the grandson of the founder of the Beecham’s pills business.
6/3/1961, Monday (+5,781) Mini cabs began operating in Britain.
1/3/1961, Wednesday (+5,776) US President Kennedy formed the Peace Corps, a group of volunteers to work in less-developed countries.
26/2/1961, Sunday (+5,773) King Hassan II became ruler of Morocco on the death of his father, King Mohammad V.
14/2/1961, Tuesday (+5,761) The synthesis of element Lawrencium was confirmed at University of Berkeley California.
8/2/1961, Wednesday (+5,755) The BBC dropped its radio programme Children’s Hour because TV had cut its audiences.
5/2/1961. Sunday (+5,752) The Sunday Telegraph began publishing.
4/2/1961, Saturday (+5,751) The MPLA began its fight against the Angolan Government at Luanda.
2/2/1961, Thursday (+5,749)
31/1/1961, Tuesday (+5,747) The West Claire Railway, immortalised in songs by Percy French, closed.
30/1/1961. Monday (+5,746) The contraceptive pill went on sale in Britain. It was called Conovid, see 18/10/1960.
20/1/1961, Friday (+5,736) (1) Queen Elizabeth II met Archbishop Makarios in Cyprus.
17/1/1961, Tuesday (+5,733) Ex-President Patrice Lumumba of Zaire (deposed 14/9/1960) was executed by rebel Katangese troops.
3/1/1961. Tuesday (+5,719) (1) The US severed all diplomatic relations with Cuba.
(2) The millionth Morris Minor car came off the assembly lines in Britain.
2/1/1961, Monday (+5,718) The Watlington to Princes Risborough railway closed to goods traffic. The Buckingham to Banbury railway closed.
31/12/1960, Saturday (+5,716) (1) National Service ceased in the UK. The last batch of 18-year olds were called up. Of the 2,049 who received their call-up cards, 50 would join the RAF at Cardington, Bedfordshire, the rest went to Aldershot for 2 weeks basic training and joined the Army.
(2) The farthing ceased to be legal tender in Britain. At a quarter of an old penny there were 960 of them to the pound sterling.
21/12/1960. Wednesday (+5,706) King Saud took over the Saudi Arabian government.
9/12/1960. Friday (+5,694) Coronation Street first televised. The series was expected to last just 13 weeks.
5/12/1960, Monday (+5,689) The Louth to Mablethorpe railway closed.
28/11/1960, Monday (+5,683) Mauretania became fully independent from France.
19/11/1960. Saturday (+5,674) The first VTOL (vertical take off, landing) aircraft made by British Hawker Siddeley, flew for the first time.
10/11/1960, Thursday (+5,665) The initial print run of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 200,000 copies at 3s 6d each, sold out on the first day.
9/11/1960. Wednesday (+5,664) John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1919-63), Democrat, became President of the USA, with 34,227,096 votes against 34,108,546 votes for Nixon. Aged 43, Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic president and the youngest so far.
8/11/1960, Tuesday (+5,663) (1) Ten Irish soldiers in the UN peacekeeping force in The Congo were killed in an ambush at Niemba. Irish sadness at the event was also coloured by the recognition that this marked Ireland’s emergence from the isolation it had been in since its neutrality in World War Two.
(2) Former Massachusetts Attorney-General Edward Brooke became the first Black Senator in the US. He was born in Washington DC in 1919.
7/11/1960, Monday (+5,662) (1) The North Rode to Leek (Staffordshire) railway closed.
(2) Missiles first appeared on the Red Square military parade.
5/11/1960, Saturday (+5,660)
3/11/1960, Thursday (-5,658) Hugh Gaitskell successfully fought off a challenge for Labour Party leadership by Harold Wilson.
2/11/1960, Wednesday (+5,657) The publisher of Lady Chatterley’s :Lover was found not guilty on 2/11/1960. On 10/11/1960, the first day of publication, 200,000 copies were sold in Britain.
1/11/1960, Tuesday (+5,656) It was announced that US Polaris missile submarines were to be based in the Firth of Clyde.
25/10/1960, Tuesday (+5,649)
21/10/1960. Friday (+5,645) Britain’s first nuclear-powered submarine, Dreadnought, was launched at Barrow in Furness.
20/10/1960. Thursday (+5,644) D H Lawrence’s book Lady Chatterley’s Lover put Penguin Books in the dock at the Old Bailey, under the Obscene Publications Act.
19/10/1960. Wednesday (+5,643) The USA imposed an embargo on shipments to Cuba, banning all exports to Cuba except food and medicine. Cuba had been buying arms from the USSR, and when the USA imposed economic sanctions by refusing to buy Cuban sugar, Castro nationalised USA businesses. Cuba also attempted to 'export Revolution', to the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Nicaragua. However many young US citizens supported Castro.
18/10/1960, Tuesday (+5,642) The first approved contraceptive pill, called Enovid 10, went on sale in the USA. Catholics objected. See 30/1/1961.
17/10/1960, Monday (+5,641) The British daily newspaper News Chronicle ceased publication and was incorporated into the Daily Mail.
9/10/1960. Sunday (+5,633) The worst storms since 1953 caused severe flooding in southern England.
1/10/1960. Saturday (+5,625) Nigeria became independent.
27/9/1960. Tuesday (+5,621) (1) Death of Estelle Sylvia Pankhurst, suffragette.
(2) Bank Underground Station, London, opened the first travellator, or moving pavement, in Europe.
24/9/1960. Saturday (+5,618) The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, was launched at Newport, Virginia. She cost US$ 445 million, carried n100 aircraft, had a complement of 440 officers and 4,160 enlisted men, and a flight deck the size of four football pitches.
22/9/1960, Thursday (+5,616) Mali became independent.
15/9/1960, Thursday (+5,609) Traffic wardens began operating in London. 40 began operations in the Westminster area of London; their first ticket was issued to a doctor who had parked outside a hotel as he treated a heart attack victim inside. Plus ca change.
14/9/1960, Wednesday (+5,608) (1) OPEC was set up by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
(2) Successful military coup in Zaire by Colonel Mobutu, against President Lumumba.
13/9/1960, Tuesday (+5,607) In Washington, D.C., charges were filed against a Tennessee bank and 27 individuals said to have used economic pressure to prevent black people from voting.
12/91960. Monday (+5,606) MOTs on motor vehicles introduced in Britain.
10/9/1960, Saturday (+5,604) (1) Medge Hall station, near Crowle, Lincolnshire, closed. It had opened in November 1859. Nearby Mauds Bridge halt had closed back in 1866. Other nearby station closures included Keadby in October 1974, Appleby in June 1967, and Elsham in October 1993.
6/9/1960, Tuesday (+5,600)
(2) The first English Football league match to be televised was broadcast today. Blackpool played Bolton Wanderers.
1/9/1960. Thursday (+5,595) Nyerere became Tangynika's first Prime Minister.
31/8/1960. Wednesday (+5,594) East Germany closed the border with West Berlin.
25/8/1960. Thursday (+5,588) The 17th Olympic Games opened in Rome.
22/8/1960. Monday (+5,585) (1) Two dogs returned to Earth in a Soviet space craft. The Russian dogs, named Byelka (Squirrel) and Strelka (Arrow) returned on board Sputnik Five, along with 40 mice, two rats, and some plants, as they prepared for a human launch. President John F Kennedy angrily asked US scientists why the first pair of space dogs were called Strelka and Byelka and not Rover and Fido.
(2) Senegal seceded from Mali.
21/8/1960, Sunday (+5,584) David B Steinman, US bridge engineer, died aged 74.
20/8/1960, Saturday (+5,583) (1) Senegal became independent.
(2) Plastic carrier bags were used for the first time, by a Swedish shoe retailer.
19/8/1960, Friday (+5,582) In London, Penguin Books was prosecuted for obscenity over its plans to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
18/8/1960. Thursday (+5,581) The birth control pill, the world’s first oral contraceptive, was launched in America.
17/8/1960, Wednesday (+5,580) Gabon became an independent nation, from France.
16/8/1960. Tuesday (+5,579) Cyprus became independent, with Archbishop Makarios as President. Fazil Kuchuk, leader of the Turkish Cypriots, was Vice-President, but relations between the two communities were strained. The island’s Greek population, some 80% of the total, wanted union, or enosis, with Greece. See 15/7/1974 and 3/4/1955. Britain retained military bases on the island.
15/8/1960. Monday (+5,578) (1) The Congo (Brazzaville) became independent from France.
(2) Britain’s first motorway service station opened to the public, on the M.1 at Newport Pagnell. Motorist Graham Miller was the first to buy food there. The services had opened in 1959 but only for lorry drivers.
14/8/1960, Sunday (+5,577) Sarah Brightman, English singer, was born in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire.
13/8/1960, Saturday (+5,576) The Central African Republic became independent.
12/8/1960. Friday (+5,575) The first US communications satellite, Echo 1, was launched.
11/8/1960, Thursday (+5,574) Chad formerly a French colony, became an independent Republic.
9/8/1960, Tuesday (+5,572)
7/8/1960. Sunday (+5,570) Ivory Coast became independent from France.
6/8/1960, Saturday (+5,569) Castro nationalised all US-owned property in Cuba, in retaliation for US economic sanctions.
5/8/1960, Friday (+5,568) Upper Volta became independent.
4/8/1960, Thursday (+5,567) NASA test pilot Joseph A. Walker became the fastest man in history as he flew an X-15 at a speed of 2,196 miles per hour, breaking a record set in 1956 by Milburn Apt, who had been killed while flying an X-2.
3/8/1960, Wednesday (+5,566) Niger became independent from France.
2/8/1960, Tuesday (+5,565) The Continental League, proposed as a third major league for baseball, came to an end after CL President Branch Rickey and co-founder William Shea concluded a meeting in Chicago with representatives of the National League and American League.
1/8/1960, Monday (+5,564) Benin (Dahomey) became independent from France.
28/7/1960, Thursday (+5,560) UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold arrived in the Congo in a bid to end the civil war there.
21/7/1960. Thursday (+5,553) (1) Sirimavo Bandarainake became the world’s first woman Prime Minister, of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). This followed the assassination of her husband, Solomon, the former Prime Minister.
(2) Francis Chichester, 58, arrived in New York on his yacht, Gypsy Moth, having set a record of 40 days for a solo Atlantic crossing.
16/7/1960, Saturday (+5,548) Albert Kesselring, German Air Commander on all fronts during World War Two, condemned as a war criminal, died.
11/7/1960. Monday (+5,543) (1) The communications satellite TELSTAR became operational. Britain could now receive US television shows,
(2) Katanga rebels declared independence from the Congo under Tshombe. See 13/9/1961. Belgium sent troops to the Congo. See 14/1/1963.
7/7/1960, Thursday (+5,539) Belgium sent troops to the Congo.
6/7/1960. Wednesday (+5,538) Aneurin Bevan, founder of the National Health Service in 1948, Minister of Health 1945-51, died. He was born on 15/11/1897.
5/7/1960, Tuesday (+5,537)
1/7/1960. Friday (+5,533) (1) A pint of milk cost 3.3p 1 kg old potatoes cost 2.57p. A GP earned £2,425 per annum, and a coal miner was paid £9 17s 6d a week. The average annual UK salary was £700. A Belling 48T electric cooker cost £51 and a Lavalux washing machine cost £87 3s. A hoover steam-dry iron cost £4 12s 1d. A loaf of bread cost 1 shilling (5p). The average house price in the UK was £2,500. A second class return rail fare London to Glasgow cost £8.40
(2) Ghana became independent (formerly Gold Coast and British Togoland). Kwame Nkrumah was its first President.
30/6/1960. Thursday (+5,532) The Belgian Congo became independent, under President Lumumba. Civil war erupted within a week, the mineral-rich region of Katanga seceded, and UN peacekeeping troops arrived as the Belgians left. In August the mineral-rich province of Kasai also seceded. Without these two provinces, Congo would have been one of the poorest countries in Africa. Paramilitary troops from Rhodesia, Europe, and South Africa were ready to defend breakaway Katanga and their mining interests. The UN said it would restore law and order but was not concerned with the secession of Katanga. Lumumba now made the mistake of turning to the USSR for help. Russia sent aid and Kasai was retaken for a while. However other government members decided to rid themselves of the radical Lumumba, and the Chief of Staff, Mobutu, set up a new government; Lumumba was assassinated in January 1961. Tschombe, leader of Katanga, was supported by the Belgian’s decision to pay mining royalties to him, not the Congo government. However the UN leader, Dag Hammarskjold, was determined to crown his first major international peacekeeping exercise with success, and there was now a pro-Western government in the Congo. Hammarskjold’s plane crashed in uncertain circumstances on 17 September 1961 whilst negotiating with Tschombe. There was fighting between Katangan and UN forces in Elisabethville, capital of Katanga, and the UN attitude hardened. The UN ordered the forcible occupation of Katanga, and in January 1963 UN forces fully occupied the breakaway province.
26/6/1960, Sunday (+5,528) Madagascar became an independent republic. It had been a French colony since 1896.
22/6/1960. Wednesday (+5,524) Nan Winton became the first woman to read the national news on BBC television.
20/6/1960, Monday (+5,522) Mali became independent from France as the federation of Mali, including Senegal. See 22/8/1960.
19/6/1960, Sunday (+5,521) Jaguar took over the Daimler motor company.
18/6/1960, Saturday (+5,520) Jehovah’s Witnesses released the New World Translation of the Bible.
13/6/1960, Monday (+5,515) The Uppingham (Rutland) branch closed. Newport (S Wales) to Risca closed. Local services Inverness to Wick were withdrawn. The Dornoch branch closed.
7/6/1960, Tuesday (+5,509) (1) The first NHS hearing aids were issued.
30/5/1960, Monday (+5,501) Boris Pasternak, Russian author of Dr Zhivago, Nobel Prize winner in 1958 (which he declined), died near Moscow.
27/5/1960, Friday (+5,498) President Adnan Menderes (1889-1961) of Turkey was ousted in an army coup. He founded the Democratic Party in 1945 and became Prime Minister in 1950. Pro-Western, he took Turkey into NATO in 1952. However severe inflation from 1954 has eroded his support in the towns; Menderes relied on rural peasant support. Menderes was forced to assume dictatorial powers in April 1960, just before his overthrow. See 17/9/1961. In September 1990 Menderes was posthumously ‘rehabilitated’ and given a State Funeral, attended by the Turkish President.
23/5/1960. Monday (+5,494) The Israelis announced the capture of the war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Israeli Mossad agents snatched Eichmann on 11/5/1960 as he returned home after work, and he was taken to a secret hiding place outside Buenos Aires. He was living under the name Ricardo Klement. On 21/5/1960 he was disguised in the uniform of an El Al flight attendant and bundled on board a flight to Tel Aviv. Eichmann was found guilty of war crimes by a court in Jerusalem, on 15/12/1961, and hanged on 31/5/1962 at Ramleh Prison, Jerusalem. He remains the only person ever executed by due legal process in Israel, after a trial involving 210 witnesses over 14 weeks. His last words were ‘long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria, I shall not forget them’.
21/5/1960, Saturday (+5,492) Conception, Chile, was hit by an earthquake that killed 1,000 people and damaged 145,000 buildings,
18/5/1960. Wednesday (+5,489) The Queen Mother opened the Kariba dam on the Zambesi River.
15/5/1960, Sunday (+5,486) Sputnik IV was launched.
3/5/1960, Tuesday (+5,474) The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was founded in Geneva. It had seven members; Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Switzerland, Austria, and Portugal.
2/5/1960, Monday (+5,473) The Guisborough to Loftus railway closed.
1/5/1960. Sunday (+5,472) A US spy plane, the U-2, piloted by Gary Powers, was hit by an SA2 missile and shot down over the USSR near Sverdlovsk. On 8/7/1960 Gary Powers was indicted as a spy; he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released after 18 months in exchange for Soviet agent Rudolf Abel.
30/4/1960, Saturday (+5,471) Britain abandoned the Blue Streak ,missile programme.
27/4/1960. Wednesday (+5,468) (1) Synghman Rhee resigned as President of South Korea.
(2) Togo became independent
25/4/1960, Monday (+5,466) Race riots in Mississippi, ten Blacks were shot dead. Extremist Whites in the State disliked the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional.
21/4/1960. Thursday (+5,462) Brasilia was inaugurated as the new capital of Brazil. The city was planned by Lucio Costa.
19/4/1960, Tuesday (+5,460) A crowd of between 60,000 and 100,000 protested in Trafalgar Square, London, against the atom bomb.
12/4/1960, Tuesday (+5,453) The musician Ray Charles won Best Male Vocalist Grammy award
11/4/1960, Monday (+5,452) The178 acre railway marshalling yard at Margam, south Wales, opened.
10/4/1960. Sunday (+5,451) The US Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill.
9/4/1960, Saturday (+5,450) David Pratt, a 52-year-old White man, fired two shots at South African President Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, wounding him.
4/4/1960, Monday (+5,445) (1) The railway from Basford to Netherfield closed.
(2) Senegal became independent.
1/4/1960. Friday (+5,442) The US launched the world’s first meteorological satellite, Tiros I. Launched from Cape Canaveral, it only orbited earth for 78 days, but proved that satellites could be useful for surveying global weather conditions. The satellite was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high, weighed 270 pounds, and had 9,200 solar cells to power it. It had two television cameras and could store pictures taken whilst out of range of the ground radar station. In total, Tiros I took 22,500 pictures of weather conditions.
30/3/1960, Wednesday (+5,440) State of Emergency in South Africa after the Sharpeville riots.
29/3/1960, Tuesday (+5,439) UK PM Harold MacMillan reached agreement with US leaders on a nuclear test ban treaty to be put to the USSR.
25/3/1960, Friday (+5,435) Following Sharpeville, all non-White political organisations, including the ANC, were banned in South Africa.
21/3/1960. Monday (+5,431) South African police killed 67 Black Africans at Sharpeville, and wounded 186. The demonstrations were against the hated 'Pass Laws'. All over South Africa, Black people deliberately left their passes at home and awaited arrest. Versions of what provoked the shooting at Sharpeville, a township 5 miles north of Vereeniging, varied. According to police, a crowd of 20,000 Blacks were about to storm the police station. Black witnesses said only 5,000 Blacks were present and had gone peacefully to the police station to discuss the Pass Laws. A medical expert testified that 70% of the victims were shot from behind. On 30/3/1960 South Africa declared a State of Emergency following the Sharpeville riots.
14/3/1960, Monday (+5,424) (1) Plans were announced for a Thames Flood Barrier at London.
(2) Jodrell Bank radio telescope set a record for the furthest communication with a man made object. Radio communications were established with the US satellite Pioneer 5, over 407,000 miles away.
7/3/1960, Monday (+5,417) The railway from Newbury to Winchester closed.
29/2/1960, Monday (+5,410) Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club in Chicago. Brought up in a strict Methodist home, Hefner started the Playboy Magazine with US$ 10,000 in 1953.
28/2/1960. Sunday (+5,409) Agadir, Morocco, was devastated by an earthquake, killing 12,000.
27/2/1960. Saturday (+5,408) The magazine ‘Playboy’ was banned in Connecticut.
23/2/1960, Tuesday (+5,404)
22/2/1960, Monday (+5,403) Britain and France announced plans to build a supersonic airliner.
21/2/1960. Sunday (+5,402) Castro nationalised all private businesses in Cuba.
19/2/1960, Friday (+5,400) Prince Andrew (Andrew Albert Christian Edward), third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II, was born in Buckingham Palace.
17/2/1960, Wednesday (+5,398) (1) The UK Government said it would allow the US to build a missile early warning system to be built at Fylingdales, Yorkshire.
(2) Martin Luther King was arrested in the USA.
16/2/1960, Tuesday (+5,397) USS Triton nuclear submarine began her round the world voyage, the first such vessel to undertake this journey.
13/2/1960. Saturday (+5,394) France exploded its first atom bomb, in the Sahara.
7/2/1960, Sunday (+5,388) Israeli archaeologists announced the discovery of scrolls from the Dead Sea area.
3/2/1960, Wednesday (+5,384) UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan upset his hosts in South Africa when he called for racial equality; Macmillan was concerned that the newly independent ex-colonies of Africa and Asia would align themselves with the USSR, not the former European colonisers.
2/2/1960. Tuesday (+5,383) Black protestors began a lunch-counter sit-in campaign in the USA.
29/1/1960. Friday (+5,379) Race riots in Johannesburg.
24/1/1960. Sunday (+5,374) Revolt against French rule broke out in Algeria, after General de Gaulle dismissed the pieds noir hero General Massau. French settlers felt they lacked protection against FLN terrorists and those who had supported De Gaulle 2 years earlier now demonstrated against him. E Gaulle ordered in paratroops who debated whether to open fire on fellow Frenchmen. The order was never given and by February 1960 the revolt had collapsed and many insurgents arrested.
23/1/1960, Saturday (+5,373) The US Navy submarine Trieste, manned by Dr Piccard and Lieutenant Walsh, reached a record depth of 35,820 feet in the Challenger Deep section of the Marianas Trench, Pacific Ocean.
9/1/1960. Saturday (+5,359) Work began on the Aswan High Dam, Egypt.
5/1/1960, Tuesday (+5,355) The Swansea and Mumbles railway, opened in 1806, the first to carry fare-paying passengers, closed.
4/1/1960, Monday (+5,354) The railways from Wigan to Adlington Junction (Chorley) and Chorley to Blackburn (Cherry Tree Junction) closed. The Sandbach to Northwich railway closed. The Northampton to Market Harborough railway closed. Northampton to Blisworth closed. Bala to Blaenau Festiniog closed. Newbury to Lambourn closed.
1/1/1960. Friday (+5,351) The independent Republic of the Cameroons was proclaimed.
29/12/1959, Tuesday (+5,348) Durgapur steel works, West Bengal, officially opened.
26/12/1959. Saturday (+5,345) The first charity walk was organised, in aid of the World Refugee Fund, by Kenneth Johnson of Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The intended route covered 50 miles from Letchworth to Yatesbury in Wiltshire. 20 men and one woman paid 1 shilling to enter; ten gave up after 13 miles, 3 after 22 miles, 1 after 25 miles, 4 at Princes Risborough, and 3, including Johnson, carried on for 50 miles, giving up at Ewelme, Oxfordshire. About £20 was raised.
23/12/1959, Wednesday (+5,342) The Earl of Halifax, politician and Viceroy of India, 1926-31, died.
20/12/1959, Sunday (+5,339) The first atomic ice-breaker, The Lenin, started operating.
14/12/1959. Monday (+5,333) Makarios was elected President of Cyprus. he assumed office on 16/8/1960. His Turkish rival Fazil Kucuk became Vice-President.
13/12/1959. Sunday (+5,332) The UN decided not to intervene in Algeria.
10/12/1959. Thursday (+5,329) (1) In Britain, the Crowther report recommended raising the school leaving age to 16.
(2) US troops began to leave Iceland.
1/12/1959. Tuesday (+5,320) Twelve countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, UK, USA, USSR) signed an agreement to preserve Antarctica for peaceful scientific research.
28/11/1959, Saturday (+5,317) The dockyard at Hong Kong closed, after 80 years of operation.
25/11/1959, Wednesday (+5,314) Charles Kennedy, British politician, was born.
19/11/1959, Thursday (+5,308) The Archbishop of Canterbury said adultery should be a criminal offence.
17/11/1959. Tuesday (+5,306) Two Scottish airports, Prestwick and Renfrew, became the first to offer duty-free goods in Britain.
16/11/1959. Monday (+5,305) The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music opened on Broadway, New York.
14/11/1959, Saturday (+5,303) The Dounreay fast breeder reactor in Scotland began operating.
10/11/1959. Tuesday (+5,299) The UN condemned apartheid and racism.
2/11/1959. Monday (+5,291) (1) London to Birmingham motorway opened. The first stretch of the M1 opened on 1/11/1959. Sightseers flocked to look at it.
(2) Rioting in the Belgian Congo left 70 dead.
(3) The Bristol to Frome via Midsomer Norton railway closed. Leverton to Torksey (Lincoln-Retford) line closed. The Holmfirth branch (Yorkshire) closed.
1/11/1959, Sunday (+5,290) Jet air services began between London, UK, and Sydney, Australia, run by BOAC.
27/10/1959, Tuesday (+5,285) The Queen’s Speech promised independence for Cyprus and Nigeria.
16/10/1959, Friday (+5,274) George Marshall, US soldier and politician who formulated the Marshall Plan to aid post-War Europe, died in Washington DC.
8/10/1959. Thursday (+5,266) UK general election. The Conservatives under Harold MacMillan and his slogan ‘You’ve never had it so good’ won, and Mrs Thatcher was elected an MP. The Conservatives won 365 seats, labour won 258, and the Liberals got 6. Macmillan remained Prime Minister.
7/10/1959, Wednesday (+5,265) The first photographs of the far side of the Moon were transmitted by the Russian spacecraft Lunik III.
3/10/1959, Saturday (+5,261) The postcode system for sorting mail was first used in Britain, in Norwich.
25/9/1959, (+5,253) Solomon Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956, was shot by a Buddhist monk in Colombo; he died the following day.
22/9/1959. Tuesday (+5,250) The United Nations refused to admit Communist China.
20/9/1959, Sunday (+5,248) The last fly-past of Hurricane aircraft over London to commemorate the Battle of Britain.
16/9/1959, Wednesday (+5,244) Charles de Gaulle, French President, offered Algeria a referendum on independence.
14/9/1959, Monday (+5,242) The first man-made object landed on the Moon; the Russian space probe Lunik II, near the Mare Serenitatis.
4/9/1959, Friday (+5,232) The Melmerby to Thirsk railway closed.
24/8/1959, Monday (+5,221) House of Fraser beat Debenhams in a takeover battle for Harrods.
21/8/1959. Friday (+5,218) (1) Death of the sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein.
(2) Hawaii became the 50th State of the USA.
18/8/1959, Tuesday (+5,215) The British Motor Corporation’s Mini car was launched. At £500 including Purchase Tax, it was short on luxuries, but affordable with a nippy engine and its small size made it was convenient for town driving.
13/8/1959, Thursday (+5,210) Work began on the Verrazano Narrows cable suspension bridge in New York City.
12/8/1959, Wednesday (+5,209) Parents and children rioted in Arkansas over racial segregation in schools.
4/8/1959. Tuesday (+5,201) Barclays Bank became the first to use computers for its branch accounts.
28/7/1959. Tuesday (+5,194) Postcodes were introduced to Britain by the Postmaster General, along with new postal sorting machines. They were used first in the Norwich area on 3/10/1959.
26/7/1959. Sunday (+5,192) President Nasser of Egypt announced in a speech in Alexandria “I announce from here, on behalf of the United Arab Republic people, that this time we will exterminate Israel”.
25/7/1959. Saturday (+5,191) The hovercraft, SRN 1, made its first crossing of the English Channel from Dover to Calais in a little over 2 hours.
23/7/1959. Thursday (+5,189) Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Ullswater when he reached 202.32mph in Bluebird.
21/7/1959. Tuesday (+5,187) The first nuclear merchant ship, USS Savannah, was launched at Camden, New Jersey, in the USA. She was launched by Mrs Mamie Eisenhower.
13/7/1959, Monday (+5,179) The Gloucester to Ledbury railway closed.
5/7/1959. Sunday (+5,171) Ghana began a boycott of all South African products.
1/7/1959. Wednesday (+5,167) A teacher got £900 a year, a nurse was paid £540. At Oxendales in Manchester, a Mastra V.35 camera cost £13 14s 11d (£13.75) and a one-bar electric fire cost £2 6s 3d (£2.31). The average UK house price was £2,500.
29/6/1959, Monday (+5,164) The Barnsley to Penistone railway closed.
26/6/1959, Friday (+5,162) Queen Elizabeth II and US President Eisenhower opened the St Lawrence Seaway, linking the Great Lakes to the Atlantic.
25/6/1959, Thursday (+5,161) Eamon de Valera took up office as President of Ireland.
21/6/1959, Sunday (+5,157)
18/6/1959. Thursday (+5,154) There was serious rioting in Durban when police moved in on Black settlements. The police were destroying illicit stills discovered during an operation to resettle some 100,000 Black people. Rioting continued throughout June, and 4 Black people died. Property damage was estimated at £250,000. More deaths occurred in September 1959 when police opened fire on rioters.
17/6/1959. Wednesday (+5,153) De Valera became Prime Minister of Eire.
15/6/1959, Monday (+5,151) The railway from Kettering via Thrapston to Huntingdon closed. Rolleston Junction to Southwell closed. Rugby to Leamington Spa closed. Wellingborough to Higham Ferrers branch closed. The Wallingford branch (Didcot) closed. The Essendine to Stamford railway closed. The railway from St Ives to Cambridge closed. Local services between Peterborough and Grantham were withdrawn.
11/6/1959, Thursday (+5,147) The first experimental hovercraft capable of carrying a man was launched at Cowes, Isle of Wight.
9/6/1959. Tuesday (+5,145) The USA launches its first ballistic missile submarine, the George Washington.
4/6/1959. Thursday (+5,140) Cuba nationalised USA sugar mils in its territory.
3/6/1959. Wednesday (+5,139) Singapore achieved self-government.
2/6/1959, Tuesday (+5,138)
30/5/1959. Saturday (+5,135) (1) Auckland’s Harbour Bridge on New Zealand’s North Island officially opened.
(2) The first hovercraft flight took place at Cowes, Isle of Wight. The Suffolk boat builder, Christopher Cockerell, had announced its invention in 1958.
29/5/1959, Friday (+5,134) Charles de Gaulle formed a ‘Government of National Safety’ in France.
28/5/1959, Thursday (+5,133) The Mermaid Theatre opened in the City of London.
27/5/1959, Wednesday (+5,132) Sales of filter tipped cigarettes helped tobacco manufacturers maintain sales after recent reports linking smoking to cancer.
26/5/1959, Tuesday (+5,131)
25/5/1959, Monday (+5,130) The US Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s ban on boxing matches between Black and White contestants was unconstitutional.
24/5/1959, Sunday (+5,129) (1) John Foster Dulles (born 1888), US Secretary of State until his resignation due to ill-health in April 1959, died from cancer. He was chief spokesperson for US President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. He believed in a robust ‘brinkmanship’ approach to Soviet threats, reinforcing NATO and creating SEATO. He did not get on with UK prime Minister Anthony Eden, disagreeing in particular with the UK’s policy over Suez. He opposed the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in late 1956, and sometimes failed to anticipate Arab nationalist reactions to external intervention.
(2) Empire day was renamed Commonwealth Day.
17/5/1959, Sunday (+5,122)
7/5/1959, Thursday (+5,112) An agreement was reached enabling Britain to buy components of atomic weapons, as opposed to actual nuclear warheads, from the USA.
6/5/1959. Wednesday (+5,111) The UK protested to Iceland about violence in the Cod War. Icelandic gunboats had fired live ammunition at British trawlers. Iceland said they were just warning shots, but one only missed a trawler by three metres.
2/5/1959, Saturday (+5,107) The first nuclear power station in Scotland, at Chapelcross, began operations.
23/4/1959, Thursday (+5,098) Britain’s first heliport opened, on the River Thames in London.
19/4/1959, Sunday (+5,094) The Dalai Lama arrived in India.
31/3/1959, Tuesday (+5,075) The Dalai Lama escaped to India. Tibet lost its independence to China in 1951.
29/3/1959, Sunday (+5,073) Barthelemy Boganda, Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, was born.
28/3/1959, Saturday (+5,072) (1) China dissolved the government of Tibet.
(2) Two monkeys returned alive to earth after being sent into space by the USA.
26/3/1959, Wednesday (+5,070) Jersey Zoological Park opened.
17/3/1959, Tuesday (+5,061) The UK Government announced plans for a major expansion of the road network.
16/3/1959. Monday (+5,060) The USSR lent money to Iraq.
9/3/1959, Monday (+5,053) A doll named Barbara Millicent Roberts, or Barbie for short, was exhibited at the New York Toy Fair, wearing a black and white swimming costume.
2/3/1959, Monday (+5,4046) The railway from Saxby (Melton Mowbray) through Spalding, Kings Lynn, Fakenham and South Walsham to Great Yarmouth closed. The railway from Melton Constable to Norwich via Reepham closed. The railway from Peterborough to Sutton Bridge via Wisbech closed.
1/3/1959. Sunday (+5,045) Archbishop Makarios returned to Cyprus, after almost three years exile.
26/2/1959, Thursday (+5,042) State of Emergency in Southern Rhodesia.
23/2/1959. Monday (+5,039) The European Court of Human Rights sat for the first time.
19/2/1959. Thursday (+5,035) Greece and Turkey agreed on plans for the independence of Cyprus.
16/2/1959. Monday (+5,032) Fidel Castro became Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing the regime of Fulgencio Batista. At age 32, he was the youngest ever leader of Cuba. See 1/1/1959.
15/2/1959, Sunday (+5,031) Archbishop Makarios arrived in London for talks on Cyprus with Macmillan.
13/2/1959, Friday (+5,029) The first Barbie Doll went on sale, priced at US$3 (£2), in a zebra-stripe swimsuit. She was created by Ruth Handler, whose daughter was called Barbara.
9/2/1959. Monday (+5,025) The UK supplied arms to Indonesia.
7/2/1959. Saturday (+5,023) Daniel Francois Malan, Prime Minister of South Africa 1948-54 and creator of apartheid, died at Stellenbosch, Cape Province, South Africa, aged 84.
3/2/1959, Tuesday (+5,019) Buddy Holly, US musician, was killed in an air crash in Iowa.
2/2/1959, Monday (+5,018) The Kilmacolm to Greenock Princes Pier railway closed. The Newton Abbot to Moretonhampstead railway closed.
1/2/1959. Sunday (+5,017) Swiss referendum turned down votes for women. But see 7/2/1971.
30/1/1959, Friday (+5,015) Britain’s first drive-in bank opened.
22/1/1959, Thursday (+5,007) Two thirds of British home snow had a television. The Rank Organisation, on 17/9/1959, said cinema attendance in Britain fell from 1.396 million in 1950 to 1.101 million in 1956 and was still in decline.
17/1/1959. Saturday (+5,002) Senegal and French Sudan united to form Mali.
12/1/1959, Monday (+4,997) A US$ 400 million contract for the Mercury US space programme was awarded to the McDonnell Aircraft Corporation of St Louis.
8/1/1959, Thursday (+4,993) (1) Fidel Castro entered Havana in triumph, see 2/12/1956.
(2) Charles de Gaulle was installed as first President of the 5th Republic. See 21/12/1958.
5/1/1959, Monday (+4,990) The Chepstow to Monmouth and Ross on Wye railway closed.
4/1/1959, Sunday (+4,989) Rioting in the Belgian Congo.
3/1/1959. Saturday (+4,988) Alaska became the 49th state of the USA. It is the USA’s largest state.
2/1/1959, Friday (+4,987) The Russians launched Lunik 1, the first rocket to pass near the Moon, from Tyuratam.
1/1/1959. Thursday (+4,986) The Right-wing President Fulgencio Batista of Cuba was overthrown and fled to the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro, aged 32, proclaimed a new Government. See 16/2/1959. Castro executed his opponents and legalised the Communist Party.
31/12/1958, Wednesday (+4,985) (1) President Sukharno proclaimed a state of Emergency in Sumatra.
(2) There were fears that a drug prescribed for morning sickness, thalidomide, might be causing birth defects.
30/12/1958, Tuesday (+4,984)
21/12/1958. Sunday (+4,975) De Gaulle was elected the first President of the Fifth Republic, with 78% of the vote. He now had the strong Presidency he had desired in 1945 (see 13/11/1945). See 29/5/1958.
15/12/1958. Monday (+4,969) The last steam locomotive was made at Crewe. This was the 7,331st locomotive made at Crewe.
14/12/1958, Sunday (+4,968) The Antarctic ‘pole of inaccessibility’, the point furthest from all coasts, was reached by a Soviet tractor traverse.
10/12/1958, Wednesday (+4,964) The first domestic jet airliner service within the US began, operated by National Airlines between New York and Miami.
8/12/1958, Monday (+4,962) The last of the four nuclear reactors at Calder Hall began operating.
5/12/1958. Friday (+4,959) (1) The first STD telephone exchange in the UK opened. It was in Bristol, and was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II calling up the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.
(2) The UK’s first stretch of motorway, 6 ½ miles of the M6 at Preston, was opened by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. It took two years to build at a cost of £3,750,000.
3/12/1958. Wednesday (+4,957) Indonesia nationalised Dutch businesses.
21/11/1958, Friday (+4,945) Work began on the Forth Road Suspension Bridge, then the longest suspension bridge in the UK. It was completed in 1964.
3/11/1958, Monday (+4,927) The Newnham to Cinderford railway closed. The Totnes to Ashburton railway closed.
2/11/1958. Sunday (+4,926) Last British troops left Jordan.
31/10/1958. Friday (+4,924) Ake Senning, Swedish doctor, in Stockholm implanted the first internal heart pacemaker.
28/10/1958. Tuesday (+4,921) (1) Cardinal Roncalli was elected Pope John XXIII, succeeding Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII died on 9/10/1958.
(2) In Britain, the State Opening of Parliament was televised for the first time.
27/10/1958. Monday (+4,920) The first edition of the BBC programme Blue Peter was broadcast.
19/10/1958, Sunday (+4,912) The 1958 World Fair closed in Brussels. It attracted 40 million visitors, the main centrepiece being The Atomuim, which remains today.
14/10/1958, Tuesday (+4,907) Madagascar became independent.
11/10/1958. Saturday (+4,904) The BBC sports programme Grandstand was first transmitted. It was the idea of Paul Fox.
9/10/1958, Thursday (+4,902) Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) died at Castel Gandolfo, the Papal summer residence, 27 kilometres south-east of Rome, aged 82. In Belfast, Protestants objected when the City Hall flag was flown at half-mast.
6/10/1958, Monday (+4,899) The Foxfield to Coniston railway closed. Stopping services between Grantham and Doncaster were withdrawn.
5/10/1958, Sunday (+4,898) In France the Fifth Republic was formed.
4/10/1958. Saturday (+4,897) BOAC, now British Airways, began the first transatlantic jet air service, with two de Havilland Comet IV jets. Flight time was a record 6hours 11 minutes.
2/10/1958, Thursday (+4,895) (1) Marie Stopes, promoter of birth control, died (born 1880).
(2) Guinea was proclaimed an independent republic.
17/9/1958, Wednesday (+4,880) Fidel Castro began an offensive against the Batista regime in Cuba.
15/9/1958, Monday (+4,878) The Weedon to Leamington Spa railway closed. Grafton & Burbage to Marlborough railway closed. Stopping services between Doncaster and York and Darlington were withdrawn.
12/9/1958. Friday (+4,875) The Governor of Arkansas closed all High Schools in Little Rock.
8/9/1958. Monday (+4,871) Race riots in Notting Hill, London. White youths attacked five Black people, leading to 150 arrests and gang fights involving up to 2,000 people.
2/9/1958. Tuesday (+4,865) (1) South African President Hendrik Voerwoerd promised to strengthen Apartheid.
(2) The first television station in China opened in Beijing.
1/9/1958, Monday (+4,864) British trawlers defied the Icelandic 12-mile fishing limit, which came into force this day.
31/8/1958, Sunday (+4,863) Fighting between Black and White youths in Notting Hill, London.
30/8/1958, Saturday (+4,862) The police clashed with 500 ‘Teddy Boys’ in Nottingham.
29/8/1958, Friday (+4,861) Michael Jackson, pop star, was born in Gary, Indiana.
25/8/1958, Monday (+4,857) Midland Bank was the first bank to announce it would offer personal loans, from September 1958.
23/8/1958, Saturday (+4,855) The Egyptian Government approved the Aswan Dam project.
17/8/1958, Sunday (+4,849) Britain announced plans to resume Atom Bomb testing on Christmas Island.
9/8/1958. Saturday (+4,841) The USA reaffirmed its refusal to recognise Red China.
8/8/1958. Friday (-4,840) Columbia Records signed up a 17-year-old singer called Cliff Richard.
7/8/1958. Thursday (+4,839) The Litter Act came into force in Britain.
5/8/1958. Tuesday (+4,837) The nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus completed its voyage beneath the ice of the North Pole. William Anderson commanded it. Launched in January 1954, she left Pearl Harbour on 23/7/1958 and sailed through the Bering Strait, passing the North Pole on 3/8/1958, emerging near Greenland on 5/8/1958. The Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980 to become a floating museum.
31/7/1958. Thursday (+4,832) Kham tribesmen in eastern Tibet rebelled against Chinese rule.
30/7/1958, Wednesday (+4,831) A left-wing coup overthrew the Iraqi monarchy. The West feared a Middle Eastern domino effect.
29/7/1958. Tuesday (+4,830) NASA, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration, was founded.
26/7/1958. Saturday (+4,827) Queen Elizabeth II created her eldest son Prince Charles as Prince of Wales.
24/7/1958. Thursday (-4,825) The first life peerages were awarded in Britain, under the Life Peerages Act.
15/7/1958, Tuesday (+4,824) US troops landed near Beirut to protect US lives and property during rioting.
14/7/1958. Monday (+4,815) King Faisal of Iraq was assassinated in a military coup led by General Kasseem, and a Republic was declared.
3/7/1958. Thursday (+4,804) The last debutantes were presented to the Queen. British high society mourned the passing of this tradition; the Queen had decided this had no place in modern society. Presentation at Court had been reserved for the daughters of the aristocracy and those prominent in society. Those who made their curtsies to the Queen were sponsored and chaperoned by those who had been presented themselves earlier. But some socially ambitious parents had fallen on hard times to finance the fees and expenses of qualified chaperones. Prince Philip was reported to have suggested the move.
1/7/1958. Tuesday (+4,802) A farm worker earned £7 10s (£7.50) per week and a train driver got £11 2s 6d (£11.13) a week. The Rolls Royce ‘Phantom V cost £8,905, and a Mars Bar cost 6d (2.5p).
17/6/1958. Tuesday (+4,788) Ex-Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy was executed after a secret trial, two years after the suppressed Hungarian Revolution.
16/6/1958, Monday (+4,787) Yellow lines indicating no waiting were painted along British roads.
14/6/1958, Saturday (+4,785) France announced it was withdrawing its troops from Morocco.
9/6/1958. Monday (+4,780) Gatwick Airport was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. (see 6/6/1936). The new facilities cost £7 million.
7/6/1958, Saturday (+4,778) Prince, American singer, was born.
3/6/1958, Tuesday (+4,774) British Railways re-designated Third Class accommodation as Second Class.
1/6/1958. Sunday (+4,772) Iceland extended its fishing limits to 12 miles.
31/5/1958, Saturday (+4,771) The Kremlin and Washington agreed to hold talks on a ban on atmospheric atom bomb tests.
29/5/1958. Thursday (+4,769) De Gaulle was voted into power in France, to deal with the crisis in Algeria. See 21/12/1958.
27/5/1958, Tuesday (+4,767) A State of Emergency was declared in Sri Lanka.
23/5/1958, Friday (+4,763) Christopher Cockerell patented the hovercraft.
13/5/1958. Tuesday (+4,753) Rioting by French settlers in Algeria led to the French army seizing power.
5/5/1958, Monday (+4,745) The railway between Whitby and Saltburn closed. It had been opened in 1883, construction having started in 1871.
3/5/1958, Saturday (+4,743) President Eisenhower proposed a demilitarised Antarctic.
2/5/1958, Friday (+4,742) State of Emergency declared in Aden.
16/4/1958. Wednesday (+4,726) The EEC, the European Economic Community, was set up. The original six countries were France, Italy, West Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. See 10/8/1952.
7/4/1958. Monday (+4,717) The first CND march from London arrived at Aldermaston. It had left Hyde Park on 4/4/1958.
5/4/1958. Saturday (+4,715) Castro began 'total war' against the Cuban dictator, Batista.
4/4/1958, Friday (+4,714) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held its first protest march this Good Friday. Members marched from Hyde Park Corner to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, arriving on 7/4/1958. 600 members completed the 50-mile march and 12,000 attended the final rally.
2/4/1958. Wednesday (+4,712) The USA embargoed arms shipments to Cuba.
24/3/1958. Monday (+4,703) Elvis Presley was sworn in as a US private. He was paid $78 as a regular. He had been given a 60-day deferment to make the film ‘King Creole’.
21/3/1958. Friday (+4,700) (1) The Shah of Iran announced on TV that he was divorcing his wife of seven years, Queen Soraya, because she had not given him an heir. She moved to Paris and became an actress.
(2) London Planetarium opened in Marylebone Street, the first planetarium in Britain.
17/3/1958, Monday (+4,696) The Australian-born polar explorer Sir George Wilkins died.
16/3/1958. Sunday (+4,695) Mothers who worked full-time were condemned as enemies of family life by the Bishop of Woolwich.
11/3/1958. Tuesday (+4,690) Unemployment in the USA reached 5.2 million.
9/3/1958, Sunday (+4,688) Yemen merged with the United Arab Republic to form the United Arab States.
6/3/1958, Thursday (+4,685) The TUC and the Labour party called for H-Bomb tests to stop.
2/3/1958, Sunday (+4,681) The British Trans-Antarctic Expedition, led by Dr Vivian Fuchs, completed the first surface crossing of Antarctica. The group of 12 travelled 2,158 miles from Shackleton Station on the Weddell Sea to Scott Station on the Ross Sea in 99 days.
17/2/1958, Monday (+4,668) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND, was launched by Bertrand Russell and Canon John Collins.
14/2/1958, Friday (+4,665) The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was proclaimed.
13/2/1958, Thursday (+4,664) The suffragette, Dame Christobel Pankhurst, daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, died (born 1880).
11/2/1958, Tuesday (+4,662) Tunisia banned French warships from using its port at Bizerta.
9/2/1958, Sunday (+4,660) A play by Irish-born Samuel Beckett was banned from London stages due to blasphemy.
6/2/1958, Thursday (+4,657) 7 Manchester United players died when the plane bringing the team home from Belgrade crashed on take-off at Munich Airport. Three club officials and 8 sports journalists were also killed. An eighth team member died of his injuries two weeks later.
1/2/1958. Saturday (+4,652) Egypt and Syria joined to form the United Arab Republic. See 29/9/1961.
31/1/1958, Friday (+4,651) The US Army at Cape Canaveral launched America’s first Earth satellite. Explorer I. This led to the accidental discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts around the Earth, when the satellite’s radiation meters suddenly showed zero readings. US astronomer James Van Allen realised that the meters had been overloaded and broken down.
30/1/1958, Thursday (+4,650) Yves St Laurent held his first Paris fashion show, aged 22. He was apprenticed to Christian Dior at 18 and when Dior died in 1959 he became head designer of the Dior fashion house.
22/1/1958, Wednesday (+4,642)
21/1/1958.Tuesday (-4,641) Driffield experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded in Yorkshire, -18.9 C.
20/1/1958. Monday (+4,640) The first radar speed checks began in Britain.
6/1/1958, Monday (+4,636) The Abergavenny to Merthyr railway closed.
4/1/1958, Saturday (4,624) Sputnik 1 disintegrated after completing 1,367 orbits of the Earth. It had travelled some 43 million miles in 92 days.
3/1/1958. Friday (+4,623) (1) Banks in The Netherlands were nationalised.
(2) Sir Edmund Hillary, with a party from New Zealand, reached the South Pole – the first man to do so since Captain Scott.
1/1/1958. Wednesday (+4,621) The European Economic Community came into effect. It then comprised 6 countries; France, West Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries.
26/12/1957, Thursday (+4,615) Death of French film pioneer Charles Pathe.
25/12/1957. Wednesday (+4,614) The Queen made her first Christmas day broadcast on British TV.
24/12/1957, Tuesday (+4,613) Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was born.
23/12/1957, Monday (+4,612)
20/12/1957. Friday (+4,609) At the height of his career, Elvis Presley received his call-up papers.
19/12/1957. Thursday (+4,608) Regular air services between London and Moscow began.
10/12/1957, Tuesday (+4,599)
5/12/1957. Thursday (+4,594) All Dutch nationals were expelled from Indonesia.
4/12/1957, Wednesday (+4,593) Major train crash at Lewisham, south east London, with 92 killed and over 200 injured. In thick fog, the 4.56 steam express from Cannon Street to Ramsgate missed two red signals and ploughed into the back of the stationary Charing Cross to Hayes electric train. The rear of the Hayes train telescoped whilst the tender of the steam train rose up and brought down a bridge carrying another rail line over the tracks. The 350-ton bridge crashed down onto the already-damaged carriages. Two minutes later another train was crossing the bridge; its driver saw the hole in the tracks just in time and stopped his train with the leading carriage leaning over the gap. Trains then did not have automatic warning systems if a red signal was passed,
2/12/1957, Monday (+4,591) The Blackburn to Rose Grove via Padiham railway closed.
18/11/1957, Monday (+4,577) London’s Central Line opened from Epping to Ongar.
11/11/1957. Monday (+4,570) Jamaica achieved internal self-government.
5/11/1957, Tuesday (+4,564) The Delta Plan was published; an ambitious scheme to strengthen the sea defences of The Netherlands by new bridges, dykes and dams. The sea inlets between Rotterdam and Antwerp were to be closed off, and the province of Zeeland opened up to economic development, The project was successfully completed in 1968.
3/11/1957. Sunday (+4,562) The Soviets sent a dog into Earth-orbit. The dog, called Laika (meaning ‘barker’) was a Siberian husky rounded up as a stray. She probably died of overheating after measuring systems on board the Sputnik 2 failed, after a few hours in orbit 2,000 miles above Earth. The space capsule continued to orbit Earth until April 1958 when after 2,570 orbits it crashed to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere. Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space, in April 1961 aboard Vostok 1. The Soviets sent 13 more dogs into space, 8 of which survived.
2/11/1957, Saturday (+4,561) Elvis Presley set a record with 8 simultaneous UK top 30 entries.
30/10/1957, Wednesday (+4,558) Women entered the House of Lords for the first time, as a new category of ‘life peers’ was created. Previously, only male bearers of hereditary titles could become peers.
24/10/1957, Thursday (+4,552) Christian Dior, French fashion designer and creator of ‘New Look’, died.
22/10/1957. Tuesday (+4,550) 13 US servicemen and 5 civilians were injured in Saigon, South Vietnam, by a bomb planted by Communist guerrillas. This was the worst incident since 1954 when the French admitted defeat in the fight against North Vietnam’s Viet Minh army and split Vietnam into North and South, two independent states.
18/10/1957, Friday (+4,546) Queen Elizabeth II met US President Eisenhower; the first visit by a British monarch to the White House.
17/10/1957. Thursday (+4,545) A fire at Windscale (now Sellafield) nuclear plant shut down one of the piles producing Plutonium and released radioactivity into the air. Thousands of gallons of milk from some Cumbrian cows had to be dumped, due to radio-iodine contamination, despite government assurances that the radiation had been carried out to sea.
15/10/1957, Tuesday (+4,543) The naval base at Tricomalee was handed over to Sri Lanka by Britain.
11/10/1957. Friday (+4,539) The radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, planned by Sir Bernard Lovell, went into operation.
10/10/1957. Thursday (+4,538) A major radiation leak was detected at Windscale after an accident three days earlier.
7/10/1957, Monday (+4,535)
4/10/1957. Friday (+4,532) The first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik I, by the USSR was launched from Tyuratam, 170 miles east of the Aral Sea. It weighed 80 kg.
3/10/1957, Thursday (+4,531) Berlin voted in its youngest ever mayor, 44-year-old Willy Brandt.
1/10/1957, Tuesday (+4,529) The Trentham Gardens branch (Stoke) closed.
25/9/1957, Wednesday (+4,523) 1,000 US armed paratroopers turned out to protect 9 Black schoolchildren who were taking their places at the all-White Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This followed a US Supreme Court ruling that segregated schools contravened the 14th Amendment. However Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus flouted the court ruling and deployed armed National Guardsmen to bar the Black children, whilst a White mob shouted ‘Niggers go home’. President Eisenhower intervened and the Guardsmen were withdrawn, but a White mob remained. In an unprecedented move, Eisenhower removed control of the National Guard from Faubus and sent in the 101st Airborne Division to protect the Black schoolchildren, to the fury of southern Governors.
23/9/1957. Monday (+4,521) Dr Francois ‘Papa doc’ Duvalier was elected President of Haiti. He had promised to end corrupt military regimes in Haiti but his own regime mixed voodoo with the presence of brutal secret police, the Ton Ton Macoute.
21/9/1957, Saturday (+4,519) Norway’s King Haakon VII died, aged 85. His son, aged 54, succeeded him as King Olav V.
20/9/1957.Friday (+4,518) Jean Sibelius, composer, died.
16/9/1957, Monday (+4,514) The Waverton to Whitchurch (Shropshire) railway closed. The Bentley to Bordon railway (Hampshire) closed.
14/9/1957, Saturday (+4,512) The last Liverpool tram ran. It was the 6a, from the Pier Head to Bowring Park, full of civic dignitaries.
13/9/1957. Friday (+4,511) The Mousetrap became Britain’s longest running play, reaching its 1,998th performance.
6/9/1957, Friday (+4,504)
5/9/1957, Thursday (+4,503) Rebels under Fidel Castro, along with Cuban navy Officers, tried to seize a naval base at Cienfuegos. Forces loyal to President Batista of Cuba defeated the attempt, and the rebel leaders were executed.
4/9/1957. Wednesday (+4,502) In the UK, the Wolfenden Report recommended decriminalising homosexual acts between consenting adults. This would remove a significant cause of blackmail. ‘Adult’ meant aged 21 or over; some feared this would be a licence for child abuse. On 14/11/1957 the Church of England backed the Wolfenden reforms. However the UK government shied away from this controversial change to the law. It was only in June 1967 when the Sexual Offences Bill legalised such homosexual acts as Wolfenden recommended.
31/8/1957. Saturday (+4,498) Malaysia (Malaya) became independent, ending 170 years of British rule. This was Britain’s last major Asian colony. Malay and British forces had defeated Communist rebels, and the new Prime Minister was Tenkgu Abdul Rahman. Rahman (1903-1990) was the son of the Sultan of Kedah, he negotiated the Federation of Malaysia with Sabah and Singapore, 1961-2, remaining Prime Minister if the enlarged Malaysia. However he resigned from politics after the violemnt Chinese-Malay riots of May 1969 in Kuala Lumpur.
29/8/1957. Thursday (+4,496) Police in the US began using a device to measure the amount of alcohol in a driver’s breath. It was dubbed the ‘drunkometer’.
9/8/1957, Friday (+4,476) The State of Emergency in Cyprus ended.
7/8/1957, Wednesday (+4,474) Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, died of a stroke, aged 65. Laurel was then aged 67.
6/8/1957. Tuesday (+4,473) Despite the Conservative PM, Harold MacMillan, stating that ‘most of us have never had it so good’, last month, 2,000 people were emigrating from Britain every week, for the USA or Commonwealth countries like Canada and Australia. Many were professionals or science and medical graduates.
5/8/1957, Monday (+4,472) The Andy Capp cartoon forst appeared in The Mirror newspaper.
1/8/1957, Thursday (+4,468) The West Indies Federation was formed.
29/7/1957. Monday (+4,465) International Atomic Energy Agency established.
25/7/1957, Thursday (+4,461) Tunisia abolished the monarchy and became a republic. Habib Bourguiba was elected as the first President.
23/7/1957, Tuesday (+4,459) In Britain, violence broke out on picket lines as a national bus strike took effect.
22/7/1957. Monday (+4,458) Shell and BP announced they would pull out of Israel to pacify some Arab nations, who refused to accept the very existence of Israel.
20/7/1957, Saturday (+4,456) Conservative PM Harold Macmillan said that ‘most of our people have never had it so good’.
12/7/1957, Friday (+4,448) US Surgeon-General Leroy E Burney announced the US Public Health Service’s belief that there was a direct causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.
11/7/1957. Thursday (+4,447) The Aga Khan died in Versoix, Switzerland. He was born in Karachi on 2/11/1877, and during World War One, when \Turkey was drawn in on the German side, the Aga Khan was instrumental in reassuring the Moslems of the British Empire that the Allies had no plans against Islam and to stay loyal to Britain. In 1937 he was appointed President of the League of Nations. He spent World war Two in Switzerland and withdrew from further political activity. In 1946, the year of his 60-year jubilee celebration, he was twice weighed by his subjects and paid a sum of diamonds of equivalent weight. The sum of US$3,600,000 which resulted was used by the Khan for building schools and other community projects in Pakistan. He was also famous as a breeder and trainer of racehorses, winning the Epsom races five times.
7/7/1957 Sunday (+4,443) The Polish economy was stabilised with the help of a loan of US$ 30 million. US economic aid continued and between 1957 and 1963 Poland received economic aid worth US$ 529 million.
1/7/1957. Monday (+4,437) (1) Passenger services on the Watlington to Princes Risborough line were withdrawn.
(2) The footballer’s maximum wage was raised to £20 per week. A baker earned £7 15s 3d (£7.76) per week. In the Whiteleys Christmas catalogue, an electric razor cost £10 17s (£10.85), a cashmere cardigan cost £10 17s 6d (£10.88), and a tropical fish tank cost £4 4s (£4.20).
30/6/1957, Sunday (+4,436)The ‘lion’ was stamped on British eggs from this day. The practice ended on 31/12/1968.
26/6/1957. Wednesday (+4,432) The UK government began an anti-smoking campaign, despite fears that this would cause tax revenue to fall. As recently as 1956, the Health Minister, Mr R Turton, had said there was no proof that smoking caused any harm, but recent reports in the UK and USA now suggested links to some bronchial and heart diseases.
13/6/1957. Thursday (+4,419) US Vice-President Richard Nixon and civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King discussed how to enforce the racial desegregation of the southern states of the USA. The Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, said he would never permit racial integration of his schools and would use state militia to stop Black students entering White facilities. On 25/9/1957 an angry crowd of 1,500 White demonstrators watched as 1,000 US armed National Guardsmen, bayonets drawn, enforce the arrival of nine black students at the Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Seven protesters were arrested as one demonstrator tried to grab a guardsman’s rifle; some shouted ‘go home, niggers!’
7/6/1957. Friday (+4,413) A travel report published in London said a small fishing village called Benidorm was the place for summer holidays, with guaranteed sun and low prices. Tourist development in Benidorm had just begun, with a German company building bed and breakfast accommodation there. There were warnings that the bathrooms may be spartan, with some taps only giving salt water.
1/6/1957. Saturday (+4,407) The computer, ERNIE, drew the first Premium Bond prize. The first prize was £1,000. The lowest prize was £10. The Church had condemned the £1 premium Bonds as a ’squalid raffle’ when introduced in 1956.
31/5/1957, Friday (+4,406) The American playwright Arthur Miller was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to name other writers as communists. Miller confessed his own communist sympathies but said his conscience would not let him finger others; the judge praised his motives but he could still face a year in jail.
23/5/1957. Thursday (+4,398) The Church of England broke with tradition by allowing divorcees to take Communion. The Bible taught that marriage was for life, but Britain’s legal system allowed divorce.
15/5/1957. Wednesday (+4,390) Britain’s first H – Bomb was exploded on Christmas Island in the southern Pacific Ocean.
14/5/1957, Tuesday (+4,389) Petrol rationing in the UK, caused by the Suez Crisis, ended.
8/5/1957, Wednesday (+4,283)
7/5/1957, Tuesday (+4,382) Eliot Ness, the FBI agent who headed the investigation of Al Capone in Chicago, died.
6/5/1957. Monday (+4,381) The British and French revived plans for a Channel Tunnel link, despite fears over security and rabies.
4/5/1957, Saturday (+4,379)
3/5/1957. Friday (+4,378) South Africa dropped ‘God Save the Queen’ as its national anthem.
2/5/1957. Thursday (+4,377) Senator Joe McCarthy, Republican, died of liver disease. He was most remembered for his ‘witch-hunts’ against suspected Communists. See 2/12/1954.
1/5/1957, Wednesday (+4,376)
30/4/1957, Tuesday (+4,375) Egypt reopened the Suez Canal.
29/4/1957, Monday (+4,374) The Leicester to John’O’Gaunt railway closed.
26/4/1957. Friday (+4,371)The Anglican Church and the universities in South Africa continued to defy government rulings on enforcing racial segregation, or apartheid.
24/4/1957. Wednesday (+4,369) The BBC broadcast Patrick Moore’s ‘The Sky at Night’ for the first time.
17/4/1957, Wednesday (+4,362) Archbishop Makarios arrived back in Athens, from a 13-month exile in the Seychelles.
4/4/1957. Thursday (+4,349) Britain announced that compulsory National Service, 2 years long for all reaching 18, would end in 1960.
3/4/1957, Wednesday (+4,348) The UK Labour Party called for H-Bomb tests to stop.
1/4/1957, Monday (+4,346) The BBC ran an April fools spoof documentary about spaghetti being harvested from trees in Switzerland.
29/3/1957, Friday (+4,343) Irish-born writer Joyce Carey died.
28/3/1957, Thursday (+4,342) Britain freed Archbishop Makarios.
25/3/1957. Monday (+4,339) Six nations signed the Treaty of Rome to create the Common Market (EEC) and Euratom. These were Italy, West Germany, France, and the three Benelux countries. The founding nations foresaw a union of some 160 million people, to be developed over 15 years. There was also a shared atomic energy programme, Euratom. Britain was notably absent, preferring to create a wider but looser trading network involving the Common Market, the Commonwealth, and others. Britain feared a supra-national authority that would erode its sovereignty over domestic affairs. However the PM, Harold MacMillan, privately believed that the UK should have sought Common market membership and now began to create the European Free trading Area, EFTA, which included all of western Europe, and involved less loss of sovereignty for the participating nations. A stand-alone Britain faced greater threats to its trade and industry from a developing Common Market.
22/3/1957. Friday (+4,336) San Francisco was hit by the worst earthquake since the 1906 disaster.
21/3/1957, Thursday (+4,335) Sabrina Le Beauf, US actress, was born.
20/3/1957. Wednesday (+4,334) Britain favoured UN mediation over Cyprus but the Greeks rejected it.
19/3/1957, Tuesday (+4,333) Elvis Presley paid the US$ 1,000 deposit on a mansion called Graceland, being sold by Mrs Ruth Brown-Moore.
18/3/1957, Monday (+4,332) Wolfgang Schilling, German footballer, was born.
17/3/1957. Sunday (+4,331) 22 were killed and several houses demolished when a British European Airways turbo-prop airliner crashed at Manchester’s Ringway Airport. Failure of one wing flap to deploy on landing was blamed; if only one wing flap deployed, the aircraft would flip over on landing, as was seen by witnesses.
16/3/1957, Saturday (+4,330) Constantin Brancusi, sculptor, died in Paris.
11/3/1957, Monday (+4,325) (1) Richard Byrd, American aviator and polar explorer, died.
(2) The World Health Information published the first indications that radiation may have genetic effects.
8/3/1957, Friday (+4,322) The Suez Canal reopened for smaller ships.
7/3/1957, Thursday (+4,321) The United States Congress approved the Eisenhower Doctrine.
6/3/1957. Wednesday (+4,320) (1) Eamon De Valera, aged 75, was elected President of Ireland by a 120,000 majority. He was a veteran of the 1916 Easter Rising against the British and strongly supported a united Ireland, including the North.
(2) Ghana, formerly known as the Gold Coast, became independent; the first British colony in Africa to do so. It had been a British colony since 1874. Dr Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minsiter, in the capital, Accra. Nkrumah’s party had won the 1956 elections. The name Ghana was chosen by Nkrumah to inspire his people from the time when Africans had wealth and power. it was taken from the Islamic empire which ruled for centuries in Sudan during Europe’s Mediaeval times. On 7/3/1957 Ghana joined the United Nations.
3/3/1957, Sunday (+4,317) The UK competed in the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time. The British entry, All, sung by Hull-born Patricia Bredin, came seventh out of ten in Frankfurt Am Main, Germnay.
21/2/1957. Thursday (+4,307) The 70 year old Israeli president, David Ben Gurion, defied US and UN calls to leave the Gaza Strip. In Jerusalem, thousands of Israelis protested on the streets against the UN’s call for withdrawal. On 22/1/1957 Israeli troops left the Sinai Peninsula, and on 6/3/1957 handed the Gaza Strip over to the UN.
19/2/1957, Tuesday (+4,305)
16/2/1957, Saturday (+4,302) Sir Leslie Hore-Belisha, the Minister of Transport responsible for Belisha Beacons, the driving test, and the Highway Code, died.
9/2/1957, Saturday (+4,295) Poland and Japan resumed diplomatic relations.
1/2/1957, Friday (+4,287) The first turbo-prop airliner, the Bristol Britannia, entered scheduled service in Britain.
26/1/1957, Saturday (+4,281) Kashmir joined India, under ‘special status’ agreements, providing for example that non-Kashmiri Indians could not buy property there. Pakistan protested.
25/1/1957, Friday (+4,280) The UN ordered Israel to quit Aqaba and Gaza.
20/1/1957. Sunday (+4,275) Wladyslaw Gomulka was elected First Secretary of the Polish Communist Party. Aware of the USSR’s crackdown in Hungary in 1956 he tempered ideas for a Polish form of Communism, strengthening links between Poland and the USSR. However he ended collective farming in Poland, returning 80% of arable land to private hands, and curbed the worst excesses of the Polish secret police.
16/1/1957. Wednesday (+4,271) UK forces repelled an attempted invasion of the colony of Aden by Yemeni forces. Aden was annexed from Yemeni territory by the British in 1839 as a military stronghold and naval fuelling station. Yemeni forces managed to overrun some villages just inside Aden but were repelled by ground based rockets and air fire.
14/1/1957, Monday (+4,269) Humphrey Bogart, American film actor and 1951 Oscar winner, died of throat cancer.
12/1/1957, Saturday (+4,267) President Eisenhower urged the USSR to agree to a ban on warfare in space.
10/1/1957. Thursday (+4,265) Eisenhower was elected President of the USA, defeating the Democrat challenger, Adlai Stevenson, to win a second term in office. He continued US vigilance against Communism, and supported countries fighting off USSR and China-backed insurgents. He also pledged to continue to support the UN.
9/1/1957. Wednesday (+4,264) (1) Anthony Eden, aged 59, resigned as Prime Minister, on grounds of ill-health, in the wake of the Suez Crisis. On 10/1/1957 Harold Macmillan became Prime Minister. Rab Butler was deputy PM but had also supported the Suez adventure and there would have been a back-bench revolt if Butler had become PM. A bitterly disappointed Butler received the consolation prize of becoming Home Secretary under Macmillan, and Peter Thorneycroft became the new Chancellor. Macmillan dismissed Labour calls for a general election by the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, and busied himself with mending relationships with the US under the recently elected President Eisenhower.
(2) TV detector vans were first used by the UK Post Office to track down licence dodgers.
7/1/1957. Monday (+4,262) President Khrushchev of the USSR welcomed China’s Prime Minister Chou En Lai. Behind the scenes, however, there was rivalry between the two countries. The USSR supported Manchurian and Vietnamese Communists, and there were differences on how Communism should be enforced. However Chou En Lai supported the USSR’s crackdown in 1956 in Hungary.
4/1/1957. Friday (+4,259) In the wake of the Suez Crisis, a UN sponsored force of German tugs and salvage vessels began to clear the Suez Canal. 13 ships of various nationalities had been stranded in the Canal and could now resume sailing towards the Mediterranean. On 1/1/1957 President Colonel Gamal Nasser of Egypt had abrogated a 1954 treaty that had preciously guaranteed the UK full access to the Canal during international conflicts.
1/1/1957, Tuesday (+4,256) The Saar was formally integrated in the German Federal Republic.
31/12/1956, Monday (+4,255) 90% of Chinese farms had been re-organised into collectives, with land, implements and animals owned collectively, not privately.
30/12/1956, Sunday (4,254) The last passenger train ran on the Liverpool Overhead Railway. Although the line was busy, major repairs were found to be needed to the overhead section and there was no money for this.
27/12/1956, Thursday (+4,251) Clearance work on the Suez Canal began.
22/12/1956. Saturday (+4,246) Britain and France withdrew their forces from Egypt, under intense pressure from the USA. The Suez Crisis had caused a run on Sterling, and the US would not halt this without a withdrawal.
18/12/1956. Tuesday (+4,242) Japan joined the United Nations.
12/12/1956, Wednesday (+4,236) Twelve attacks by the IRA in Northern Ireland signalled the start of a new terror campaign.
11/12/1956, Tuesday (+4,235) In Britain, the start of TV broadcasting was moved forward from 7pm to 6pm.
10/12/1956.Monday (+4,234) Martial law was declared in Hungary.
8/12/1956, Saturday (+4,232) (Poland, Christian)The Polish government completed a process of reconciliation with the Catholic Church. Cardinal Wyszynski had been released from prison on 26/10/1956, and on this day the Church was now free to make its own ecclesiastical appointments. Religious teaching in schools, and religious posts in hospitals and the army, were restored. Criticism of government policies in church sermons was permitted.
5/12/1956, Wednesday (+4,229) Rose Heilbron became Britain’s first female judge. She sat in Burnley, Lancashire.
2/12/1956, Sunday (+4,226) Fidel Castro clandestinely returned to eastern Cuba, from Mexico, landing in the yacht Gramma. He then waged an 18-month guerrilla campaign against the Batista government. See 8/1/1959. The invasion initially suffered major setbacks, with the Gramma first delayed by storms then grounding on a mudbank where government aircraft could easily spot it. The entire invasion force of 82 men were flushed out of cane fields by government soldiers, and only 12 managed to escape to the Sierra Maestra. Here, however, Castro had friends from his childhood as a sugar farmer’s son. With the increasing support of local peasants, and by clever use of the terrain, Castro’s supporters eventually won.
23/11/1956. Friday (+4,217) As the Suez Crisis deepened, petrol rationing began in the UK, and driving tests were suspended.
22/11/1956. Thursday (+4,216) (1) The withdrawal of Anglo-French troops from Port Said was completed, UN forces moved in.
(2) The 16th Olympic Games opened in Melbourne.
17/11/1956, Saturday (+4,211) Kashmir voted to become part of India.
15/11/1956. Thursday (+4,209) UN emergency forces arrived in Suez, and began to clear the Canal of wrecked ships on 27/12/1956. UN forces began taking over from the British, under strong pressure from the USA. The British PM, Anthony Eden, was suffering from psychological strain caused by the unanticipated world hostility to his Suez adventure, and flew to Jamaica on 23/11/1957 to rest.
13/11/1956, Tuesday (+4,207) The US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation on buses was illegal.
9/11/1956. Friday (+4,203) The UN told the USSR to leave Hungary.
7/11/1956. Wednesday (+4,201) Britain and France reluctantly agreed to UN demands for a ceasefire in the Suez Crisis.
6/11/1956. Tuesday (+4,200) (1) Israeli forces reached Sharm El Sheikh.
(2) Work began on the Kariba High Dam on the River Zambesi, between Zambia and Zimbabwe. See 18/5/1960.
5/11/1956. Monday (+4,199) (1) The Rainford Junction to Ormskirk railway closed.
(2) The weekly British TV programme What the Papers Say was first transmitted.
4/11/1956, Sunday (+4,198) 16 Soviet divisions moved into Hungary, with 2,000 tanks, to suppress the Hungarian Revolution.
3/11/1956, Saturday (+4,197) The Elmley Moor ITV transmitter in Yorkshire was switched on. In Scunthorpe, 14 inch TVs cost 14 Guineas, 17 inch ones cost 69 Guineas, and a 21 inch model cost 88 Guineas; black and white, (I Guinea = £1.50).
2/11/1956, Friday (+4,196) Gaza fell to British troops.
1/11/1956. Thursday (+4,195) Ernie (Electronic Random Number Indicating Equipment) was born as Premium Bonds first went on sale in Britain.
31/10/1956. Wednesday (+4,194) France and Britain bombed Egyptian airfields in the Suez Crisis. The speed of events – Egypt was only given 12 hours to withdraw from the Canal – suggested to US President Eisenhower that the whole operation was staged to maintain Anglo-French influence in Suez.
30/10/1956, Tuesday (+4,193) Village stops on the Lincoln to Barnetby railway closed to passengers.
29/10/1956. Monday (+4,192) 5.pm. Israeli troops invaded the Sinai Peninsula and troops pushed on towards the Suez Canal, ostensibly to destroy guerrilla strongholds, coming within 20 miles of the Canal. 30,000 tank-supported Israeli troops invaded Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, in retaliation “for Egyptian attacks on land and sea communications near Gaza”. Israeli forces wanted to reach the gun batteries at Sharm El Sheikh at the tip of the Sinai peninsula which were closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. These batteries were destroyed on 5/11/1956.
This was part of the Suez Crisis in which President Nasser nationalised the canal. See 16/11/1869, 26/7/1956, and 23/6/1956. On 30/10/1956 Britain and France issued an ultimatum to Egypt and Israel to stop fighting and on 31/10/1956 France and Britain invaded the Suez area ‘to stop the Israeli-Egyptian fighting. Nasser closed the canal by sinking 47 old ships full of concrete in it. In fact this move had been pre-planned with Israel’s co-operation. On 25/10/1956 the British, French, and Israeli PMs, Anthony Eden, Guy Mollet, and David Ben Gurion, had met in secret at Sevres. On 6/11/1956 Anglo-French forces, 600 British and 487 French paratroopers, seized the Canal itself, having landed at Port Said. The UN ordered a ceasefire on 8/11/1956. The US condemned the invasion and the UN saw the rare sight of US and USSR delegates voting together. The US had threatened not to defend Sterling against a run on international markets against it unless the UK pulled out of Suez.
Because of the fighting, backed by Britain and France, and ended by a UN ceasefire, the Canal was closed for more than six months, blocked by sunken ships. UK petrol rationing began on 23/11/1956, see this date. The Canal closed again during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967 and did not reopen until 1975. However by then very large oil tankers had been developed that were too deep to pass through the canal. It is hoped that plans to deepen the Canal and reduce fees will revive the enterprise (2001).
28/10/1956, Sunday (+4,191) (1) Imre Nagy ordered a cease fire by security forces.
(2) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, was born.
27/10/1956, Saturday (+4,190) Prime Minister Imre Nagy formed a new Hungarian Government, see 5/11/1956.
26/10/1956, Friday (+4,189) The United Nations approved the creation of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
25/10/1956. Thursday (+4,188) In Poland, thousands demonstrated in favour of the new regime in Hungary. Hungarian security forces fired on demonstrators near the Hungarian Parliament, killing some 600 people.
24/10/1956, Wednesday (+4,187) The Hungarian Government declared martial law and Soviet tanks appeared in Budapest.
23/10/1956. Tuesday (+4,186) Anti Communist uprising began in Hungary, see 5/11/1956. Protests were against the pro-Soviet regime which had replaced the reforming regime of Imre Nagy. Stalin's statue in Budapest was torn down and the return of Nagy only served to inflame matters further. The uprising was crushed on 26/10/1956.
17/10/1956. Wednesday (+4,180) Calder Hall, Britain’s first nuclear power station, in Cumbria, was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. Generation of power had begun on 20/8/1956.
15/10/1956, Monday (+4,178) The Hexham to Riccarton Junction railway closed.
10/10/1956, Wednesday (+4,173) Two Israeli regiments bombarded a Jordanian police barracks for three hours.
27/10/1956. Sunday (+4,170) Death of US frozen foods pioneer, Clarence Birdseye.
30/9/1956, Sunday (+4,163) Doenitz (born 1891), German Admiral during World War Two, and technically Head of State of Germany from Hitler’s suicide on 1/5/1945 until his internment on 23/5/1945, was released from Spandau Prison. He had been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 1946 by the Allied Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.
29/9/1956, Saturday (+4,162) Sebastian Coe, British international athlete, was born in Chiswick, London.
28/9/1956. Friday (+4,161) Death of US air pioneer, William Boeing.
25/9/1956, Tuesday (+4,158) Transatlantic telephone cable between the UK and the USA became operational.
23/9/1956, Sunday (+4.156) Britain and France took the Suez issue to the UN Security Council.
11/9/1956. Tuesday (+4,144) After sporadic attacks by Jordan along the Israeli frontier, Israel retaliated. A battalion of Israeli troops attacked a Jordanian police post at Rahwa, killing 5 policeman and ten soldiers and destroying the building.
3/9/1956, Monday (+4,136) After riots in several towns at cinemas involving Teddy Boys following the film Rock Around The Clock, the film was banned.
30/8/1956, Thursday (+4,132) Britain announced plans for parking wardens.
29/8/1956, Wednesday (+4,131) Major build-up of British and French forces in the eastern Mediterranean, to intimidate Egypt.
20/8/1956. Monday (+4,122) Calder Hall, the world’s first large-scale nuclear power station, began operating.
3/8/1956, Friday (+4,105) The name of Bedloe’s Island, site of the Statue of Liberty, was changed to Liberty Island, on the approval of President Eisenhower.
1/8/1956, Wednesday (+4,103) The US, Britain, and France met to talk about the Suez problem. On 8/8/1956 Eden said Nasser could not be trusted.
30/7/1956, Monday (+4,101) Eden told Nasser he cannot have the Suez Canal and imposed an arms embargo on Egypt.
26/7/1956. Thursday (+4,097) Nasser nationalised the Suez Canal a month after taking power. Nasser wanted the tolls from the Canal to pay for the Aswan Dam construction. On 28/7/1956 the Cabinet met in London and agreed that as a last resort military means would be used if the Canal was not kept open for free passage of ships in perpetuity, not just until the Suez Canal Company’s concession ran out in November 1968. On 9/9/1956 Nasser rejected US plans for international control over the Canal.
25/7/1956, Wednesday (+4,096) Italian ocean liner SS Andrea sank off Massachusetts after colliding in fog with Swedish liner MS Stockholm; 50 were killed.
19/7/1956. Thursday (+4,090) Britain and the USA withdrew financial support for Egypt under its new leader, Nasser, who was seen as too pro-Soviet.
29/6/1956, Friday (+4,070) Pedro Santana Lopes, Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.
28/6/1956. Thursday (+4,069) In riots in Poznan, Poland, tanks were called out; 38 people died and 270 were wounded.
23/6/1956. Saturday (+4,064) General Gamal Adbel Nasser was elected Egypt’s first president. However voting was compulsory and he was the only candidate. Nasser graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Cairo in 1938, aged 20, and was wounded in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Appointed Prime Minister of Egypt in 1954, he enjoyed popular support.
19/6/1956, Tuesday (+4,060)
13/6/1956, Wednesday (+4,054) The last British troops left the Suez Canal Zone.
11/6/1956, Monday (+4,052) (1) The Crook to Tow Law railway closed.
(2) The railway from Shenfield to Chelmsford was electrified.
4/6/1956, Monday (+4,045) Egypt announced that it would not renew the Suez Canal Company’s concession when it expired in 1968.
3/6/1956. Sunday (+4,044) British Rail abolished third class travel, to conform with Continental practice.
24/5/1956 Thursday (+4,034) The first Eurovision song contest was held. Europe was just recovering from the Second World War but the Cold War was in full swing. There was a need to unite the countries of western Europe. An Italian radio manager had an idea for a European music festival similar to the popular Italian San Remo Festival. The first Eurovision song contest was held in Switzerland with seven countries participating, each with two songs/performances. These were West Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Belgium, the same countries that took the initiative to form the European Union. Switzerland won the first contest with the song ‘Refrain’. Since then 37 different countries have participated, 800 different singers have performed 900 new songs, and the show attracts 100 million viewers in 2002.
14/5/1956, Monday (+4,024) A British diver disappeared whilst bugging the underside of soviet President Kruschev’s warship in Portsmouth.
7/5/1956. Monday (+4,017) (1) The UK Health Minister refused to back an anti-smoking campaign because he wasn’t convinced it was harmful.
(2) The inaugural meeting of the Western European Union Council.
(3) The Market Drayton to Silverdale railway closed. The Stoke on Trent to Leek railway closed. The Bo’Ness branch closed.
1/5/1956. Tuesday (+4,011) Germans demonstrated in favour of reunification.
19/4/1956, Thursday (+3,999) Prince Rainier of Monaco married American actress Grace Kelly.
18/4/1956, Wednesday (+3,998) The Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev, along with Nikolai Bulganin, visited the UK.
17/4/1956. Tuesday (+3,997) Premium Bonds were introduced by Chancellor Harold MacMillan; prizes went up to £1,000.
14/4/1956, Saturday (+3,994) The first videotape was demonstrated in Chicago.
7/4/1956, Saturday (+3,987) Spain relinquished its protectorate over Morocco.
6/4/1956, Friday (+3,986) Paramount Pictures signed Elvis for a three-film, five-year contract worth $450,000.
3/4/1956, Tuesday (+3,983)
1/4/1956, Sunday (+3,981) The first US U-2 spy planes arrived at RAF Lakenheath.
31/3/1956, Saturday (+3,980) The last British soldiers left Egypt, and 74 years of British military presence in Egypt ended, as the Grenadier Guards and Life Guards embarked at Port Said, Suez.
23/3/1956, Friday (+3,972) (1) Pakistan became an independent Islamic republic within the Commonwealth
(2) Foundation stone of Coventry Cathedral laid by Queen Elizabeth II. The Cathedral was consecrated on 25/5/1962. The former 14th century cathedral along with the city’s mediaeval centre had been destroyed in an 11-hour Luftwaffe blitz on 14/11/1940 when over 1,000 died.
20/3/1956. Tuesday (+3,969) Tunisia became independent, having been a French Protectorate since 1881.
18/3/1956, Sunday (+3,967) At the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev denounced Stalin’s crimes.
9/3/1956. Friday (+3,958) Archbishop Makarios, implicated in terrorism, was deported by the British from Cyprus to the Seychelles. Riots broke out in Cyprus.
6/3/1956, Tuesday (+3,955) British Rail said the steam services on the London to Manchester and Liverpool would be electrified.
5/3/1956, Monday (+3,954) (1) The US Supreme Court upheld a ban on racial segregation in schools and universities.
(2) The telephone weather forecast service began in the UK.
(3) The Yelverton to Princetown railway closed.
4/3/1956, Sunday (+3,953)
2/3/1956, Friday (+3,951) The Treaty of Fez was terminated.
1/3/1956. Thursday (+3,950) The University of Alabama expelled its first Black student. Autherine Lucy had been suspended ‘for her own safety’ after attacks by an angry White mob. The US Federal Court ruled that she must be re-admitted.
29/2/1956. Wednesday (+3,949) Pakistan was declared an Islamic Republic.
16/2/1956. Thursday (+3,936) The British Parliament voted to end the death penalty.
12/2/1956, Sunday (+3,932) The first yellow ‘No Parking’ lines appeared in Britain, in Slough.
11/2/1956. Saturday (+3,931) A Maltese referendum favoured integration with Britain.
8/2/1956, Wednesday (+3,928) Malaya was promised independence by Britain by August 1957.
6/2/1956, Monday (+3,926) The Newport to Sandown via Merstone railway (IoW) closed.
31/1/1956, Tuesday (+3,920) A A Milne, English author of children’s books, including Winnie the Pooh, died in Hartfield, Sussex.
28/1/1956, Saturday (+3,917) Elvis Presley made his first appearance on TV, on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show. He sang Shake Rattle and Roll.
26/1/1956. Thursday (+3,915) The UK banned the import and export of heroin.
9/1/1956, Monday (+3,898) The Leuchars Junction to Tayport railway closed.
3/1/1956, Tuesday (+3,892) The USSR gave technical aid to China.
2/1/1956, Monday (+3,891) The British Astronomer-Royal said the idea of space travel was ‘bilge’.
1/1/1956. Sunday (+3,890) Sudan became independent, having been administered jointly by Britain and Egypt.
17/12/1955, Saturday (+3,875)
16/12/1955, Friday (+3,874) The new terminal buildings at London Heathrow were completed.
15/12/1955, Thursday (+3,873) Bulgaria joined the United Nations.
14/12/1955. Wednesday (+3,872) Ireland and Hungary joined the United Nations.
12/12/1955, Monday (+3,870) Christopher Cockerell patented his prototype of the hovercraft.
7/12/1955. Wednesday (+3,865) Clement Attlee, aged 72, resigned as leader of the UK Labour Party; Hugh Gaitskell was elected as leader by a wide margin. Gaitskell died in 1963 and Labour did not come to power again until 1964, with Harold Wilson as leader. Attlee entered the House of Lords as First Earl Attlee, until his death in 1969.
5/12/1955, Monday (+3,863) (1) The Forfar to Arbroath railway closed.
(2) Martin Luther King was elected leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott movement which had started following the arrest of Rosa Parks on 1/12/1955.
1/12/1955, Thursday (+3,859) In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her front of bus seat for a White man and move to the rear of the bus. On 4/12/1955 she was fined US$ 14. A boycott of Montgomery City Lines buses began by the Afro-American population, costing 65% of pre-boycott revenue. The bus company had to end seat discrimination and hire Afro-American drivers, an outcome hailed as the start of the Black Rights movement in the USA.
30/11/1955, Wednesday (+3,858) Floodlights were used for the first time at Wembley Stadium, London, towards the end of an international match against Spain.
28/11/1955. Monday (+3,856) A state of emergency was declared in Cyprus because of EOKA terrorism. The Greek majority wanted to celebrate Oxi Day, the day Greece entered WW2, but were banned by the British Governor of Cyprus, Sir John Harding. EOKA really wanted enosis, or union with Greece, fiercely opposed by the Turkish minority in Cyprus.
23/11/1955, Wednesday (+3,851) Britain handed over the Cocos Islands to Australia.
22/11/1955, Tuesday (+3,850) A Tupolev Tu-16 dropped the first Soviet nuclear bomb, RDS-37, in Siberia.
21/11/1955, Monday (+3,849) The first meeting of the Permanent Council of the Baghdad Pact, later called CENTO, was held.
17/11/1955. Thursday (+3,845) Anglesey became the first authority in Britain to introduce fluoride into the water supply.
11/11/1955, Friday (+3,839) The Mount Royal Ohara rail tunnel, Japan, 5 km long, opened.
5/11/1956, Saturday (+3,833) What The Papers Say was first broadcast on UK TV.
4/11/1955, Friday (+3,832) Matti Vanhanen, Prime Minister of Finland 2003-2010, was born in Jyväskylä
3/11/1955, Thursday (+3,831) The Rimutaka rail tunnel, New Zealand, 9 km long, opened.
2/11/1955, Wednesday (+3,830) Ben Gurion formed the new government in Israel.
1/11/1955. Tuesday (+3,829) Yemen signed a five year treaty of friendship with the USSR, in Cairo.
31/10/1955, Monday (+3,828) Princess Margaret decided not to marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend. Had she married, she would have lost her Civil List income and place in line to the throne.
30/10/1955, Sunday (+3,827) A street sweeper in Scunthorpe was paid £7.10 a week, for a 44-hour week.
29/10/1955, Saturday (+3,826) Dmitri Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1, originally completed in 1948, was premiered by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra.
28/10/1955, Friday (+3,825) Bill Gates was born. He founded Microsoft in 1975 and was the world’s richest man, 1995-2007.
23/10/1955. Sunday (+3,820) South Vietnam became a republic under Diem.
14/10/1955, Friday (+3,811) Baluchistan formally became part of West Pakistan.
13/10/1955, Thursday (+3,810) Pan American Airlines ordered 20 Boeing 707s and 25 Douglas DC-8 jet airliners. This was the start of a major shift by world airlines into large jet aircraft for long-haul passenger flights.
10/10/1955, Monday (+3,807) Experimental colour TV broadcasts were made from by the BBC from Alexandra Palace, London.
5/10/1955, Wednesday (+3,802) Karamanlis became Prime Minister of Greece, succeeding Alexander Papagos on his death.
23/9/1955, Friday (+3,790) Pakistan joined the Baghdad pact.
22/9/1955. Thursday (+3,789) With the start of commercial television in Britain came the first TV advertisement. It was for Gibbs SR toothpaste. Programmes from the two commercial programme makers, Associated Rediffusion and the Associated Broadcasting Company, included the annual Guildhall banquet, Britain’s first-ever cash prize quiz show, a variety show and a boxing match from Shoreditch. Popular ITV shows included Sunday Night at the London Palladium and Coronation Street. By ITV’s annual advertising revenue increased from an initial £2 million in 1955 to £100 million in 1960. The BBC competed by having Grace Archer, a leading character in their radio drama The Archers, killed off in a fire.
21/9/1955, Wednesday (+3,788) Juan Peron, Presidential dictator of Argentina since 1946, resigned and went into exile, ousted by a military coup. He was born on 8 October 1895, son of a wealthy rancher. In 1930 he took part in an uprising against President Hipolioto Irigoyen A widower in 1945, he met and married Maria Eva Durate, known as Evita. Evita died in the early 1950s, and economic difficulties and labour unrest increased in Argentina. Peron disliked the Catholic Church in Argentina and sought to minimise its influence, which brought him into conflict with the military officers. In 1955 Peron arrested 85 priests and expelled the Bishop of Buenos Aires, which earned him an excommunication from Pope Pius XII. On 18/6/1955 officers from the Argentine air force and navy rebelled and fighter planes bombed government buildings at Plaza del Mayo. Over 300 civilians were killed in the attack and Peron placed Argentina under martial law. A full military coup was launched on 16/9/1955 by General Eduardo Lonardi. Peron fled to Paraguay, remaining in exile until 1973 when his party won Argentine elections. Peron retuned to a heroes welcome, becoming President until his death on 1/7/1974.
20/9/1955. Tuesday (+3,787) The Radio Times was first published.
19/9/1955, Monday (+3,786) The Rhyl to Denbigh railway closed. The Ludgershall to Tidworth railway (Wiltshire) closed. The Lincoln to Shirebrook via Tuxford railway closed. The Perth to Ladybank via Newburgh railway closed.
18/9/1955, Sunday (+3,785) Four years after they fled to Russia, the British Government officially confirmed that Donald McLean and Guy Burgess were Soviet spies.
13/9/1955, Tuesday (+3,780) The crisis in the British colony of Cyprus worsened when EOKA called a General Strike. Illegal marches and demonstrations by both Greeks and Turks led to clashes.
6/9/1955, Tuesday (+3,773) Anti-Greek riots in Istanbul and Izmir.
20/8/1955, Saturday (+3,756) Algerian independence fighters (FLN, Front Liberation National) committed atrocities against Europeans in the Constantine area of Algeria. Simultaneous attacks in 25 towns were co-ordinated by former councillor Zirout Youssef; French military posts, police stations, and the homes of Europeans were hit. ^0 Europeans died in Philippeville. The French responded harshly, with villages suspected of harbouring rebels being razed and 500,000 French troops being sent to maintain order. Barbed wire was erected along the borders with Tunisia and Morocco because these two newly-independent states were aiding the rebels. The French mounted a retaliatory raid into Tunisia, sparking UN intervention.
15/8/1955. Monday (+3,751) India attempted to take over Goa.
14/8/1955, Sunday (+3,750) The US schooner Levin J. Marvel capsized and sank in Chesapeake Bay with the loss of 12 of the 24 people on board.
13/8/1955, Saturday (+3,749) The IRA raided a training centre in Berkshire.
12/8/1955, Friday (+3,748) Thomas Mann, German novelist, died aged 80.
11/8/1955. Thursday (+3,747) Muslim right wing government took over in Indonesia.
8/8/1955, Monday (+3,744)
5/8/1955, Friday (+3,741) European Monetary Agreement signed.
4/8/1955, Thursday (+3,740) The 1955 Mitropa Cup football competition was won by Vörös Lobogó,
3/8/1955, Wednesday (+3,739) Duncan Sandys, UK Housing Minister, instructed local authorities to set up Green Belts similar to London’s around other major towns and cities. The idea was to stop food producing farmland being lost to urbanisation, and to stop unsightly ‘ribbon development’ along main roads. Where possible, urban development was to be by ‘infilling’. This month, denim jeans became fashionable in the UK.
2/8/1955, Tuesday (+3,738) The US poet Wallace Stevens died in Hartford, Connecticut.
1/8/1955, Monday (+3,737) (1) The Hull to South Howden via South Cave railway closed.
(2) Warsaw hosted the Communist Youth Congress.
27/7/1955, Wednesday (+3,732) The Clean Air Bill was presented to Parliament, to prevent the reappearance of the 1952 Smog that killed 4,000, see 4/12/1952.
22/7/1955, Friday (+3,727) Northorpe railway station, Lincolnshire, closed to passengers. Opened in 1849, it remained open for freight until March 1964.
17/7/1955. Sunday (+3,722) Walt Disney’s Disneyland was opened in Anaheim, California.
13/7/1955. Wednesday (+3,718) Nightclub hostess Ruth Ellis became the last woman hanged, at Holloway Prison in Britain, for the murder of her lover David Blakely, following her conviction on 21/6/1955. However there was public sympathy for her; she claimed someone else put the gun in her hand; and her case was influential in bringing about the abolition of the death penalty in the UK.
12/7/1955, Tuesday (+3,717) The last hanging at Lincoln Prison. Kenneth Roberts, 24, was executed for the murder of 18-year-old Mary Georgina Roberts in Scunthorpe.
7/7/1955. Thursday (+3,712) Dixon of Dock Green began on BBC TV with Jack Warner as George Dixon. It was to run for 21 years and 367 episodes.
4/7/1955. Monday (+3,709) (1) British dock strike ended after 1 month.
(2) Britain said it would return the Simonstown military base to South Africa.
1/7/1955. Friday (+3,706) A male office worker in the UK earned an average of £728 a year; a woman office worker was paid just £416 a year. A skilled manual worker earned £572 a year if male; if female, she earned £291 a year. In 2003, average wages for all are £24,000 a year. New houses cost an average £2,000 in 1955, as against £150,000 in 2003. Dockers called off their strike.
14/6/1955, Tuesday (+3,689) Rail workers called off the strike which began on 29//5/1955.
13/6/1955, Monday (+3,688) The Monmouth to Pontypool Road railway closed. The East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes and Barcombe Mills (Lewes) railway closed.
31/5/1955, Tuesday (+3,675) In Britain, troops went on stand-by as the effects of the rail and docks strikes worsened.
28/5/1955, Saturday (+3,672) 16 Teddy Boys were arrested after a disturbance at a dance hall in Bath.
26/5/1955, Thursday (+3,670) The Conservatives won the General Election, with a majority of 59.
25/5/1955, Wednesday (+3,669) A British expedition, led by Charles Evans, became the first to climb Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the Himalayas.
23/5/1955, Monday (+3,667) The railways from Bradford to Keighley and Halifax via Queensbury closed.
15/5/1955. Sunday (+3,659) Austria became de jure an independent state within its 1937 borders under the Austrian State Treaty, signed by the USA, USSR, France, and Britain (see 7/1/1946). All the four-power occupation forces were withdrawn by 25/10/1955. On 5/11/1955 Austria declared itself constitutionally to be permanently neutral.
14/5/1955. Saturday (+3,658) Eastern bloc countries signed the Warsaw Pact. See 31/3/1954.
10/5/1955, Tuesday (+3,654)
9/5/1955. Monday (+3,653) West Germany became a member of NATO.
8/5/1955. Sunday (+3,652) Hiroshima victims arrived in the USA for plastic surgery.
7/5/1955, Saturday (+3,651)
6/5/1955, Friday (+3,650) Britain went to the International Court over the Falklands.
5/5/1955. Thursday (+3,649) West Germany became a sovereign state (see 26/5/1952); the Allied occupation by France, UK and USA officially ended.
2/5/1955, Monday (+3,646) The Oldham to Delph railway closed.
27/4/1955, Wednesday (+3,641) The First Bandung Conference ended (started 18/4/1955). This was a meeting of 29 newly-independent African and Asian countries who were keen to distance themselves from the USA/USSR superpower rivalry. Nations in attendance included China (Zhou Enlai), India (Nehru), Cambodia (Sihanouk), Burma (U Nu), and Egypt (Gamal Abd-al-Nasser). The presence of China signalled that country’s determination to pursue its own brand of Communism, independent of Russia, The Summit, held in Bandung, Indonesia, was a major foreign policy triumph for Indonesian President Sukharno.
18/4/1955. Monday (+3,632) Albert Einstein, born 14/3/1879, died in Princeton, New Jersey, of a stroke. He was born to a middle class German family of Jewish ancestry. Einstein graduated in 1900 from the Federal institute of technology in Zurich; he worked hard in the laboratory but skipped lectures. He completed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and received the Nobel Prize in 1922. He became an American citizen in 1940 after having signed a famous letter to President F D Roosevelt warning that Germany might try and build an atomic bomb.
12/4/1955, Tuesday (+3,626) The Salk polio vaccine was pronounced safe.
9/4/1955, Saturday (+3,623) Ray Krok founded the McDonalds burger chain. The first McDonalds restaurant was in Des Plaines, Chicago – or – 15/4/1955, San Bernardino, California.
5/4/1955. Tuesday (3,619) Sir Winston Churchill, aged 80, resigned as Prime Minister. He suffered a stroke in 1953. Anthony Eden succeeded him. Harold Macmillan became Eden’s new Foreign Secretary.
1/4/1955, Friday (+3,615) Greek EOKA terrorists led by Grivas set off a series of bombs in Cyprus, starting a 4-year campaign against British occupation. Ankara sought to defend the minority Turkish population in Cyprus. On 9/3/1956 Archbishop Makarios, spiritual leader of the Greek community, was deported by Britain to the Seychelles, but allowed to return to Athens in 1957. See 16/8/1960.
31/3/1955, Thursday (+3,614) The Communist Party in China was purged.
30/3/1955, Wednesday (+3,613)
28/3/1955. Monday (+3,611) Israeli made raids on the Gaza Strip.
27/3/1955, Sunday (+3,610) Pakistan declared a State of Emergency.
11/3/1955, Friday (+3,594) Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of Penicillin in 1928 and Nobel prize-winner in 1945, died.
8/3/1955, Tuesday (+3,591) In West Bromwich, Birmingham, UK, bus drivers re-imposed a colour bar, which had already led to strikes.
4/3/1955, Friday (+3,587) The Burnham Commission recommended equal salaries for men and women teachers; another step towards equality of pay between the sexes.
3/3/1955, Thursday (+3,586) Katharine Drexel, US philanthropist, teacher and Roman Catholic saint, died aged 96.
2/3/1955. Wednesday (+3,585) Egypt and Syria signed a defensive pact.
1/3/1955, Tuesday (+3,584)
26/2/1955, Saturday, (+3,581) US pilot George Smith made the first ejection from a plane at supersonic speed. He required surgery for damage to his liver and intestines, leaving him unable to drink alcohol.
25/2/1955, Friday (+3,580) Britain’s largest aircraft carrier, the Ark Royal was completed.
24/2/1955, Thursday (+3,579) (1) Turkey and Iraq signed the Baghdad Pact.
(2) Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was born.
20/2/1955, Sunday (+3,575)
17/2/1955, Thursday (+3,572) The UK Government announced it would proceed with the manufacture of H-Bombs.
16/2/1955, Wednesday (+3,571) Nearly 100 died in a fire at a home for the elderly in Yokohama, Japan.
15/2/1955, Tuesday (+3,570) The UK Government announced it would build 12 nuclear power stations in the next 10 years. Nuclear power was expected to be much cheaper than that from coal fired power stations; the costs of safety and the disposal of nuclear waste had been overlooked.
10/2/1955, Thursday (+3,565) The House of Commons voted by a majority of 31 to retain the death penalty.
7/2/1955, Monday (+3,562) The Fareham to Alton railway (Hampshire) closed. The Leominister to Kington railway closed.
5/2/1955, Saturday (+3,560) The Midhurst to Pulborough railway closed.
31/1/1955, Monday (+3,555) RCA introduced the first musical synthesiser.
25/1/1955. Tuesday (+3,549) (1) Britain announced plans for a £1,240 million electrification of the railways. New motorways were also envisaged.
(2) The USSR officially ended the war with Germany.
18/1/1955, Tuesday (+3,542) The Kenyan government offered terms to the Mau-Mau.
10/1/1955, Monday (+3,534) The Dundee to Alyth Junction railway closed. The Coupar Angus to Blairgowrie railway closed. The Broughty Ferry to Forfar railway closed.
9/1/1955, Sunday (+3,533) 400 Jamaicans arrived in London to seek work. Much post-war reconstruction needed to be done in Britain.
8/1/1955, Saturday (+3,532) The Thornhill Junction to Methil railway closed.
5/1/1955, Wednesday (+3,529)
31/12/1954, Friday (+3,524) Harold MacMillan, British Conservative Housing Minister, announced that a record number of houses, 354,000, had been built during 1954.
30/12/1954, Thursday (+3,523) Archduke Eugen, Austrian field marshal, died aged 91.
29/12/1954, Wednesday (+3,522) The Netherlands enacted a ‘Statute of the Realm’, giving their remaining possessions in South America and the Caribbean autonomy in domestic affairs.
23/12/1954, Thursday (+3,516) France sent 20,000 troops to Algeria.
18/12/1954, Saturday (+3,511) Greeks rioted in Cyprus, demanding union with Greece instead of British rule. Two rioters were shot by British police as they tore down the Union Jack outside the police station in Limassol, replacing it with the Greek flag. 42 Greek Cypriots were arrested. Athens demanded that Cypriots be allowed to vote on the matter, knowing that Greek Cypriots outnumbered Turks.
8/12/1954, Wednesday (+3,501) Parking meters were introduced in Britain.
7/12/1954, Tuesday (+3,500) Bui Van Luong was replaced as the head of COMIGAL, Vietnam's government resettlement agency, by Pham Van Huyen.
6/12/1954, Monday (+3,499) The Moffat branch line closed.
2/12/1954, Thursday (+3,495) The US Senate voted to condemn McCarthy for abuse of proceedings, see 25/2/1954 and 2/5/1957.
1/12/1954, Wednesday (+3,494) The Estádio da Luz football stadium opened in Lisbon, Portugal.
30/11/1954, Tuesday (+3,493) Mrs Hewlett Hodges, of Sylacauga, Alabama, USA, became the only person to have been struck be a meteorite. The 4kg rock crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a radio, and hit her hip, causing a massive bruise but no other injuries.
29/11/1954, Monday (+3,492) General Elections in Czechoslovakia. All candidates were Communist-controlled.
28/11/1954, Sunday (+3,491) Enrico Fermi, atomic physicist, died in Chicago, USA..
20/11/1954, Saturday (+3,483) Clyde Cessna, US aircraft manufacturer, died.
17/11/1954, Wednesday (+3,480) Nasser became official head of state in Egypt, see 17/4/1954.
5/11/1954, Friday (+3,468) Burma and Japan signed a peace treaty.
4/11/1954, Thursday (+3,467) Two by-elections in the UK, Sutton and Cheam and Morpeth. Both seats were retained by the incumbent Party, Conservative and Labour respectively.
3/11/1954, Wednesday (+3,466) Henri Matisse, painter, died in Nice aged 84.
2/11/1954, Tuesday (+3,465) A dock workers' strike in the UK ended.
1/11/1954. Monday (+3,464) (1) The Buxton to Uttoxeter railway closed.
(2) A nationalist uprising began against the French in their colony of Algeria. On 23/12/1954 France sent 20,000 troops to Algeria. By September 1955 there were about 120,000 French troops in Algeria, a number quadrupled by December 1956 with still no end to the troubles in sight. The war continued until the Evian agreement of March 1962.
26/10/1954, Tuesday (+3,458) An assassination attempt on Egyptian Prime Minister Gamal Abdel Nasser failed.
23/10/1954. Monday (+3,455) NATO voted to end the occupation of West Germany and to form the Western European Union. West Germany became a member of NATO.
20/10/1954, Wednesday (+3,452) A docks strike reduced Britain’s trade by half.
19/10/1954, Tuesday (+3,451) Colonel Nasser of Egypt agreed with Britain a timetable for the withdrawal of Britain from the Canal Zone within two years.
10/10/1954, Sunday (+3,442) Ho Chi Minh returned to Hanoi as the French pulled out.
5/10/1954, Tuesday (+3,437) Bob Geldof, rock musician and charity fundraiser, was born in Dublin.
25/9/1954, Saturday (+3,427) Papa Doc Duvalier won Presidential elections in Haiti.
20/9/1954, Monday (+3,422) The Selby to Driffield via Market Weighton railway closed to passengers.
19/9/1954, Sunday (+3,421) Juan Peron, President of Argentina since 1946, resigned and went into exile in Paraguay.
17/9/1954, Friday (+3,419)
14/9/1954, Tuesday (+3,416) Kidbrooke School in London, London’s first new comprehensive school, was opened.
13/9/1954, Monday (+3,415) The Horncastle branch railway, Lincolnshire, opened.
11/9/1954, Saturday (+3,413)
9/9/1954. Thursday (+3,411) Earthquake in Algeria killed 1,500 in the city of Orleansville. Later there were anti-French riots.
8/9/1954. Wednesday (+4,410) South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty was signed. See 7/11/1973 and 30/6/1974.
6/9/1954, Monday (+3,408) (1) The Holywell Town branch railway, N Wales, closed.
(2) Rolls Royce announced that it had developed a new vertical take off plane; nicknamed the flying bedstead because of its shape.
10/8/1954, Tuesday (+3,381) The Saint Lawrence Seaway project was officially launched.
4/8/1954, Wednesday (+3,375) The Independent Television Authority was set up.
1/8/1954, Sunday (+3,372) The UK Atomic Energy Authority was founded.
31/7/1954, (+3,371) (1) The Independent Television Act was passed, allowing for independent TV franchises in the UK.
(2) K2, or Godwin Austen Mountain, in the Himalayas, was climbed for the first time.
27/7/1954, Tuesday (+3,367) The UK Government agreed to Colonel Nasser’s request to pull British troops out of Suez. They were to leave by 1956.
21/7/1954. Wednesday (+3,361) (1) Britain, America and the World Bank turned down a request for aid from President Nasser of Egypt to build the Aswan Dam.
(2) An armistice divided Vietnam into North and South. See 21/4/1954.
20/7/1954. Tuesday (+3,360) (1) The Geneva Agreement ended hostilities between North (Communist) and South (French) Korea.
(2) Cambodian independence from France was confirmed.
(3) The expansion of Gatwick Airport was approved by a public committee.
19/7/1954, Monday (+3,361) The rabbit disease myxomatosis was confirmed in Ireland.
15/7/1954. Thursday (+3,355) The Boeing 707 (or 367-80) made its maiden flight from Seattle. It could seat 219.
10/7/1954, Saturday (+3,350) (food, India, USA) US President Eisenhower signed Public Law 480, the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, better known as PL-480. This facilitated the export of grain to US-aligned governments that were facing threats from Leftist agencies, either internal rebels or intimidation from a Soviet-aligned State next door. PL-480 could be used to keep recalcitrant allies, those possibly sliding towards Communism, in line. For example in 1965 US President Johnson shifted the renewal of PL-480 food aid to India from an annual to a monthly basis, threatening India with withdrawal of food aid as India’s President Shastri expressed disapproval of US bombing in Vietnam. However if Shastri abandoned Nehru’s ideas of land distribution to Indian peasants then India would receive US agricultural technology, enhancing food yields.
5/7/1954, Monday (+3,345) (1) The BBC began daily news broadcasts.
(2) The branch railway from Finsbury Park to Highgate to Alexandra Palace via Muswell Hill closed.
(3) The railway from Chesterfield to Cresswell & Elmton closed.
3/7/1954. Saturday (+3,343) (1) Food rationing ended in Britain; all goods were now off rations. Smithfield Market, London, opened at midnight instead of 6am to cope with the demand for beef.
(2) Plans for a new steelworks at Motherwell, Scotland, were announced.
1/7/1954. Thursday (+3,341) (1) 90% of rabbits in southern Britain were infected with myxomatosis. Farmers were happy since rabbits destroyed crops worth £50 million each year; scientists worried about upsetting the balance of nature.
(2) A UK coalminer earned £7 15s (£7.75) a week, a police constable got £445 a year. Dunlop’s ‘Canzonetta’ rayon coat cost £7 15s (£7.75), a ‘Coty 212’ lipstick cost 6s 9d (34p), and a sports shirt cost 9s 6d (47.5p).
27/6/1954. Sunday (+3,337) The first Soviet nuclear power station was opened, at Obninsk, 55 miles from Moscow.
25/6/1954, Friday (+3,335) British doctors urged tougher drink-driving tests than having to say tongue twisters or walk in a straight line.
15/6/1954, Tuesday (+3,325) Senator Joe McCarthy’s committee labelled Robert Oppenheimer, inventor of the atom bomb, a security risk because he opposed development of the Hydrogen Bomb.
14/6/1954, Monday (+3,324) The Dunford Bridge to Woodhead railway (Sheffield) closed. The Battersby to Picton railway (Stockton on Tees) closed. The Haverton Hill branch line (Stockton on Tees) closed.
10/6/1954, Thursday (+3,320)
7/6/1954, Monday (+3,317) Alan Turing, mathematician who broke the Nazi codes during World War Two, committed suicide. After his conviction for homosexuality on 31/3/1952 he had opted for chemical ‘treatment’ rather than prison; this consisted of oestrogen injections, which made him put on weight and grow breasts.
6/6/1954. Sunday (+3,316) The Eurovision television link-up was inaugurated.
3/6/1954, Thursday (+3,313) (1) The Dutch West Indies were given independence.
(2) The new two-track Woodhead railway tunnel between Sheffield and Manchester, 5 km long, opened, replacing the earlier two single-track tunnels, see 2/2/1852.
31/5/1954, Monday (+3,310) The first Bilderberg Group meeting concluded (opened 29/5/1954). The group, of politicians, royalty and industrialists, was named after the hotel where this initial meeting, now held annually, first met; the Hotel Bilderberg, Oosterbeek, The Netherlands.
24/5/1954. Monday (+3,303) IBM announced the development of an ‘electronic brain’ and planned to rent the 30 models out to offices for US$ 25,000 a month. The computer used valves.
20/5/1954, Thursday (+3,299) The Crystal Palace High Level station and line closed (opened 1/8/1965). It had closed temporarily on 22/5/1944 and reopened on 4/3/1946, but when the Crystal Palace burnt down in November 1936 there was no longer any real purpose for this line.
19/5/1954, Wednesday (+3,298) Charles Ives, US composer died (born 1874)
18/5/1954. Tuesday (+3,297) The European Convention on Human Rights came into force.
17/5/1954, Monday (+3,296) The US Supreme Court, in the case of Brown v The Board of Education, unanimously outlawed racial segregation in school as unconstitutional. The principle of ‘separate but equal’ facilities for Black and White pupils was struck down. This ruling was to be extended to all areas of public life.
16/5/1954, Sunday (+3,295)
7/5/1954. Friday (+3,286) The Communist Vietminh forces under General Giap captured Dien Ben Phu in Vietnam, a key French garrison, after a siege. Almost all the 16,000 French soldiers were killed. The Americans had considered using atomic bombs, but Eisenhower was reluctant to start a new war after Korea, and did not wish to support colonialism. This effectively marked the end of French rule in Indo-China. Dien Ben Phu was a village in Vietnam, 75 miles south of the Chinese border and commanding a valley into Laos, which lay 20 miles further west, so occupied a strategic position.
6/5/1954, Thursday (+3,285) (1) Sir David Maxwell-Fylde, British Home Secretary, said the problem of Teddy Boys was not widespread.
(2) Roger Bannister, 25 years old, ran the first mile in under four minutes in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, on the Iffley Road track in Oxford. The previous record, 4 minutes 1.3 seconds, had stood since 1945. In September 1993 Algerian athlete Noureddine Morceli ran a mile in 3 minutes 44.39 seconds, currently the world record.
5/5/1954, Wednesday (+3,284) Austin Reed, owner of a chain of men’s clothes shops, died in Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire.
29/4/1954, Thursday (+3,278) Queen Elizabeth II opened the Owen Falls hydroelectric dam at Owen Falls, Uganda.
26/4/1954, Monday (+3,275) The Northallerton to Hawes railway closed.
24/4/1954, Saturday (+3,273) 40,000 Mau-Mau suspects were arrested in Kenya.
21/4/1954. Wednesday (+3,270) The US Air Force flew a French battalion to northern Vietnam to defend against the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu fell to the Communists on 7/5/1954.
17/4/1954. Saturday (+3,266) Colonel Nasser took power in Egypt from President Neguib and became Prime Minister.
16/4/1954, Friday (+3,265) Stock car racing for the first time in Britain, behind the Old Kent Road stadium in London.
15/4/1954, Thursday (+3,264) Ulo Altermann, Estonian soldier and forest brother, died (b. 1923).
14/4/1954, Wednesday (+3,263) Aneurin Bevan resigned from the Labour Cabinet in protest at British Government support for the re-arming of Germany, so soon after World War Two.
10/4/1954, Saturday (+3,259)
3/4/1954, Saturday (+3,252) Oxford won the 100th boat race.
2/4/1954, Friday (+3,251) Ron Palillo, actor, was born (d. 2012)
1/4/1954, Thursday (+3,250) The US Air Force Academy was created.
31/3/1954. Wednesday (+3,249) The USSR offered to join NATO. See 14/5/1955.
25/3/1954, Thursday (+3,243) UK Parliament approved the idea of independent TV broadcasting.
20/3/1954. Saturday (+3,238) In the USSR, Khrushchev became First Secretary of the Communist Party.
13/3/1954, Saturday (+3,231) The Vietminh assault on Dien Ben Phu began; see 7/5/1954.
12/3/1954, Friday (+3,230) In Kenya, the British arrested 700 Mau-Mau activists.
8/3/1954, Monday (+3,226) The US and Japan signed a mutual defence pact.
2/3/1954, Tuesday (+3,220) President Lopez of Paraguay died, aged 54, as Asuncion. General Alfredo Stroessner was elected in his place; he gave refuge to Nazi war criminals.
1/3/1954, Monday (+3,219) (1) The UK Parliament approved of establishing an Atomic Energy Authority.
(2) A US test of a 12 megaton hydrogen bomb exposed 23 Japanese fishermen, 70 to 90 miles away, to such severe radiation that one subsequently died. The bomb, weighing ten tons, named Bravo, was expected to deliver just 5 megatons and so the 10,000 observers were relatively near and the Marshall Islands, 100 miles away, were not evacuated. Some Marshall islanders also suffered radiation sickness. In the event the bomb delivered 15 megatons, the fireball was 4 miles across, and the heat could easily be felt 30 miles away. America now realised that just one Hydrogen Bomb could obliterate a major city such as New York.
(3) The Blenheim & Woodstock branch line closed.
28/2/1954, Sunday (+3,218)
25/2/1954, Thursday (+3,215) President Eisenhower censured McCarthy (see 9/2/1950) for his bullying tactics. See 2/12/1954.
24/2/1954, Wednesday (+3,214) The American evangelist Billy Graham arrived in London on a three-month ‘crusade’.
23/2/1954, Tuesday (+3,213)
19/2/1954, Friday (+3,209) Russia transferred the Crimea to The Ukraine, to mark the 300th anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian Union.
18/2/1954, Thursday (+3,208) John Travolta, American film actor, was born in Englewood, New York State.
15/2/1954, Monday (+3,205) Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born.
3/2/1954, Wednesday (+3,193) Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to Australia; large crowds turned out to greet her in Sydney.
1/2/1954, Monday (+3,191) The railway from Bolton to Kenyon Junction closed. The railway from Bolton to Worsley closed. The railway from Clapham (Yorkshire) to Low Gill closed. The Scotswood (Newcastle on Tyne) to Blackhill railway closed.
21/1/1954. Thursday (+3,180) The world’s first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus, was launched from Groton in Connecticut.
12/1/1954, Tuesday (+3,171) A UK official committee linked cigarettes with cancer.
11/1/1954, Monday (+3,170) (1) A British Comet jet airliner crashed into the Mediterranean near Elba. The newly discovered phenomenon of metal fatigue was to blame.
(2) George Cowling from the Met office became the first weatherman to be seen on TV. Previous forecasts had been sound only.
5/1/1954, Tuesday (+3,164)
2/1/1954, Saturday (+3,159) The Robertsbridge to Headcorn line closed to passengers.
1/1/1954, Friday (+3,160) Flashing turn indicator lights became a legal requirement on British vehicles.
31/12/1953, Thursday (+3,159) A British expedition arrived in India to search for the abominable snowman.
10/12/1953, Thursday (+3,138) Churchill received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
7/12/1953, Monday (+3,135) The railway from Radcliffe (Nottingham) to Market Harborough via Melton Mowbray closed. The railway from Newark to Harby & Stathern closed.
1/12/1953, Tuesday (+3,129) Harold Macmillan boasted that 301,000 new homes have been built in Britain during the Conservatives second year in office.
30/11/1953, Monday (+3,128) King Ibn Saud (1880-1953) of Saudi Arabia died.
21/11/1953. Saturday (+3,119) The discovery of the Piltdown Man skull on 18/12/1912 in Sussex by Charles Dawson was revealed to be a hoax, see 22/9/1990.
13/11/1953, Friday (+3,111) In Britain, plans for a new commercial TV channel to rival the BBC were announced.
11/11/1953. Wednesday (+3,109) (1) The polio virus was identified.
(2) The BBC programme Panorama was first transmitted, headed by Patrick Murphy.
9/11/1953. Monday (+3,107) Cambodia became independent.
(3) The Welsh poet Dylan Marlais Thomas, born in Swansea on 27/10/1914, died in New York City aged 39 after falling into an alcoholic coma. He had drunk 18 stiff whiskies. His major work, Under Milk Wood, was broadcast on radio in 1954.
2/11/1953, Monday (+3,100) Pakistan announced it was to adopt Sharia law.
27/10/1953, Tuesday (+3,094) British gunboats foiled a left-wing coup in British Guiana.
26/10/1953. Monday (+3,093) The Kingsway by-pass road opened in Scunthorpe.