Click here for population of selected
districts, various years
9 January 1955, 400 Jamaicans arrived in London to seek
work. Much post-war reconstruction
needed to be done in Britain.
London, World War Two
28 June 1947, The
statue of Eros returned to Piccadilly Circus.
5 June 1946, King George V took the salute at the Victory Parade in The
30 April 1945. The face
of Big Ben, London, was lit once more for the first time in 5 years 123 days,
an important sign that the War was nearly over.
28 March 1945,. Last air raid warning siren sounded in London.
27 March 1945. The last German V-2
rocket fell on Britain, at Orpington. (see 8 September 1944).� The Allies then overran the last V-2
launching site. In all, 1,050 rockets fell on England, each carrying a ton of
explosive with a range of 200 miles.� The
V-2s were designed by Werner von Braun,
who surrendered to the Americans in 1945.�
Braun was given US citizenship and helped design the rockets for the
US space programme, including the Saturn rockets and the Apollo missions.
3 December 1944, The Home Guard was formally disbanded
in London as King George VI witnessed its
final parade. Britons were jubilant that this symbolised imminent victory in
the War. The Black-Out was replaced by the Dim-Out as the Luftwaffe was no longer a credible threat. However British
strikes rose, particularly in the coal mines. Coal miners pay was relatively
low compared to other occupations, and conditions were poor.
20 November 1944, After five years of black-out, the lights were switched on again in Piccadilly,
Strand, and Fleet Street.
8 September 1944, The first V-2 fell in on Chiswick in the
London area, killing three people. By
the end of the war, 1,100 V-2s fell in England an a further 1,675 on the
continent, mainly on Antwerp.� V-2 stood
for Vergeltungswaffe, or �reprisal weapon�. The V-2 rocket weighed 12 tons and
travelled at 3,600 mph, faster than sound, so there was no warning of its
imminent arrival. It had a range of 200 miles and carried a one ton bomb. The
Germans fired them from launchers in The Netherlands, but the explosions in
London were attributed, by the authorities, to gas explosions to mislead the
German intelligence. The earlier V-1 rocket was slower and had a shorter range;
V-1 strikes on London ceased as the Allies captured the launch sites in France.
3 July 1944, Evacuation of children from London
because of the V-1 bombings.
15 May 1944. In St Pauls School, London, the D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 were
planned using a huge map of the area. 8 divisions, 5 seaborne and 3 airborne, were to be
landed in the first 48 hours. The Germans had 60 divisions defending the coast
of the Netherlands, Belgium and France. An elaborate deception was mounted to
make Germany think Calais was the landing point with fake radio traffic,
misleading reports from Nazi agents who had been �turned� to serve the Allies,� and a phantom army with wooden tanks
stationed in south-east England. In May 1944 Montgomery received a decode of a
message from Field Marshall Rommel to Hitler saying that Allied bombing of
railways in northern France was disrupting his efforts to defend the Calais
area from an Allied invasion.
14 March 1944, Heavy
German air raid on London, with 100 Luftwaffe bombers.
21 January 1944, The
Luftwaffe resumed bombing raids on London, after a lull of over two years. 268
tons of bombs were dropped, followed by a similar raid a week later.
3 March 1943, 173
people were crushed to death whilst descending the stairs into Bethnal Green
tube station to shelter during an air raid. A woman at the top of the stairs,
carrying a child, slipped and fell on those immediately in front of her, causing
those below to lose their balance too.
17 January 1943, The Luftwaffe conducted the first night raid on London since May 1941.
See France/Germany for
main events of World War Two
10 May 1941. The
House of Commons was almost
destroyed by incendiary bombs. It was rebuilt, and reopened by George VI
on 26 October 1950. This was the worst
night of the Blitz; 550 German bombers dropped 100,000 incendiaries, and
over 1,400 people were killed. The House of Commons had to meet in the Lords.
19 March 1941.
The Luftwaffe resumed raids on London,
following its failure in the Battle of Britain.
11 January 1941, Bank Underground station, London, received a direct bomb
hit during the Blitz. 51 died.
5 January 1941. A bomb
hit Wormwood Scrubs prison, west
30 December 1940, 136 German bombers dropped 22,000 incendiary bombs and 127 tons of
high explosive on London on one of the
worst nights of the Blitz. Eight Wren churches and Guildhall were
destroyed, but St Paul�s survived.. Overall
one third of the City of London was razed.
10 December 1940, In London, two Germans were hanged after being convicted as spies.
12 November 1940, Sloane Square London Underground Station received a direct bomb hit
just as a train was leaving in the evening. 35 people were known killed and 2
hospitalised(some estimate a death toll of 79) with three missing. Train
services were running again 2 weeks after the event.
2 November 1940, The only
air-raid free night in London during the period 7 September to 13 November, due
to bad weather that night. Over this period, 27,500 high explosive bombs had
fallen on London, along with incendiaries, parachute mines and oil explosive
17 October 1940, A bomb
knocked out all the automatic railway signalling within two and half miles of
Waterloo Station, London.
15 October 1940, Over
London, a full Moon coincided with clear weather, leading to heavy German
bombing raids. 410 German aircraft dropped 538 tons of high explosive bombs,
killing 400 people.
14 October 1940, At 8.02pm, a German World War Two bomb made
a direct hit on Balham underground station, where hundreds of people were
sheltering from the air raid. Water rushed in as water mains and sewage pipes
burst. 68 people were killed.
13 October 1940, Bounds Green Underground station was hit by a German bomb; 17 died and
20 were injured.
9 October 1940. �St Paul�s Cathedral was bombed as the Luftwaffe made
heavy raids on London. A German
bomb went through the dome of the cathedral, destroying the high altar. An
unexploded bomb had to be removed from the cathedral roof. German air raids
continued throughout the rest of 1940 but the cathedral suffered little more
damage. Surrounding buildings were destroyed, but the image of the dome standing intact amidst smoke and rubble
became a national image symbolising the fighting spirit of Britain against Nazi
17 September 1940. Marble Arch became the first tube station to
be hit by German bombs. 20 died and over 40 were injured.
13 September 1940, Buckingham Palace hit by German bombs. The
King and Queen would have been seriously injured by flying glass had the
windows been closed. The incident was a PR blunder for the Germans, as now the
monarch could claim to have shared the privations of London�s east enders.
11 September 1940. The Lord Mayor of London launched the Mansion House
Fund to relieve the suffering of those made homeless by bombing.
8 September 1940, A heavy
German air raid on the London Docks
area; 400 died. The following day, 200 bombers came in the daytime and another
170 after darkness. A further 370 east enders died on 9 September 1940.
23 August 1940. The Blitz on London began. Bombs
initially fell on the Docks and the East End, but then hit targets further
west, including Buckingham Palace.
18 August 1940. The first German plane was shot down over London.
16 August 1940, Wimbledon, south west London, was bombed.
15 August 1940, Croydon
aerodrome was bombed
12 June 1940, At a
by-election in Bow and Bromley, east London, the anti-War candidate won just 6%
of votes cast.
8 June 1940, The first
German bombs fell in the London area, in open country near Addington. The only
casualty was a goat.
20 November 1939, The first
German aircraft to approach London ventured up the Thames estuary. It was
repelled with heavy ant-aircraft fire and retreated without causing any damage.
25 August 1939, Moveable
treasures from London�s art galleries and museums were taken away for safety.
25 February 1939. The first
Anderson bomb shelter was erected in Britain, in a garden in Islington.
London, World War One
17 June 1918, The last German
air raid of World War One on London.
14 June 1917. Air raid
on London, the first by German fixed-wing aircraft. In a daylight raid, 162
Londoners died and 432 were injured. 16 children died in a Poplar school.
19 January 1917, An
explosion at a munitions factory in Silvertown, east London, killed 73 and
injured over 400.
24 August 1916. Eight people were killed in a Zeppelin raid on London.
25 April 1916, Anzac Day was first celebrated in
23 January 1916, London�s Natural History Museum
and British Museum were closed for
the duration of the War.
See France-Germany for
main events of World War One
31 May 1915, German
airship bombing raid on London; Stoke Newington was badly damaged and 7
10 August 1914, Olympia was used as a detention centre
for 300 German-born citizens under
the wide emergency powers of the Defence
of the Realm Act.
11 May 1915,
German-owned businesses, shops and restaurants, in the London suburbs of Bethnal Green, Camden Town, Limehouse,
Poplar, Stepney and Walthamstow
were attacked, burnt and destroyed. Traders at Smithfield Market refused to trade with ethnic Germans, even if
they had been naturalised as Britons. An American trader at Smithfield who was
inclined to trade with the foreigners was also beaten up. The unrest was in
response to the sinking of the Lusitania
four days earlier.
9 April 1906, The Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell was born in
2 October 1903, A section of the old Roman
Wall of London was discovered during the demolition of other buildings.
2 July 1903, Sir Alec Douglas Home, Conservative Prime Minister, was born in London.
4 August 1902, The
Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames opened. It replaced a ferry that had
existed here since 1676.
24 February 1902, London�s
first telephone service began operating.
10 February 1894, Harold
Macmillan, Lord Stockton, British Conservative Prime Minister, was
born in London.
3 January 1888, Herbert Morison, Labour politician, was born in Lambeth, London.
3 January 1883. Clement Richard Attlee, Labour Prime Minister from 1945 to 1951, was born in Putney, London.
2 July 1850, Sir Robert Peel,
British Conservative Prime Minister and
founder of the police force in 1829, died in London due to a riding
22 July 1844, The Reverend William Spooner, educationalist and
originator of �spoonerisms�, was born in London.
27 April 1840, Edward Whymper, mountaineer and the first person to climb the Matterhorn,
was born in London.
8 July 1836. Joseph Chamberlain,
British Liberal politician, was born in London.
1816, Finchley Common, a large
uninhabited area just east of Finchley Village, crossed by the Great North Road
and an infamous haunt of highwaymen, was enclosed. A plan to create a feeder
reservoir for the Grand Union Canal here was dropped in 1820, the reservoir
being built at Brent instead.
21 February 1804. Benjamin Disraeli, British Tory Prime
Minister, was born at 22 Theobald�s Road, London.
2 March 1797, Horatio Walpole, British politician, died in
London.� He never married.
20 October 1784, Lord
Palmerston was born
at 20, Queen Anne�s Gate, Westminster as Henry John Temple.
11 May 1778, William Pitt
the Elder, British Prime Minister, Earl of Chatham, died at Hayes, Middlesex.
28 May 1759, William Pitt the Younger, British Tory Prime Minister, was born at Hayes,
near Bromley, Kent. He became Britain�s
youngest Prime Minister at age 24.
18 March 1745, Sir Robert
Walpole, British Whig Prime Minister from 1721 to 1742
died in London. He had been created the Earl of Orford.
17 October 1727, John Wilkes, British political reformist who
called for a free press, was born in Clerkenwell, London, the son of a
20 March 1727. Sir Isaac Newton,
born 5 January 1642, died in London aged 84. He was buried in Westminster
24 September 1717, Horatio Walpole, British
politician, was born in London.
15 November 1708. Birth of William Pitt the Elder, at
11 March 1682. King Charles II founded the Chelsea Hospital
for old soldiers (Chelsea Pensioners).It
was designed by Wren, and opened in 1692.
September 1666, Several plans for the reconstruction of London were
drawn up or in progress. The first was by Christopher Wren (11/9); John Evelyn�s
was complete on 13/9, and Robert
Hooke�s was finished on 19/9. Plans, according to a Royal
proclamation of 13/9, must include wider streets, replacement of wooden
buildings by brick and stone, and a quayside along the Thames. However
questions of accurate compensation precluded many of the concepts for wide
boulevards. Instead, the Rebuilding Act of 1667 set standards and heights for
new buildings according to the width of the street they were in.
6 September 1666, The Great Fire of London ended
� see 2 September 1666.
2 September 1666. The Great Fire of London
began on a Sunday morning at the house and shop of Thomas Farynor (Farriner),
baker to King
Charles II, in Pudding Lane.
allegedly forgot to put out the fire in his oven, which spread to nearby
stacked firewood. Farynor and his family escaped their burning
house by climbing out of a window and along roof tops. Their maid was too
scared to climb along the rooftops, and became the fire�s first victim. The
fire rapidly spread. It burns for 4 days. In all, 436 acres were burned,
destroying 87 churches and over 13,000 houses. However only nine lives were
lost. The fire also helped end the Great
1 December 1655, Samuel Pepys married Elizabeth St Michael
in St Margarets, Westminster.
22 January 1561, Francis Bacon,
author, philosopher, and statesman, was born
at York House in The Strand, London.
842, London sacked by the
Vikings, many residents slaughtered.
125, Londinium destroyed by
60, Londinium was sacked by Boudicca.
It was rebuilt in 61.
43 AD, The Romans
and established London as a military garrison town. There was no local stone
available for the Romans to build the walls of London, so they imported stone
by barge from Kent.
400 BCE, The start of the settlement of London,
under the Celtic King Belin. Belin built a defensive earthwork surrounding
a few dozen wooden huts, also constructing a small harbour and landing place.
The name of this landing place was gradually corrupted from Belin�s Gate to
Galleries see also Arts
July 1991, The Queen opened the new Sainsbury wing at the
4 May 1889, The National
Portrait Gallery, London, was presented to the nation.
1897, London�s Tate Gallery opened.
1838, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, opened.
1814, Dulwich Art Gallery opened; the first public art gallery.
Cinemas and Halls
31 December 2000. The Dome in
Greenwich closed after a year of financial problems, insufficient
visitor numbers, and general ridicule.
22 June 1998,
Tony Blair praised the
�758 million London Millennium Dome, erected
on a former gasworks site, as a �symbol of Britain�s creativity.
29 August 1997, In London, work began on the Millennium Dome.
30 July 1991, Pavarotti
gave a free concert in Hyde Park.
10 July 1980. The
105 year old Grand Exhibition Hall at Alexandra
Palace, north London, was destroyed by a fire.
25 October 1976, Queen Elizabeth II officially
opened the National Theatre on London�s South Bank.
13 June 1951, Elizabeth,
heir to the British throne, laid the foundation stone of the National Theatre, on London�s South
20 May 1867, The foundation stone of the
Royal Albert Hall was laid by Queen Victoria.
It opened in 1871, with seating for 6,036.
4 January 1698, The Palace of
Whitehall, London, was destroyed by fire.
Festival of Britain 1951
30 September 1951, The Festival of Britain closed, see 3 May 1951.
3 May 1951. King George
V opened the Festival of Britain, on
11 hectares (27 acres) of a former bombsite near London�s Waterloo Station. The
Festival closed on 30 September 1951. The
Festival was intended to make people optimistic about the future after years of
wartime gloom and rationing. In December 1947 Labour Minister Herbert Morrison told Parliament
that the centenary of the Great Exhibition 1851 would be marked by a �World
Fair�. Economic constraints led it to be rebranded as a national event,
financed by a grant of over �11,300,000.�
There were regional exhibits across the UK but the main venue was on a
huge bomb site on London�s South Bank, including the Festival Hall.
Development of Wembley 1924 - 2007
2007, The new Wembley Stadium
2003, The old Wembley Stadium
(built from 1923) was demolished. The new Stadium opened in 2007.
1 November 1924, The British Empire Exhibition at Wembley,
London, closed (opened 23 April 1924). The Empire Pool (now Wembley Arena) was
added in 1934. Later, the 1948 Olympic Games were held there. Wembley
Conference Centre opened in 1977.
23 April 1924. King George V opened the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley
Stadium, London. It closed on 1 November 1924.
20 May 1913. The first Chelsea Flower Show opened in London.
London now had around 400 cinemas, up from 90- in 1909.
of White City 1908
27 July 1908, The 4th Olympic
Games opened in London, see 14 May 1908.
14 May 1908, The Franco-British
exhibition opened on 200 acres of land at Wood Lane, north of Shepherd�s Bush,
London. The site, called White City,
was served by an extension of the Central Line from Shepherds Bush. The Prince of Wales
opened the exhibition, which was also used for the 1908 Olympic Games, see 27 July 1908. Greyhound racing was held
there from 1927. White City was demolished in the 1980s.
1900, A large music hall, called
The Grand, opened in Battersea, which could seat 3,000. It was iften full.
Although the West End remained the prime theatre locaton in London, other
suburbs were also keen to capture some of the entertainment industry too.
Development of Olympia 1884 - 86
27 December 1886, The Olympia Exhibition Hall in west London opened.
7/1885, Construction work on the Olympia exhibition hall began.
1884, The National Agricultural
Company was established to construct a hall capable of hosting agricultural
shows in London. This hall is now known as Olympia.
29 March 1871. Queen
Victoria opened the Royal
Albert Hall in London; named in memory of Prince Albert. The Hall was
intended as a cultural centre following on from the success of the Great
Exhibition of 1851. The original plan was to have an auditorium seating 30,000
but due to financial difficulties they ended up with an oval hall with a glass
and iron dome with 7,000 seats. The foundation stone was laid on 20 May 1867.
1868, The foundation stone of the Albert Hall,
London, was laid by Queen
Exhibition � Crystal Palace 1850 -1936
30 November 1936. Crystal Palace, south London, was destroyed
by fire. The blaze was seen as far away as Brighton. Wooden
floorboards had been dried to tinder by the heating system, and 20,000 wooden
chairs were stored under the (wooden) orchestra pit. Flames reached 500 feet,
and drove swarms of rats out of the building. 438 firemen from all over London
could do nothing to put out the fire.
18 December 1913, Lord Plymouth gave money to
enable the Crystal Palace to be bought for the nation.
12 May 1911. The Festival of Empire opened at Crystal
5 August 1852, The re-erection of the Crystal Palace at
Sydenham, south London.
15 October 1851, The Great Exhibition at Hyde Park, London,
closed.� It had opened on 1 May 1851.
A total of 6 million visitors had attended. The Exhibition made a profit of
�186,000 which was used to buy land in South Kensington where the Victoria and
Albert Museum now stands.
May 1851. The Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace was
opened by Queen Victoria, in Hyde Park,
London. There were 13,000 exhibits from around the world in an 1,840 foot long,
408 foot wide, 108 foot high steel and glass hall, designed by Joseph Paxton
in only 10 days and prefabricated before being brought to Hyde Park by rail.
The hall took 17 weeks to erect. 6 million people, 17% of the UK population,
visited, also mainly on the new railways across the nation. The exhibition
ended on 15 October 1851. After the Great Exhibition, the Crystal palace was
re-erected at Sydenham where it stood till destroyed by fire in 1936.
conceived the idea of the Great Exhibition to promote trade between nations and
worldwide peace. The Exhibition was open for 6 months and in that time Queen Victoria
visited 41 times. Profits from the event funded the opening of the Royal Albert
Hall, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and
began in Hyde Park on erecting the venue of the Great Exhibition (see 1 May 1851). 2,000 workmen erected the �giant
greenhouse�, and fears that �mobs of slum dwellers� would invade the park and
pillage the homes of the wealthy nearby proved unfounded.
3 January 1850, Work began in Hyde Park,
London, on the glass and iron Crystal Palace, built for the Great Exhibition.
25 May 1833, The
first flower show in Britain was held by the Royal Horticultural Society, in
Chiswick, West London.
9 January 1768, Soldier and
Astley staged the first modern circus in London.
16 February 1824, The Athenaeum Club,
London, was founded.
24 June 1717. The Grand Lodge of the
English Freemasons, London�s first Freemason Lodge, was formed.
buildings (see below for Hotels, Museums, Theatres)
5 July 2012, The Shard in London was opened. The
tallest building in Europe, it is 309.6 metres, 1,016 feet, high.
October 1999, The London
Eye was erected.
22 March 1992. The developers of Canary Wharf, London
Docklands, Olympia and York, were on the verge on bankruptcy. The UK recession, and poor transport links to Docklands,
meant 40% of its offices stood empty. However a rescue package was put
in place by the Government and by 1995 75% of the office space was let. The
cost to the taxpayer, in development grants and tax breaks, was estimated at �3
billion. Canary Wharf had been completed in 1991,
29 March 1988. Plans
were unveiled by Canadian
developers for an 888-foot tower block, costing �3 billion, at Canary Wharf,
London Docklands, to be completed by 1992.
27 October 1986. It was the �Big Bang� day on the London Stock
Exchange, the day the money market was deregulated. But a computer failed and a shambles ensued.
16 February 1986, Clashes between police and
5,000 pickets at Rupert Murdoch�s Wapping newspaper plant. Murdoch
had moved production of The Sunday Times
and News of the World to Wapping to
outflank striking print workers; the papers were being produced by managers and
3 March 1982, The Queen formally opened the Barbican Centre, London.
1979, The National
Westminister Tower, City of London was complk,eted, at a cost of �72
million. At 183 metres high, with 49 storeys, it was London�s tallest building.
14 September 1979, The UK Government
announced plans to redevelop London Docklands.
31 January 1977. Wembley Conference Centre opened by the Duke of Kent.
1 March 1967, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, London (conference centre) opened.
16 May 1966. Post Office Tower, London, opened to the
March 1965, The new Hornsey Central Library, London, was opened
29 June 1960, The new BBC Television
Centre at White City opened.
1937, Battersea Power Station
24 March 1928, Lloyds
Building, Leadenhall Street, London, was opened by King George V.
1922, County Hall,
London (LCC), was completed.
8 March 1912, The foundation stone of London�s County Hall was laid.
4 January 1919, Major fire at Bethnal
Green, London, food
warehouses; �1,000,000 damage done.
11 February 1907, Explosion at the chemical
research department, Woolwich Arsenal, caused much damage.
1882, The London Hydraulic
Power Company began operations. Hydraulic lifts became commonplace in
London office buildings, meaning they could be erected with more floors. See
also Built Environment.
22 June 1861, The largest
fire in London since 1666. Five wharves and 12 warehouses burnt down in Tooley
Street, destroying property worth �2 million. This event precipitated the formation
of the London Fire Brigade.
October 1844, London�s third Royal Exchange Building
17 October 1814, Nine people died in the Great London beer flood. A huge rooftop
vat of beer on top of the Meaux Brewery, Tottenham Court Road, containing
135,000 gallons of beer, ruptured, taking out neighbouring vats also.� In all, 300,000 gallons of beer flooded out,
drowning people in nearby cellars.
24 October 1739, Mansion House, London, was founded.
28 September 1669, London�s Royal Exchange Building was completed.
23 October 1667, The foundation stone of
London�s Royal Exchange was laid by King Charles II.
23 January 1571. The Royal Exchange, founded by financier Sir Thomas Gresham, was
opened by Queen Elizabeth I as a bankers meeting house. Its foundation stone
was laid on 7 June 1566.
1937, Earls Court Exhibition Hall opened. It stood on the site of an
entertainment ground going back to 1887.
Thames, see also Harbours, docks. For docklands
office development see commercial buiuldings above
20 August 1989. The
Thames pleasure cruiser Marchioness
was hit by a dredger; 51 young persons attending a party on board were killed.
She was hit by the sand dredger Bowbelle
under Southwark Bridge in the early hours of the morning. Survivors said the
dredger loomed up in the night without lights.
31 October 1982. The Thames Flood Barrier was raised
for the first time.
14 March 1960, Plans were announced for a Thames
Flood Barrier at London.
22 July 1949, The London
docks strike ended.
29 June 1949, A docks strike began in
21 August 1923, In London, a 7-week dockworkers
2 July 1923, London dock workers went on strike (until 21 August 1923).
16 March 1909, The first meeting of the Port of London Authority.
21 December 1908, The Port of London Authority was
16 September 1889, The Great London Docks Strike ended (began 15 August 1889).
15 November 1875, In London the
River Thames rose 28 feet (8.5 metres) above normal, causing severe flooding.
July 1870, Victoria Embankment, London,
constructed by Sir J W
Bazalgette, was opened by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII.
5/1847, Chelsea Embankment
23 July 1794, The village of Ratcliff,
just east of London, was badly damaged by a fire. 455 of the 1,150 houses were
burnt, along with 36 warehouses, when a pitch kettle at a boat builders boiled
over. Ships were also burnt; they could not be moved as the tide was out;
saltpetre in a� barge blew up, raining
fire on other boats.
23 May 1701, William Kidd, pirate, was hanged, aged 56, see
8 May 1701.
8 May 1701. Scottish
William Kidd went on trial at the Old Bailey for piracy. He was
hanged on 23 May 1701, at Execution Dock, London. He had to be hanged three
times because the rope broke twice.
949, Earliest mention by name of Billingsgate Wharf.
Environment & Health see
also Environment, Hygiene, Medical
December 2006, A tornado lasting under a minute ripped through
Kensal Green, NW London, damaging 150 homes and injuring 6 people.
27 July 1955, The Clean Air Bill was presented to Parliament, to prevent the
reappearance of the 1952� Smog that killed 4,000, see 4 December 1952.
4 December 1952. Smog enveloped London and killed
over 4,000 people in less than a week.
10 December 1946, Heavy
smog in London caused bus conductors to have to walk in front of their buses,
carrying lighted newspapers.
27 January 1906. The River Thames caught fire as oil on the
4 April 1865, London�s
Southern Outfall Sewer, at Plumstead Marshes, was opened by King Edward VII
(as Prince of Wales).
10 December 1631, Sir Hugh Myddelton,� contractor for London�s New River
29 September 1613, The New River
water supply for London opened.
problems began to appear in London as soft
coal was being burnt for heating and cooking. In 1306 a Londoner was
executed for buring coal in the city.
Festivals (outdoor) and Statues
1 November 1973. The new bronze statue of Sir Winston
Churchill was unveiled in Parliament Square by the Queen, the Queen
Mother, and five Prime Ministers. These were Heath, Wilson, Douglas � Home, MacMillan,
Notting Hill Carnival was inaugurated,
in reponse to the poor state of race relations in London at the time. It was
first held indoors in St Pancras Town Hall. In 1966 it was shifted to August
and now held outdoors. Then, attendance was around 1,000 but this had grown to
one million by 2000 and the event now spanned 3 days.
12 April 1948. The Roosevelt Memorial
was unveiled in Grosvenor Square, London.
16 May 1911, The Victoria Memorial in
London was unveiled.
The statue of Eros in Picadilly Circus, London�s first aluminium statue, was
23 April 1893, Billy Smart, British circus
proprietor, was born in London, the son of a fairground owner.
1888, Temple Bar, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and originally erected at
the junction of Fleet Street and Strand at a cost of �1,398 in 1669-70, was
re-erected at Theobalds Park, Cheshunt
12 September 1878. Cleopatra�s
Needle, an ancient red granite Egyptian obelisk 68.5 feet high, originally
made for Thothmes
III in 1460 BC, was presented to Britain and re-erected on the
January 1867, 40 people died when ice gave way in a lake in Regents
Park, London. The depth of the lake was subsequently reduced to four feet.
25 December 1864, The tradition
of a Christmas Day swim in the
Serpentine, Hyde Park, London, began.
1 July 1872, The Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, London, was unveiled by Queen Victoria.
29 March 1851,
Marble Arch, London, was moved from Buckingham Palace to its present position
on Oxford Street.
3 November 1843, The 17-foot,
16 ton, statue of Lord Nelson was hauled in two pieces to the
top of the column in Trafalgar Square.�
The second piece was hauled up on 4 November 1843. The column was 184
foot high, and the statue a further 17 feet. The cost was �50,000, half met by
Parliament, the other half raised by public subscription.
30 September 1840. The foundation stone of Nelson�s
Column was laid in London�s Trafalgar Square. The area had formerly been occupied by
squalid slums and cheap cookshops, known as �Porrige Island�
May 2000. Ken Livingstone
was elected Mayor of London.
31 March 1986, The Greater London Council was abolished, along with other
Metropolitan Councils in large UK cities; municipal responsibilities passed to
the individual Boroughs. Mrs Thatcher
saw the GLC, led by Ken Livingstone,
as too Left wing. Mrs Thatcher especially objected to the GLC�s Fares Fare
policy, involving subsidy of transport fares.
7 October 1983, Plans to abolish the Greater
London Council were announced.
1 April 1965, Greater London was created, from the City of London and 32 boroughs.
26 October 1950. The rebuilt chamber of the House of Commons
was opened by George
VI, it having been destroyed
by bombing on 10 May 1941.
13 July 1920, The LCC banned
the employment of foreigners in council jobs.
1899, London Borough Councils were
1888, The London Council Council was established, incorporating poarts of
Kent, Sussex and Middlesex into London. From 1964 it was supplanted by the
Greater London Coucil (lasted until 1986).
28 July 1875, Lewisham
Town Hall, South London, officially opened. It was replaced by a new building
11 July 1859, Big Ben, Westminster, first starting chiming the hours.
31 May 1859. Big Ben
on the Houses of Parliament started telling the time.
10 April 1858, Big Ben, the bell inside the famous Westminster clock, was cast in Whitechapel, London. The
bell, weighing 13 � tons, was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, Commissioner for Works, who was a large tall man nicknamed �Big Ben�.
4 November 1852, The building of the new
House of Commons, following the fire of 1834, was completed, to the designs of
Barry and Augustus Pugin.
April 1845, The new House of Lords buildings were completed,
after a fire in 1834, to the designs of Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin.
16 October 1834. Houses of Parliament
almost totally destroyed by fire. Firemen managed to save Westminster Hall and
St Stephens Chapel.
22 September 1735. Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister to move
into 10 Downing Street. The office
of �Prime Minister� was not officially recognised, and some considered it
unconstitutional. However Walpole had widespread support of both the King
and Parliament. Walpole was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and at age 24
inherited a country estate, which gave him the means of self-sufficiency to
enter politics. In 1701 he became the Whig member for castle rising in Norfolk.
An excellent speaker, he rose rapidly within the party. In 1717 he resigned
amid in-party fighting, returning as Paymaster General in 1720.
25 January 1733, Sir Gilbert
Heathcote, Lord Mayor of London, died.
October 1683, The City of London forfeited its Charter as the
English Crown tried to remove centres pf Whig influence.
13 November 1295, King Edward I
of England summoned the Model Parliament
to Westminster, the composition of which serves as a model for later
6 August 1889 The Savoy
Hotel in London was opened.
5 May 1873, The Midland
Hotel, adjacent to St Pancras Station, London, opened. It closed in 1935
due to lack of custom and became railway offices.
1855, Claridges Hotel, London, was opened by William
Claridge, a former butler for the nobility. It was bought by the
Savoy Company in 1895 and rebuilt.
residential vsee also Built Environment
14 June 2017, Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey, 120 flat,
residential tower block in the deprived north of Kensington and Chelsea
Borough, caught fire just after midnight. The block could have housed as many
as 600 people. Around 100 were believed to have been killed, with 64 taken to
hospital, 20 in critical care. The cladding panels that had been added to the
outside of the block caught fire, setting the entire tower ablaze; cheaper
flammable cladding had been used instead of fire-retardant panels.
1 March 1991. Wandsworth set the lowest Poll Tax in Britain, �136. Other councils were �400 or more.
1968, The first homes were
completed in the new Thames-side development of Thamesmead, SE London.
16,5/1968, 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.
1935, The development of New Addington began, with houses to be
let �at reasonable rents�.
1934, The Becontree
housing development, east London, was completed; construction had begun in
1921. It covered 2,770 acres (4 square miles), with over 25,000 dwellings
accommodating 112,000 people.
1932, Click Here for image of 1932
newbuild 3-bed house, Harrow area, �850, also map of NW London 1928.
6 September 1921, Five
female councillors in Poplar faced jail for refusing to set a domestic rate
(property tax). Labour-controlled Poplar, led by George Lansbury, objected to a central rate
equalisation scheme which, it said, meant poor areas like Poplar paid more than
1907, Hampstead Garden Suburb was founded by Dame Henrietta Barnett.
29 February 1864, The Peabody
Trust opened the Commercial Street flats in Spitalfields. It boasted previously
unheard-of luxuries such as separate laundry rooms and a play area for
29 January 1850, Sir Ebenezer Howard, who started
the Garden City movement, was born
1845, Harley Street, formerly an upmarket
residential road, became a centre for medical practitioners.
1826, Cumberland Terrace, overlooking Regents Park, was completed by John Nash.
1825, Buckingham Palace was cteated out of former Buckingham House by
Nash. It became the residence of the British Royal Family from 1837.
1825, Belgrave Square, London, was laid out.
1812, Captain Henry Penton died in
Italy. He developed the land east of
Kings Cross, London, known as Pentonville; built 1780-1820. It was then a
green hillside location offering views of St Pauls and the Surrey Hills beyomd.
1800, Russell Square was laid
1720, Development of Mayfair
began, and was completed by the 1770s. Belgravia was developed in the 1820s,
followed by Pimlico in the 1850s.
London, see also UK history, military technology
12 October 1982,, A Falklands Victory
Parade was held in the City of London.
20 September 1959, The last fly-past of
over London to commemorate the Battle of Britain.
17 October 1953, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a
monument to members of the Commonwealth air forces who lost their lives in WW2
and had no known grave, at Coopers Hill, Runnymede.
2 April 1946. The Royal Military Academy
at Sandhurst was founded.� The Woolwich
Academy was merged with Sandhurst.
20 November 1935, Lord Jellicoe, Admiral of the
Fleet in WW I and naval commander at the Battle of Jutland, died in
London.� Created an Earl in 1925, he was
buried in St Paul�s Cathedral, next to Lord Nelson.
19 August 1928, Lord Haldane, who founded the Territorial Army in 1908, died in
November 1920, The 35-foot Cenotaph war memorial (Greek cenos taphos = empty tomb) in
Whitehall, London, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was unveiled by King George
V. Londoners doffed their hats when passing it.
10 November 1920, The body of an unknown British soldier was brought to London for
burial at Westminster Abbey.
18 July 1919, The first
Cenotaph, a temporary structure of
wood and plaster, was erected in Whitehall, London, for a parade celebrating
the Treaty of Versailles. It was so popular the Government decided to erect a
29 October 1900, In London, huge crowds
greeted returning Boer War soldiers.
17 November 1887, Viscount Montgomery, World War Two army
commander who defeated Rommel in
Africa in World War Two, was born in
Kensington, London, the son of a vicar.
25 November 1859, The London Irish Volunteer
Rifles was formed.
26 June 1857, The first investiture ceremony of Victoria Crosses took place, in Hyde Park. 67 servicemen were awarded.
22 February 1857, Robert
Baden-Powell, British army officer and founder of the Boy Scouts movement in 1908, was born
in London, the son of an Oxford Professor.
18 November 1852, Funeral of Lord Wellington
in St Paul�s Cathedral.
28 January 1833, General Gordon, British Army Commander,
was born in Woolwich, London.
4 June 1805. First Trooping The Colour ceremony in
Horse Guards Parade, London.
1573, Naval docks and a resupply depot were established at Deptford.
London, see also Royal Great Britain from
4 June 2002. On the final day
of the extended Bank Holiday to mark the Golden Jubilee, the Queen
rode through London in the State gold coach.
2 June 2002. In the middle of
preparations for a concert at Buckingham Palace, London, to mark the Queen
Elizabeth�s Golden Jubilee celebrations, fire broke out at the
September 1997, Funeral of Diana Princess of Wales in
Westminster Abbey.� It was watched on television worldwide by
over one billion people.
1 October 1993. Buckingham Palace closed
after being open to the public for 8 weeks. 400,000 people visited, raising
some �2.2 million.
7 August 1993, Buckingham Palace, London,
opened to the public for the first time ever. 4,314 visited on the first day,
paying an �8 entrance fee.
29 April 1993, Queen Elizabeth II announced she
would open Buckingham Palace to tourists. The �8 entrance fee was to raise
money for the rebuilding of Windsor Castle, damaged by fire in 1992.
21 February 1988. The grave of the warrior
discovered under platform 8 of Kings Cross railway station, London.
23 July 1986, Prince Andrew married Miss Sarah
Ferguson in Westminster Abbey, and was created Duke of York.
9 July 1982. An intruder entered the Queen�s
bedroom at Buckingham Palace.� Michael Fagan,
35, asked the Queen for a cigarette whilst sitting on the end of her bed in
21 June 1982, Prince William (Arthur Philip
Louis) was born in London to Prince Charles (Prince of Wales) and Princess Diana.
14 September 1981, Marcus Serjeant, who had fired
blank shots at the Queen on 30 June 1981, was jailed for 5 years.
29 July 1981. Marriage of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (born 14 November 1948),
to Lady Diana Spencer. The wedding was
at St Paul�s Cathedral, London, and was watched on TV by 700 million viewers
worldwide. The design of Diana�s wedding dress had been kept a close secret
until she emerged from Clarence House on the wedding day; then� Ellis Bridals made a copy that went on sale
in Debenhams, Oxford Street, just 5 hours later, for �450. 750 million people
watched the ceremony.
13 June 1981, Marcus Serjeant fired blank
shots at Queen
Elizabeth II during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London.� He was later charged with treason.
20 March 1974, A
kidnap attempt was made on Princess Anne, in The Mall, London. The
Ball, was making a bizarre attempt to draw attention to the decline
in medical services for mental patients in Britain.
24 March 1953, Queen Mary, widow of King George V,
died at her London home, Marlborough House in Pall Mall, aged 85. Her funeral
was on 31 March 1953.
15 August 1950, Princess Anne (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise)
was born in Clarence House, London. She was the second child and only daughter
14 November 1948. Prince Charles,
Prince of Wales, was born in Buckingham Palace, as Charles Philip
26 April 1923, King George V, then the Duke of York,
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in Westminster Abbey.
9 August 1902. King
Edward VII, born 9 November 1841,
was crowned in Westminster Abbey. The coronation had been delayed from
June because the King had appendicitis.
23 June 1894, King Edward VIII was born at
White Lodge, Richmond, Surrey, the eldest son of George V and. Queen Mary
28 June 1838, The coronation of the nineteen-year-old Queen Victoria took place in
13 July 1837. Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, the first monarch to live there.
19 July 1821, Coronation of King George IV
in Westminster Abbey.
24 May 1819, Queen
(Alexandrine) Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, daughter of Edward Duke of
Kent and Mary, daughter of Francis, Duke of Saxe � Coburg - Saalfeld.
She was the granddaughter of King George III, and niece of King William IV.
15 May 1800. King George III
survived two assassination attempts in one day. James Hatfield tried to
assassinate the King at a theatre in Drury Lane.
4 June 1738, King George III,
grandson of George
II, was born in lodgings in St James Square, London.
17 July 1717. George I, Hanoverian King of England,
held a public concert on the Thames for Handel to conduct his hour-long Water
Music.� The King liked it so much he
asked for two complete encores.
2 February 1650, Nell Gwynne, mistress of King
Charles II, was born Eleanor Gwynne, the daughter of a fishwife. Originally an
orange-seller, she became an actress at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
6 July 1553, King Edward VI died in Greenwich of tuberculosis.
Court Palace was begun for King Henry VIII by Cardinal Wolsey.
17 June 1239, King
Edward I was born at Westminster.�
He was the eldest son of Henry III and Eleanor of Provence.
2 December 1976, The Museum of London opened, by the Queen, as part of the Barbican
1973, The Museum of London set up a department of urban archeology, to try
and rescue what was left of pre-industrial London from the office building boom
of the 60s and 70s.
30 December 1972, The Tutankhamun exhibition closed in London; 1.6 million had visitoed
since it opened on 29 March 1972.
27 April 1937, The National Maritime Museum, beside the Thames at Greenwich, was
opened by King
26 April 1928, Madame Tussauds waxworks museum re-opened on Marylebone Road, after
its previous address in Baker Street burnt down.
16 April 1850. Swiss waxworks show
Marie Tussaud died. She was born on 1 December 1761 in Strasbourg.
She learnt the art of wax modelling from her uncle, Philippe Curtius. Before
the French Revolution Mme Tussaud was art tutor at Versailles to Louis XVI�s
sister, Elizabeth. After a period in prison she was tasked with making death
masks from the heads of those guillotined, some of whom she recognised as
friends. She left Paris in 1802, along with her waxwork models, and two sons
from a failed marriage to a French engineer, Francois Tussaud. She spent 33
years touring Britain before opening a permanent display in London.
9 June 1920, In London, the Imperial War Museum was opened by King George V.
21 March 1912, The London Museum was opened, in Kensington Palace, by King George V.
26 June 1909. King Edward VII opened the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
17 May 1899. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of
the Victoria and Albert Museum.
18 April 1881, The Natural History Museum in Kensington, London, opened.
24 June 1872, The Museum of Childhood (toys, games, dolls etc.) was opened in Bethnal
Green, London, originally as an extension of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It became a dedicated mueum in its own
right in 1972.
16 January 1759. British Museum, London, opened to the public, in premises formerly
known as Montague House. Funded by a lottery that raised UK� 300,000, the
museum contained a collection of books, manuscripts and natural objects amassed
by Sir Hans
Sloane, also collections by Edward and Robert Harley and Sir Robert
5 April 1753, The Founding Charter of
the British Museum was enacted. It was built to accommodate the collection of
Hans Sloane, physician and naturalist. It was moved to Bloomsbury in 1823.
Parks / Cemeteries /
March 1986, Fire badly damaged Hampton Court Palace, London.
1936, The site of Lesnes Abbey (founded 1178), Bexley, was
acquired by the LCC and opened as Lesnes
1 April 1935, The Green
Belt Scheme for the environs of London came into force.
January 1935, The London County Council approved the Green Belt scheme.
4 February 1929, The first Green Belt area was approved, a
five-mile wide strip near Hendon.
1 January 1923, 100 acres of Ken Wood Estate were bought for the
nation to extend Hampstead Heath. See also Great Britain (1866) Metropolitan
April 1913, Grovelands
Park, Enfleid, was opened to the public.
29 March 1904. Richmond Park in south-west London was opened to the public.
1903, Broomfield Park, Palmers Green, 60 acres, was purchased for the
12 November 1889, Waterlow Park, Highgate, London, 29 acres, was given as a free gift
to London by Sir Sidney Waterlow.
1890, Dulwich Park was opened to the public.
1887, Ravenscourt Park, 32 acres, was purchased for public use for
1885, Highbury Fields Park was acquired for the public, cost �60,000.
6 May 1882, Queen
Victoria opened Epping Park to the public. See also 1777.
1878, The Epping Forest Act
appointed the Corporation of London as conservators of 6,000 acres of Epping
Forest, to �preserve the natural landscape�.
7/1874, West Ham Park,
77 acres, former home of the Gurney family, opened as a public park.
24 May 1873, In north London, Alexandra Palace opened. See also 1863.
1869, Finsbury Park, north London, 115 acres,
opened. It was one of the first municipal parks in London, and cost �95,000.
June 1869, Southwark
Park was opened to the public; it cost �55,000.
Common was secured for public use under the Metropolitan Commons Act.
Park, north London, opened to the public. It was rebuilt in 1873.
Park, 185 acres, was opened to the public. It was laid out 1852-5,
at a cost of
The first train left the new station of Waterloo Necropolis for the large
cenentery at Brookwood, Woking. The creation of this cemetery and its
innovative rail link was spurred on by the London cholera epidemic of 1848-49.
10 June 1854, Queen Victoria
opened the Crystal Palace on its new
site in Sydenham, south London.
1853, Primrose Hill was opened as a public park. This was due to the
efforts of Mr Hume, who persuaded Eton College to swap the land for land near
1845, Victoria Park, N E London, opened to the public. Designed by James
Pennethorne, with planned
spaces for promenading and sports undert the watchful gaze of park keepers,
in 1892 it had 303,515 visitors on a single day. The UK Government had promised
�90,000 to create this park in 1841, in response to rising ill-health, �moral
decline� and overcrowding in the East End of London.
5/1839, The famous Highgate Cemetery was consecrated by the Bishop of
1833, The Select Committee on Public Walks argued for more open spaces for
poorer Londoners. This would distract them from less desirable leisure
activities siuch as drinking, boxing and dog-fighting, and make them fitter for
1832, Kensal Green cemetery opened.
Regents Park, 464 acres in North London,
was opened. The area was formerly pastureland known as Marylebone Park Fields.
1777, Epping Forest, which once covered most of Essex, Suffolk and
Norfolk, had shrunk to 20 square miles (12,000 acres) through encolsures. By 1851 it covered just
10 square miles (6,000 acres), and by 1871 was down to 5 square miles (3,000 acres).
The Corporation of London obtained a legal ruling in 1874 that all enclosures
since 1851 were illegal, and in 1878 an Act of Parliament handed over 6,000
acres of the Forest to the Corporation of London. On 6 May 1882 the Forest was
opened to the public by Queen Victoria.
1762, Syon House was built.
1762, The Chinese Pagoda Tower in Kew Gardens was designed and erected by Sir William
Chambers. It was originally adorned with Chinese dragons at each
stage, but these being made of cheap pine, had rotted by 1784 and had to be
removed that year. In 2018 they were restored, now made of machine 3-d printed
1759, Kew Gardens began to be laid out.
1730, The Serpentine, Hyde Park, was created by Queen Caroline, by
converting the bed of the Westbourne River.
1660, Green Park was opened to the public.
1660, Vauxhall Gardens opened to the public. Opened as the Spring
Gardens, they were the venue for music recitals.
1637, Hyde Park was opened to the public.
1514, Large numbers of Londoners
went out into land near the city that had once been common land where they had
enjoyed games and recreation, but had
recently been enclosed by farmers. The Londoners took shovels and spades,
and demolished the hedges and filled in the ditches, reclaiming it as common land.
Policing and crime, see also Protests and Riots below See also Crime
11 April 2019, Julian Assange,
47, was seized by UK police from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he had been
residing for nearly seven years to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape
charge, which could lead to onward extradition to the USA on more serious
Terrorist attacks 1999 -
November 2019, A terrorist stabbed 5 people, 2 fatally, at London
Bridge. He was shot dead by police.
15 September 2017, A terrorist
bomb exploded on a tube carriage at Parsons Green, SW
London. 29 people were injured. The bomb only partially exploded.
19 June 2017, Shortly after
midnight a White man drove a van into a crowd of Muslims eating a communal meal
in a street in Finsbury Park, London, after the Ramadan fast had ended. One man
died and 10 were injured; the driver was arrested.
3 June 2017, Three Islamist
terrorists killed 7 and injured 48 in three simultaneous attacks in London, at
London Bridge, and Borough Market. The three terrorists were killed by security
22 March 2017, In an Islamist
terrorist attack on the Houses of Parliament, London, four people died
(including the attacker) and 40 were injured. One of the dead was a policeman
who was stabbed. A 4x4 was driven across Westminster Bridge, killing and
injuring pedestrians, before crashing a barrier at Parliament. One of the injured, a tourist, died later in hospital.
22 May 2013, A soldier wearing a �Help for Heroes� T
shirt, near Woolwich Barracks, SE London, was hacked to death in the street by
two Africans who had converted to Islam. The perpetrators then waited for
police to arrive and were shot but not fatally. Hate crimes in the UK against
Islamic targets over the next two days amounted to 160, ten times the usual
22 July 2005, A Brazilian
de Menezes, was shot dead by police at a London Underground station;
they mistook him for a suicide bomber.
21 July 2005, A second terrorist attack on London
Transport, similar to the one on 7 July 2005.� There were 4 attempted bomb attacks on 3
underground trains and a London bus.�
However the bombs all failed to explode properly and there was only one
7 July 2005, Four Islamist
suicide bombers struck London in the morning rush hour. Three separate
Underground trains and a bus were hit, killing 50 and injuring over 200
commuters. Al Quaeda gave British
military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq as justification for the attacks.
April 1999, Another nail bomb exploded, (see 17 April 1999), in
the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, Soho, London.� A pregnant woman and two friends were killed,
and seventy injured.� This was part of a
hate campaign against gay people and ethnic minorities by David Copeland.
April 1999, A nail bomb exploded in a busy market in Brixton,
south London.� See 30 April 1999.
26 April 1999, BBC TV presenter
Jill Dando was shot dead
on the doorstep of her Fulham house in London. Barry George, a loner obsessed with guns and celebrities, was convicted of the
murder in 2001.
22 April 1993, A Black teenager, Stephen
Lawrence, 18, was stabbed to death in Eltham, south east London, in
a racist attack.
3 October 1991, Sir Allen Green QC, 56, the
British Director of Public Prosecutions,
resigned after having been stopped by the police for kerb-crawling in the Kings
Cross area of London.
30 December 1990, Patrick Harward-Duffy, a
36-year-old Glaswegian, attacked the 70-foot Christmas Tree in London�s
Trafalgar Square with a chainsaw, cutting a third of the way through the trunk
before police stopped him. He was protesting against �the unfairness of the Norwegian legal
system�. Ever since 1947 the people of Oslo have donated a Christmas Tree to
London in gratitude for liberation from the Nazis.
17 April 1984. In London, the Libyans
opened fire from their People�s Bureau, killing 25 year-old policewoman, Yvonne Fletcher. A police siege of the Libyan
Embassy began and on 22 April 1984 the UK Government broke off diplomatic
relations with Libya. The siege ended on 27 April 1984 and 30 Libyans from the
Bureau were deported. The British Ambassador and other diplomats returned from
26 November 1983. 6,800 gold bars worth �25
million were stolen from the Brinks-Mat
security warehouse at Heathrow Airport. Only a fraction of the gold was ever
recovered, and only 2 men were ever convicted of the crime.
9 February 1983. Dennis Nilsen,
mass murderer, was arrested after human remains were found at his house in
Muswell Hill, north London.� Nilsen,
37 years old, confessed to police to the murders of 15 men over 4 years.
11 September 1978. Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov, a broadcaster on
the BBC�s foreign service, was stabbed in the thigh with a poisoned umbrella in
London. He soon collapsed into a coma, and died on 18 September 1979.
30 August 1976, Over 100 police officers were
taken to hospital after clashes at London�s Notting Hill Carnival.
25 March 1953, Police hunted for John Christie
after the remains of three women were found at his former house in Notting
Hill, London. See 15 July 1953.
9 May 1938, Scotland Yard announced
they were to use police dogs.
10 May 1934, The Police Training College in Hendon, London, was opened by the Prince of Wales.
8 August 1929, Ronald Biggs, great train robber, was born in
Lambeth, south London.
22 September 1920, The Metropolitan Police �Flying
Squad� was formed.
17 February 1920, London Metropolitan Police
became the first police force in Britain to announce it was to replace its
horses with cars.
police strike 1918
31 August 1918, After a London police
strike, and a meeting with the UK Government at Downing Street,, the
pensionable pay of a top constable rose to �2.65 / week, also a� 60p War Bonus was granted. Yet the UK
Government, fearful of the example of the 1917 Soviet Revolution, was extremely
reluctant to recognise any police trades union. On 14 July 1919 a Police Federation of England and Wales
was created, so avoiding the use of the term �trades union�. On 14 July 1919, The Desborough Commission recommended a
rise in police constable�s pay to �3.50 on joining, to �4.50 after 10 years�
service, and �4.70 after 22 years.
30 August 1918. London police went on
strike. Prisoners had to be taken
to court in taxis, but a major crime wave did not materialise. Bus drivers did
traffic duty at major junctions. 2,000 police officers marched to a rally at
Tower Hill, demanding wage rises and the reinstatement of a colleague dismissed
for political activities. The key issue, however, was trade union recognition.
Trade Unions had grown significantly during the War, from 4,145,000 members in
1914 to 6,533,000 members in 1918. Now working-class policemen, who kept union
disputes in check, wanted their own union representation.
27 August 1918, London
police prepared to strike. Their wages had been eroded by inflation (see
prices and wages, 1 July 1917 for more
details), and they were forbidden from leaving the force to take up
better-paid jobs at munitions factories. The UK Government was strongly against
the formation of a police trades union, and threatened that any police officer
who joined one would be dismissed, and sent as a soldier to fight in the trenches
of World War One.
3 January 1911. The siege of Sydney Street took place
when 1,000 police and soldiers besieged three anarchists suspected of killing
three policemen at a house in London�s East End. 2 Anarchists were killed as
the house caught fire; the ringleader, �Peter the Painter�, escaped.
19 May 1910, Westminster Court, London,
banned cabbies from asking for tips.
27 February 1907, London�s Central Criminal
Court (The Old Bailey) was opened on
the site of Newgate Prison, by King Edward VII.
16 March 1903. Trial of Jack the Ripper.
9 November 1888, Mary Kelly, fifth and last of The Ripper�s victims,
was found dead in her room at 13 Millers Court, London.
30 September 1888. Jack
the Ripper butchered 2 more
women. They were Liz Stride found behind 40 Berber
Street, and Kate Eddowes, in Miter Square,
both in London�s East End.
27 September 1888. The Central London News
Agency received a letter which began �Dear Boss, I keep on hearing the police
have caught me but they won�t fix me just yet..�. It was signed �Jack the Ripper�the
first time the name had been used.
8 September 1888, Jack the Ripper claimed his 2nd
Chapman, who was found disembowelled at 29 Hanbury Street, London.
31 August 1888, Mary Ann
�Polly� Nichols, the first victim of Jack
the Ripper, was found mutilated in Bucks Row in the early hours of
Republican attacks 1883 - 85
2 January 1885, A
further terrorist attack on the London Underground, by Irish Republicans. James
Canningham set a bomb off in the tunnel between Kings Cross and
Gower Street (now Euston) stations; only slight damage to a train was caused.
Later that month, he was seen detonating a bomb which seriously injured four
people at the Tower of London, and was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard
labour. Bomb attacks by these so called �dyamitards� tailed off after others
were caught or blew themselves up.
October 1883, The first terrorist attack
on the London Underground. Two bombs were set off by Fenian fighters for Irish independence, one at Praed Street Station
(now Paddington) on a Metropolitan Line train going towards Edgware Road, and
one on a District Line train between Westminster and Charing Cross (now
Embankment). Nobody was killed and there were only slight injuries from flying
glass. The perpetrators were never found. In February 1884 more serious bomb
attacks were attempted, with devices planted at Victoria, Charing Cross,,
Ludgate Hill and Paddington. Fortunately only the Victoria bomb exploded and as
the station was nearly empty at the time nobody was killed. Again the bombers
were never discovered. Other terrorist plans of the time included an attempt to
blow up Scotland Yard., by Clan na Gael.
Some damage was done, with records on Irish Republicans destroyed, but had all
the dymanite detonated the building would have been totally destroyed.
11 January 1883,
London�s Royal Courts of Justice opened.
15 August 1842. The first regular British detective force was formed as a
division of the Metropolitan Police, later assuming the name C.I.D.
19 June 1829. The London Metropolitan Police was founded, set up by the Home
Robert Peel. The
policemen were known as �Peelers�, or �Bobbies�. 3,314
professional police now guarded London.
30 November 1824, Henry Faultleroy, convicted of
forgery, was executed in London (born 1785).
1 May 1820. The militant radicals
involved in the Cato Street conspiracy
(just off the Edgware Road) to kill the Prime Minister were executed. Their leader, Arthur
Thistlewood, was suspected of being a police informer.
23 February 1820, The Cato Street
conspiracy was discovered. This was
a plot to blow up the entire Cabinet with explosives and set up a provisional
government. The conspiracy was led by Arthur Thistlewood. This led to renewed fears of radicalism and set back the cause of
1783, Tyburn Gallows, at what is now Marble Arch, were taken
down. Erected in 1196, over 50,000 people had been executed on them, Executions
had become too rowdy, and were transferred to Newgate Prison (but remained a
1754. Henry Fielding died, aged 47. He
is famous as the author of the novel Tom Jones but he also, as a Justice of the
Peace, organised the detective force
that became Scotland Yard.
1697, The refuge priveliges of
�Alsatia� were revoked. Alsatia was a district of London between Fleet
Street and the Thames, adjoining the Temple, formally known as Whitefriars,
where rights of refuge existed. It therefore became a haunt of criminals, and
was named after Alsace, a border district between France and Germany whetre
similarly criminals could hide. The last such sanctuary in London, Southwark
Mint, was abolished as such in 1723. However London still retained areas of
dense courts and alleyways where villains could operate in relative safety.
21 January 1670, Claude Duval, highwayman, was
hanged at Tyburn (born 1643).
31 January 1606, Guy Fawkes
and co-conspirators were executed.
5 November 1605. Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up King James I
and the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder (see 11 December 1604).
His trial was at Westminster Hall on 27 January 1606. This was part of a Catholic plot to overthrow the Protestant English
monarchy BUT see 11 December 1604.�
However the gunpowder barrels were discovered in the cellars of
Parliament before they were detonated.� Lord Monteagle,
a Catholic peer, had received a
letter warning him to stay away from the State Opening of Parliament and
hinting at an explosion. Monteagle and the Lord Chamberlain
investigated the cellars below the House of Lords and discovered a man piling
wood, who gave his name as Guy Fawkes, and claimed that the wood belonged
to his master, Lord
Percy. They let him go but after further investigating the wood pile
they found 36 barrels of gunpowder underneath. Guy Fawkes, a 36-year-old Yorkshireman,
was arrested when he returned at midnight to make final preparations for the
Fawkes was hung, drawn, and quartered on 31 January 1606.� Sir Everard Digby, Thomas Winter, John Grant,
Bates, other conspirators, were hung, drawn, and quartered on 30
December 1604, Guy
Fawkes began digging a tunnel from a house he had rented near the
Houses of Parliament (see 5 November 1605). His plan was to reach the cellars
under the House and fill it with gunpowder to blow it up. They reached the
foundations of the House by Christmas 1604, but then the opening of Parliament
was unexpectedly postponed, from 7 February 1605, first to 3 October 1605 and
then to 5 November 1605. This was lucky for Guy Fawkes because the foundations,
12 foot thick, were difficult to dig through, and then the coal merchant who
had been renting the House cellars gave up his lease. Allegedly a roaring noise
above the tunnelers first alarmed them, then alerted them to the vacated rent,
the noise being due to the removal of the coal stored there. The conspirators
quickly took up the rent themselves. However some historians have doubted
elements of this story, such as the tunnel being dug under a busy part of
London; it is possible that the entire episode was in fact a Protestant scheme to discredit English Catholics.
1196, Tyburn Gallows were erected at what is now Marble Arch.
They were dismantled in 1783.
27 October 1932, Hunger Marchers protested
in Hyde Park, London. See also Washington urban sprawl, USA, 1959.
October 1931. Large march in London in protest at pay cuts.
1894, A survey of children in
Bethnal Green, a poor district of London�s East End, found that 83% of them
received no solid food apart from bread at average 17 of the 21 meals a week.
Scurvy, rickets and tuberculosis were widespread.
13 November 1887, Bloody Sunday in Trafalgar Square, London, when police clashed with
Socialist demonstrators. The protestors were calling for the end of a ban on
open air meetings and the release of an Irish MP who had been jailed for
supporting a rent strike. Two protestors were killed.
January 1800, The first soup kitchens for the poor opened in
Public Transport See also Railways GB, London
9 December 2005, London�s iconic
Routemaster buses were withdrawn this day, replaced by updated models, although
one heritage bus route in London still operates them.
26 February 1968, London�s first bus lane,
across Vauxhall Bridge, opened.
26 October 1929, All London buses to be painted red. Earlier trials with yellow and
red proved unpopular.
3 February 1919, London tube workers went on
strike for shorter hours.
2 November 1911, London cab drivers went on
May 1904, In London, 3,000 cab drivers went on strike.
Protests and riots, see also Policing above
28 February 2012, Occupy Wall Street protestors were
evicted from the front of St Pauls,
1 May 2001, In
London, protests on a worldwide day of demonstrations against capitalism turned
1 March 1998,
250,000 pro-foxhunting demonstrators marched through the centre of London.
31 March 1990. Anti-Poll Tax demonstrations in
Trafalgar Square, London. 300,000 protested, led by MP Tony Benn.
21 March 1990, A large demonstration in
Square against the Poll Tax
turned into a riot. 417 people were injured and 341 arrested.
9 March 1990. Poll tax riots in Brixton, London.
There were also riots in Lewisham, Hackney, Haringey, Maidenhead, Reading,
Bristol, Plymouth, Gillingham, Norwich, Birmingham, Stockport, Leeds, Bradford,
and many other places. Both Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister, and the
Labour leader, Neil
Kinnock, condemned the riots.
5 February 1987,
SOGAT called off its picket of Rupert
Murdoch�s Wapping plant.
3 May 1986, Violent protests at Wapping between
pickets and police.
linked to racism 1977 - 95
13 December 1995, The death of a Black man
in police custody led to rioting in Brixton, London. This was 3rd riot
in 15 ytears in the area ;linked to racial tensions.
19 March 1987, Three men were sentenced
to life imprisonment for the murder of PC Blakelock on Broadwater Farm Estate,
Tottenham, north London.
7 October 1985. Riots erupted in Broadwater Farm
Estate, Tottenham, London, after a Black woman, Cynthia Jarrett, collapsed and
died whilst police searched her home. Within hours, police were lured to the
estate by fake 999 calls and then came under attack from bricks, stones, petrol
bombs, and were even shot at. From 6.30 pm until well after midnight both Black
and White youths fought 500 police in riot gear. PC Blakelock, 40, was hacked to
29 September 1985, 209 people were arrested
in rioting in Brixton.
28 September 1985, Riots erupted in Brixton
after a Black woman, Cherry Groce, was shot during a police raid.
15 July 1981, Rioting in Brixton,
10 July 1981. Following the riots in Toxteth, riots broke out in other British
cities. Riots in Moss Side (Manchester) and Wood Green (London). Brixton
saw riots on 15 July 1981. Hull, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Reading, Preston and
Chester also saw riots.
5 July 1981. Youth rioted in Toxteth, Liverpool
for a second night running. There were also riots in Brixton and Southall in
June 1981. Asians rioted
west London, after racist aggression by skinhead youths.
11 April 1981. Riots in Brixton. Mobs of youths
went on the rampage, throwing petrol bombs, looting shops, and attacking
police. Over 300 civilians, and 65 police officers, were injured.� Over three days of unrest, 779 crimes were
reported.� The riots were sparked by a
controversial initiative to cut street crime, the �stop and search� laws, and were the worst riots in London for a
3 April 1981, Riots in Brixton
19 January 1981, Thirteen Black people died
in a fire at Deptford, south London., during an all-night party.� The West Indian community suspected the fire
had been started by racists.
23 April 1979, A teacher, Blair Peach,
was killed, and 300 were arrested after violent clashes between the National
Front and the anti-Nazi League in Southall, west London.
13 August 1977, The police used riot
shields on the British mainland for the first time, during an anti-fascist
demonstration in Lewisham, London.
Bomb protests 1958 - 62
23 April 1962, 150,000 people gathered in
Hyde Park, London, for the biggest-ever Ban the Bomb demonstration.
17 September 1961, 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.
6 September 1961, In London, anti-nuclear
protestors attempted to march to the US Embassy in protest at the
resumption of nuclear tests by the USA.
They were stopped and their leaders, including the 89-year-old Bertrand
Russell, were arrested by the police.
19 April 1960, A crowd of between 60,000
and 100,000 protested in Trafalgar Square, London, against
April 1958. The first CND march from London arrived at Aldermaston.
It had left Hyde Park on 4 April 1958.
clashes in London 1927 - 36
11 October 1936. In London, 100,000 people barricaded east London streets to prevent a
march of Oswald
Moseley�s Fascists. During violent clashes, 80 people were injured.
See also Jewish
9 September 1934. Fascists and their opponents clashed in London.
8 June 1934, Fierce
fighting broke out at a fascist rally staged by Oswald Moseley at London�s
20 June 1927, Fighting between Communists and
Fascists in Hyde Park, London.
16 November 1896. Birth of British fascist
Mosley, in London.
9 July 1905, Large Labour
demonstration in Hyde Park, London.
28 February 1837, The London Working Men�s Association presented a petition to the UK
Parliament. They wanted universal adult male suffrage, reform of voting
districts to make them equal size (i.e. to get rid of �rotten boroughs), voting
by secret ballot, annual parliaments, abolition of property qualifications for
MPs, and MPs to be paid a salary.
2 December 1816. Rioting broke out at Spa Fields in
London during a meeting to promote demands for parliamentary
reform. Demands were for the vote
for all men aged 18 and over, and for no
property qualifications for MPs. The response was a series of Coercion Acts, including a temporary suspension of Habeas Corpus
and an extension of the 1978 Act against
12 June 1595, Large numbers of London
apporentices protested against rising food prices by seizing fish and butter
from vendors and paying what they considered a ;fair� price for it. On 14 June 1595
a crowd of over 1,000 gathered outside the Lord Mator;s house� tore down the pillory in Cheapside. The Crown
responded by empowering a provost-martial to arrest and even execute
protest, see Parks above.
17 June 1497, Cornish rebels
Henry VII, having marched to Guildford on 13 June 1497, and
skirmished with the Army on Hounslow Heath, now marched on London. They failed
to gain the support of Kentish men, and therefore marched through Banstead, and
this day faced the King�s men at the Battle of Deptford where the rebels were
Religion and religious
buildings See also Christian Buildings
18 August 1995, The largest traditional
stone-built Hindu temple in the
world outside India opened in Neasden, N W London.
first Hindu Temple opened in London.
1717, Britain�s first Druid
revivial ceremony was held, on the Autumn Equinox at Primrose Hill.
21 June 1675. The foundation stone of Sir Christopher
Wren�s new St Paul�s
Cathedral, London, was laid. The new place of worship faced the old church
that burned down in the Great Fire of London, (see 2 September 1666). The first
Sunday service there was held on 5 December 1697.
18 March 1612, Bartholomew Legate became the last person in London to be
executed for their religious beliefs.�
A cloth dealer, he became a preacher for a sect called �The Seekers�,
who held unorthodox views about the divinity of Jesus..� He was jailed in Newgate Prison for heresy in
1611, and burnt to death at Smithfield.
4 June 1561, London�s
Mediaeval St Pauls Cathedral, with a lead-lined wooden spire 584 feet high, was
struck by lightning, and the entire building burned to the ground. The clergy
blamed the destruction on divine displeasure at use of the Cathedral for worldy
pursuits such as business deals and entertainment. By the end of the year, with
donations of over �1,000 from Queen Elizabeth, also the
City, the Cathedral was rebuilt. However the spire was not nrestored, much to Elizabeth�s displeasure. The new Cathedral fell
into disrepair and was burnt down again in the Great Fire of London 1666.
built by Carthusian monks.
1290, London�s Jews were expelled; they had lived in the area
known as Old Jewry.
1141, The first palace for the
Bishops of London was built, in Fulham.
markets See also Companies
9 April 1987, The UK
government launched an inquiry into the Al Fayed takeover of Harrods.
19 January 1982,� London�s new Billingsgate Market opened on the Isle of Dogs, three days after
the old Billingsgate in Lower Thames Street, EC3, closed.
13 May 1981. Queen Elizabeth
II opened the �Shopping City�
in Wood Green, north London. It had taken seven years to build.
2 March 1976, Brent Cross shopping centre, N W
London, was opened; it was the first regional shopping centre in Europe.
8 November 1974. Covent Garden Market moved from central
London to Nine Elms, after 300 years in the West End. See 1670.
22 January 1972. As the
British Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Brussels,
he had ink thrown over him by protestors
against the redevelopment of Covent Garden Market.
26 March 1965, The
Elephant and Castle shopping centre, London, opened. It had 115 shops.
24 August 1959, House of Fraser beat Debenhams in a takeover battle for Harrods.
9 May 1949.
Britain�s first launderette opened
in Queensway, London.
25 October 1933, Lyons
opened its Corner House fast food
restaurant in London. It could seat 2,000 people.
15 March 1909. The new Selfridges (American-owned)
store opened on a 6 acre site in Oxford Street, London.
6 December 1883, Major
fire at Harrods
store, London; however the business quickly recovered. Late employees were
fined 1.5 d for every 15 minutes they were late.
11 January 1857. Birth
founder of Britain�s first large department store.
3 September 1855, The last Bartholomews fair was held in
London. It was first held on 24 August 1133. It grew to be a huge national
market, the maincentre for cloth sales in England. However by the 1850s it had
become a magnet for thieves and muggers, and the event was disapproved of by
the upper classes in London.
11 June 1855, The
last market for live animals was held at Smithfield, London. Thereafter live
animals were traded further north, at Copenhagen Fields. Central London Meat
Market (Smithfield) was begun in 1862 and opened for meat trading in 1868.
1849, Henry Charles Harrod took over a grocers shop
in the village of Knightsbridge. His son, Charles Digby Harrod, took over the store in
1861, aged 20; by 1867� the shop was
large enough to employ 5 assistants, and had a staff of 16 by 1870. The store
burnt down in December 1883 but was rebuilt, and all Christmas orders only delayed
by a few days. Customers were impressed, and by 1889 the store was worth
�120,000. The first escalator in London was installed at Harrods in 1898. Most
of the current building dates from 1901-05. In 1985 Harrods was bought by the
Al-Fayed brothers for �615 million.
20 March 1819, The
Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, London, opened.
1707, Fortnum &
Mason department store, London, was established.
1670, The original fruit and
vegetable market in Covent Garden opened when King Charles II granted a
charter to the Earl of Bedford to hold a market in the area. See 9 November 1974.
1656, Covent Garden fruit and
vegetable market began, as a few stalls in tbe garden of the Duke of Bedford.
1358, London Bridge had 138 shops on it.
1276, Croydon market was established, making the town
the commercial centre for the region.
1265, A fruit and vegetable stall was set up on the
north side of the road between the City of London and Westminster by the monks
of St Peter�s Abbey, to sell the surplus from their vegetable garden. This
stall later became Covent Garden
Fruit and Vegetable Market (see 1656)
1150, The earliest mention of
the cattle market at Smithfield.
24 August 1133, In London, the first
Bartholomew�s Day Fair was held. It was held annually thereafter until 1855.
Market for meat began in the �Smooth Field� just north of London�s walls.
Tower of London
30 October 1841, Fire at the
Tower of London.
9 May 1671. Irish adventurer Captain James Thomas Blood made
an unsuccessful attempt, dressed as a clergyman, to steal the Crown Jewels from
the Tower of London. See 24 August 1680.
10 January 1645, At Tower Hill, William Laud,
Archbishop of Canterbury since 1633, was beheaded for treason.� He was not replaced until 1660.
1097, The White Tower, Tower of London, was completed.
It was built of white stone from the Caen, France, area.
1078, Building work began on the Tower of London.
dates and districts, see spreadsheet at London
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