Useful dates in British history for the local historian or genealogist
. . . with a few others added in for good measure!

Send additions/corrections/comments please to John Owen Smith
My thanks to major
contributors , who are acknowledged
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disclaimer at end


Frith's postcard dating list – Historical value of money in UK – Imperial measures – Glossary of Terms – Monarchs of England and their dates – Special days

BC4004
Oct 23: The beginning of Creation, as calculated by James Ussher (1581 –1656), Archbishop of Armagh and believed until Victorian times
BC3952
Mar 18: The beginning of Creation, as calculated by the Venerable Bede (673– 735)
BC551
Birth of Confucius
BC490
Battle of Marathon
BC240
First recorded sighting of Halley's comet
BC55
Aug 27: Caesar's first British expedition (second in BC54)
BC49
Jan 10 (of the Roman calendar): Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war
BC46
Caesar institutes the Julian calendar (came into force in BC45)
BC45
Jan 1: The Julian calendar takes effect for the first time
BC44
Mar 15: Caesar assassinated in Rome
BC27
Jan 16: The title Augustus bestowed upon Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian
AD43
Roman Conquest of Britain begun by Emperor Claudius – Camulodunum (Colchester) captured and becomes first Roman Base in England
AD47
Fosse Way built
AD60
Revolt of Boudicca (Boadicea)
AD64
Jun: Great fire of Rome, lasted 9 days (Nero fiddles, etc!)
AD69
Year of the four emperors in Rome: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian
AD79
Aug 24: (some say Oct 24) Mount Vesuvius erupts – the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae are buried in volcanic ash
c80–85
Campaign of Agricola in southern Scotland
c85
Battle of Mons Graupius, massive defeat of Caledonians by Roman forces
115
Roman Empire reaches its greatest extent under Trajan
122
Sep: Building of Hadrian's Wall begins (completed AD126)
c140
Antonine Wall built in central Scotland (completed circa AD143)
c150
Around this time, the Christian churches decided to express their divergence from the Roman system by starting the year on a different date, 25th March (this being the 'date of conception' of Christ in order for his birth to have been on 25th December) – see also 1582
180
Beginning of the 'decline of the Roman Empire' (Gibbon) – Defeat of Romans in Caledonia – they retreat behind Hadrian's Wall
207–11
Campaign of Severus in southern Scotland
247
1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome
304
St Alban first Christian martyr in Britain [Bede implies some date between 303 and 313]
321
Emperor Constantine I decrees that Sunday is the day of rest in the Roman Empire
325
Council of Nicaea establishes basic Christian dogma
c350
St Ninian first to preach Christian religion in Scotland, arrives Solway Firth
367
Invasion of northern England by Picts and Scots
406/412
Probable end of Roman military occupation of Britain
418
'The Romans gathered all the gold-hords there were in Britain; some they hid in the earth so that no man might find them, and some they took with them to Gaul' – Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
c400 – c600
Migration and settlement of Angles, Jutes and Saxons
432
St Patrick begins mission to Ireland
449
Beginning of invasions by Jutes, Angles and Saxons – Hengist and Horsa invade
'The Angles were invited here by king Vortigern, and they came to Britain in three longships, landing at Ebbesfleet. [He] gave them territory in the southeast of this land on the condition that they fight the Picts. This they did, and had victory wherever they went. Then they sent to Angel and commanded more aid … they soon sent hither a greater host to help the others. Then came the men of three Germanic tribes: Old Saxons, Angles and Jutes. Of the Jutes come the people of Kent and the Isle of Wight; of the Old Saxons come the East-Saxons, South-Saxons and West-Saxons; of the Angles come the East Anglians, Middle Anglians, Mercians and all Northumbrians. Their war-leaders were two brothers, Hengist and Horsa … first of all they killed and drove away the king's enemies, then later they turned on the king and the British [mid-450s], destroying through fire and the sword's edge.' – Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
467
Chinese observe Halley's comet
c490
British check Anglo-Saxon advance at siege of Mount Badon (site unknown) – date uncertain: other sources say 520 and/or c.495, or simply 'some time in the decade before or after 500'
c500
Irish "Scots" arrived in western Scotland
525 (some say in 526, 532 or 534)
'Dennis the Short' (Dionysius Exiguous) calculates the date of the birth of Christ – concept of AD and BC dates begins
536
Beginning of a decade-long cold snap causing turmoil across the globe (some postulate a volcanic eruption plus a significant impact from space around this date)
537
Death of King Arthur (some say 542) [Note: He is not mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and some think he never existed as a real person]
c541
Bubonic plague devastates Europe
c550
Anglian settlement in south-east, Scotland
563
Columba arrives in Iona and founds the Celtic Christian Church (c565)
570
Birth of Mohammed (Muhammad)
577
Anglo-Saxon victory at Deorham marks resumption of their advance in England
597
Death of Columba, later sanctified
597/8
St Augustine lands in Kent – converts King Ethelbert – introduces Roman Christian Church to England – later becomes first Archbishop of Canterbury
c.600 and for some centuries (some say from AD 500 to AD 850)
The period of the 'Heptarchy': the seven kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Sussex, Essex, East Anglia and Kent – the 'top king' at any one time was referred to 'Bretwalda' (overlord of the Britons)
601
Pope Gregory calls Ethelbert of Kent 'rex Anglorum'
604
St Paul's Cathedral in London founded
Death of St Augustine, and pope Gregory I
616
Feb 24: Death of Ethelbert of Kent – succeeded by his son Eadbald, who was not a Christian
617
Edwin becomes king of Northumbria (to 633) – possibly founds Edinburgh? – [He overcame all Britain save Kent alone – Anglo-Saxon Chronicles]
622
Muhammad's flight from Mecca marks the start of the Muslim calendar
642
Aug: Battle of Maserfield: Penda of Mercia defeats Oswald of Northumbria
c650
Sutton Hoo ship-burial
655
Nov: Battle of Winwaed (in present-day Yorkshire): Oswiu of Northumbria (brother of Oswald) defeats Penda of Mercia
664
Sep: Synod of Whitby: Divisions within the Northumbrian church led to the Synod of Whitby, where Oswiu agreed to settle the Easter controversy by adopting the Roman dating – Roman Christianity triumphs over Celtic
Plague hit England, according to Bede (writing c.730): "A sudden pestilence raging far and wide with fierce destruction.'
673
Birth of the Venerable Bede, first English historian (d. 735)
First synod of clergy in England (at Hertford) – Roman and Celtic churches came to an agreement on the date to celebrate Easter
685–7
Cuthbert served as Bishop of Lindisfarne
c698
Lindisfarne Gospels
710
Roman Christianity established in Pictland
722
First written version of Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf
731
Bede's Ecclesiastical History
757
Offa became ruler of Mercia (died Jul 796) and effectively ruled much of Britain south of the Humber during the latter part of his reign
c785
King Offa first divided a pound of silver into 240 silver pennies
789
First sighting of Viking ships off Dorset
793
First Viking raids (Lindisfarne and elsewhere)
800
Charlemagne crowned Emperor of the West by Pope Leo III
c800
Book of Kells
802
Norsemen plunder Iona
827
Egbert King of Wessex and Mercia effectively first king of England (d. 839), but see 937 – see also general list of dates for Monarchs of England
838
Norse establish permanent base at Dublin
844
Kenneth I MacAlpin, king of Scots, becomes King of Picts – start of Scottish kingdom
865–874
Danish army conquers north-eastern third of England
871
Jan 4: Battle of Reading – Ethelred of Wessex defeated by a Danish invasion army
Apr: Alfred (the Great) succeeds Ethelred; crowned king of Wessex
872
Curfew (couvre feu) introduced at Oxford by King Alfred to reduce fire risks (why a French term this early in English history?)
878
Battle of Chippenham: Alfred defeated by Danes (shortly after Christmas 877) but escapes and 'burns the cakes'; Battle of Egbert's Stone (Eddington?) in May: Alfred (5–6,000 troops) defeats Danes, who retreat and are besieged in Chippenham – Danes/Vikings fail in attempt to conquer Wessex – leader Guthram baptised as Athelstan and accepted by Alfred as his Godson
880
Treaty of Wedmore: England divided between Alfred the Great of Wessex (the south and west) and the 'Danelaw' under Guthram (the north and east)
Start of concept of 'Englishness' and growth of 'burghs' in England from this time
889
Donald II, first King of Picts & Scots (d. in battle 900)
891
Beginning of Anglo-Saxon Chronicle marks revival of learning in England
899
Oct 26: Death of King Alfred the Great (some say 901); succeeded by Edward (the Elder)
917–921
Edward of Wessex conquers southern half of Danelaw – with the help of his sister, Aethelflaed of Mercia
937
Athelstan of Wessex defeats Scots, north Welsh and Norse at Brunanburgh – regarded by some as 'first king of all England' (but see 827)
939
Oct 27: Edmund I succeeds Athelstan as King of England
c960
Edinburgh held by King of Alba
971
Jul 15: St Swithun's body moved from his outdoor grave to an indoor shrine in the the Old Minster in Winchester against his expressed wishes – legend says this was accompanied by bad weather, from which the popular British weather lore proverb comes, that if it rains on Saint Swithun's day, 15 July, it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights
973
Edgar introduces a new coinage – the royal portrait becomes a regular feature on coins
980
Vikings renew assault on England
987
Hugh Capet crowned King of France, first of the Capetian dynasty which ruled till the French Revolution
991
Aug 10: Battle of Maldon – English, led by Bryhtnoth, defeated by a band of raiding Vikings near Maldon, Essex – celebrated by a poem
1002
Nov 13: St Brice's Day massacre – King Aethelred (Ethelred II, the 'Unready') orders killing of all Danes in England
1003
Sveyn I (Sweyn, Swein) of Denmark devastates England: Ethelred pays him 24,000 pounds of silver to stop
1004
Vikings explore the North American coast
1006
Apr 30: The brightest supernova in recorded history appears in the constellation Lupus
1007
King Ethelred pays Sveyn another 36,000 pounds of silver
1010
London Bridge torn down by Vikings with grappling irons – (Olaf II Haraldsson, later St Olaf, took part) – possibly the origin of "London Bridge is falling Down"
1012
Apr 19: Murder by Danes of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Greenwich after refusing to be ransomed (canonised 1078 to St Alphege)
King Aethelred pays Sveyn another 48,000 pounds of silver; but next year Sveyn pushes him off the throne
1014
Brian Boru leads the Irish to victory over the Norse at Clontarf
1016
Canute (Knut, son of Sveyn) becomes king of Denmark, Norway and England (d. 1035)
1017
Canute divides England into four Earldoms: Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia
1018
Battle of Carham: Malcolm defeats the Northumbrians adding Lothian to Scotland
c1030
Guido of Arezzo introduces first practical form of musical notation, enabling melodies to be sung on sight
1034
Strathclyde annexed by King of Scots becomes part of Scottish Kingdom
1035
Death of Canute: the Danish empire splits up
1040
Aug 15: Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlαich) murders Duncan (Donnchad Mac Crνnαin) and takes the throne of Scotland (d. 1057)
Lady Godiva, wife of earl of Mercia, rides naked through Coventry as a protest against taxes – [Now why couldn't Shakespeare have written about that instead?]
1042
Edward the Confessor King of England (d. 1066)
First recorded use of moveable type, in China
1045–1050
Building of Westminster Abbey – consecrated 28 Dec 1065, only a week before Edward the Confessor's death and subsequent funeral (rebuilt 1245–1517)
1054
Jul: Supernova observed by Arabian and Chinese astronomers – becomes the Crab Nebula
The Great Schism, when Christianity divided into Western (Latin) and Eastern (Greek) branches
1066
Jan 6: Edward the Confessor dies – Harold II (Godwinson) reigned for 9 months
Sep 25: Battle of Stamford Bridge: Harold II defeats Norwegian invasion
Sep 28: Invasion of England by Duke William of Normandy
Oct 14: Battle of Hastings – Harold II dies
Dec 25: William crowned King of England at Westminster
1069
Northern earls and a Scandanavian army seize York – William replies with the 'Harrowing of the North' – "He made no effort to control his fury and he punished the innocent with the guilty. He ordered that crops and herds, tools and food should be burned to ashes. More than 100,000 people perished of hunger" [Orderic Vitalis]
King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland marries Margaret (later St Margaret)
1072
King Malcolm III of Scotland submitted to William the Conqueror
c1070
Reconstruction of Canterbury Cathedral begins: The Saxon cathedral burned in 1067. Lanfranc, first Norman Archbishop, restored and enlarged its buildings between 1067 and 1077. A new choir was consecrated in 1130 but burned in 1174, four years after Becket's murder. That was rebuilt by 1184, but the nave wasn't finished until 1405. [others say completed 1495]
1071
Norman conquest of England complete
1077
Possible completion of the Bayeux Tapestry
1079
Construction of Winchester Cathedral begins (consecrated in 1093 but not completed until 1404.)
1081
Building of Tower of London starts [others say 1067]
1086
Completion of Domesday Book
1092
May 9: Lincoln Cathedral consecrated
1095
Nov 27: Pope Urban II declares the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont
1096
First crusade begins (to 1099)
1098
Jun 3: Antioch falls to the Crusaders
Expedition of Magnus Barelegs to Scottish coasts
1099
Jun 7: Siege of Jerusalem begins by the Crusaders
12th & 13th centuries
Climate: A medieval warm period called the 'Little Optimum'
1100
Aug 2: William II found dead in the New Forest with an arrow through his lung
Aug 5: Henry I crowned in Westminster Abbey
c1100
First record of football in England
1102
Synod of Westminster under Anselm forbids clergy to marry
1106
Sep 28: Battle of Tinchebray – Henry I defeats his older brother Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy – England and Normandy remain under a single ruler until 1204
1110
Introduction in England of Pipe Rolls, recording exchequer payments
1119
Military order of the Knights Templar founded
1120
Nov 25: The White Ship sinks in the English Channel, drowning William Adelin, the only legitimate son of Henry I of England – his death caused a succession crisis, culminating in 'The Anarchy' or 'The Nineteen Year Winter' during the reign of Stephen (1135–1154)
1120s
First references in Scotland to Burghs and Sheriffs
1124
Apr 27: David I becomes King of Scotland
c1130
Great age of abbey building in England: Tintern (1131), Rievaulx (1131), Fountains (1132)
1135
Dec 1: Death of Henry I; Stephen seizes the throne of England amid a confusion of Matildas
1138
Aug 22: 'Battle of The Standard' near Northallerton – English forces repelled a Scottish army
1139
Portugal becomes independent from Spain
c1140
Transition from Romanesque to Gothic architecture in Europe (freeing walls from load-bearing functions, thus allowing larger windows); Linguistically, also regarded as the start of the Middle English period (until c.1500)
1141
Only year in which Matilda (or Maude, daughter of Henry I) was the undisputed ruler of England
1143
Jul 1: Battle of Wilton in Wiltshire
1144
Normandy comes under Angevin control under Geoffrey of Anjou
1145
Pope Eugene III calls for the Second Crusade (1147–49)
1148
Jul: Seige of Damascus by the Crusaders fails
1150
First recorded Mersey Ferry
1151
Sep 7: Geoffrey of Anjou dies, succeeded by his son Henry Plantagenet, aged 18
1152
May 18: Henry Plantagenet (to become King Henry II) marries Eleanor of Aquitaine
1153
May 27: Malcolm IV becomes King of Scotland
Treaty of Wallingford between Stephen and Matilda in which her son Henry Plantagenet would inherit the throne of England on Stephen's death
1154
Oct 25: Death of King Stephen; Henry II becomes King of England – he already has Normandy, Anjou and Aquitaine, and is now the most powerful man in Europe
Dec 4: Nicholas Breakspear (Adrian IV) becomes only English pope (b. circa 1100 at St Albans, d. 1 Sep 1159 at Anagni and buried in the Vatican)
Dec 19: Henry II crowned in Westminster Abbey
1155
Papal bull issued by Adrian IV, the only Englishman to serve as Pope, gives the King of England lordship over Ireland
1157
Jul: Henry II of England invades Wales and is defeated at the Battle of Ewloe by Owain Gwynedd
1158
A new coinage introduced by Henry II (known as the Tealby penny) was struck from 92.5% silver (Sterling)
1159
Sep 7: Cardinals given the right to elect the Pope (prior to this the pope was elected by the clergy and congregation of the church) – Pope Alexander III succeeds Pope Adrian IV as the 170th pope
1162
Jun 3: Thomas Becket consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury – Henry II thought he would be 'his' man, but things turned out differently (see 1174)
1163
Danegeld tax abolished
1165
Letter of Prester John started spreading throughout Europe
1166
Establishment of trial by jury
1170
Dec 29: Murder of Thomas à Becket in Canterbury Cathedral
1172
Pope decrees that Henry II of England is feudal lord of Ireland
1173
Apr: Revolt begins against Henry II by his wife and sons
1174
Jul 12: Henry II did penance for the death of Thomas à Becket, murdered by his knights 3 years previously and already canonised; the following day in a 'seeming act of divine providence', the last supporters of the revolt against him were surprised and captured at Alnwick
1175
Treaty of Falaise signed – William the Lion surrenders Scottish crown to King Henry II of England
1176
London Bridge construction in stone started (from tax on wool) – completed 1209, replaced 1831
Dec 25: First Eisteddfod, at Cardigan Castle
1178
The Leaning Tower of Pisa begins to lean as the third level is completed
1187
Oct: Saladin recaptures Jerusalem – served as the catalyst for the Third Crusade (1187–1192)
1188
The original Newgate Prison built in London
'Saladin Tithe' levied in England – exemption for those who joined the Crusade
1189
Jul 6: Henry II dies at the castle of Chinon in Anjou; Richard I 'Lionheart' becomes king of England (d. 1199) – acknowledges the independence of Scotland
Sep 1: Legal Memory dates from accession of Richard I – before that is 'Time Immemorial', see 1275
1190
Mar: Jews of York massacred (150 in number)
Opening of the Third Crusade
'Early English' Gothic period in English architecture (till about 1280)
1192
Dec 20: Richard I held for ransom on his way back from the Crusade by Leopold V of Austria
1199
Apr 6: Richard I dies having spent most of his reign abroad – succeeded by his brother John (to 1216)
1200
King John marries Isabella of Angouleme in Bordeaux Cathedral
1202
Pope Innocent III initiates the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204)
1204
Angers and Normandy are captured by Philip II of France
1207
Jul 15: King John expels Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop Stephen Langton
1208
Winchester Pipe Rolls begin – the financial accounts of the manors or estates belonging to the Bishopric of Winchester – written in medieval Latin until 1599, after that in English see example of translated contents
1212
Jul: One of the early 'great fires of London' – Chronicles of the Mayors & Sheriffs of London: "In this year was the Great Fire of Suthwerk; and it burned the Church of Saint Mary, as also the Bridge, with the Chapel there, and the greatest part of the City" ['Altogether it claimed 12,000 lives' Bill Bryson At Home]
1215
Jun 15: Magna Carta sealed at Runnymede by King John
Oct 28: First Lord Mayor's Show in London
Nov 11: Fourth Lateran Council defined the doctrine of transubstantiation
1217
Nov 6: 'Charter of the Forest' by Henry III established that all freemen owning land within the forest enjoyed the rights of agistment (grazing cattle) and pannage (grazing pigs)
Fifth Crusade (1217–1221)
1220
Start of building current York Minster: Archbishop Walter de Gray started its construction (with the transept) in 1220, working from the design of the Norman cathedral of 1070. Its towers were finally completed in 1472.
Salisbury Cathedral: started (replacing the Norman cathedral at Old Sarum) by Bishop Poore in 1220, consecrated in 1258, and its great spire finished in 1334
1222
Introduction of a poll tax in England
King Alexander II of Scotland conquers Argyll
1228
First recorded mention of the Royal Mint
Sixth Crusade (1228–1229)
1231
Cambridge University organised and granted Royal Charter
1235
Statute of Merton considered to be the first English statute authorised manorial lords to enclose portions of commons and wastes provided that sufficient pasture remained for his tenants
1237
Treaty of York signed by Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland – set the border between England and Scotland, which remains to this day except round Berwick
1247
Foundation of Bedlam (Bethlehem Hospital), London, by Simon Fitzmary
1248
Charter granted to Oxford University by Henry III
Aug 15: Foundation stone of Cologne cathedral laid – building not completed until 1880
Seventh Crusade (1248–1254)
c1250
Royal Proclamations by Henry III are first government documents issued in English
1256
Decreed in England that in leap years, the leap day and the day before are to be reckoned as one day for the purpose of calculating when a full year has passed
1258
'A strange time for weather globally' – incessant rains, terrible floods, severe cold and disasterous harvests that led to famine – now attributed to the eruption in the previous year of the volvano Samalas in what is now Indonesia.
1259
Dec 4: Treaty of Paris between Henry III and Louis IX of France – Henry agreed to renounce control of Normandy (except for the Channel Islands), Maine, Anjou and Poitou, which had been lost under the reign of King John. He was able to keep Gascony and parts of Aquitaine but only as a vassal to Louis. In exchange, Louis withdrew his support for English rebels. Said to be one of the indirect causes of the Hundred Years War
1260
Chartres cathedral dedicated
1263
Oct 2: Battle of Largs, Ayrshire – King Alexander III said to have defeated Norwegian invaders under King Haakon IV
1264
First recorded reference to Justice of the Peace in England (but see 1285)
May 12-14: Battle of Lewes: Henry III captured by Simon de Montfort
1265
Jan 20: First elected English parliament (De Montfort's Parliament) conducts its first meeting, in the Palace of Westminster
Aug 4: Battle of Evesham: Simon de Montfort killed (death of chivalry? – but this also claimed for Crécy, see 1346)
1266
Western Isles acquired by Scotland
1270
Eighth Crusade (1270)
1271
Ninth (and last) crusade (1271–72)
1272
Nov 20: Edward I (who was away on the Crusade) declared king of England following the death of his father Henry III on Nov 16
1274
Aug 19: Edward I crowned on his return from the Crusades
1275
Apr 22: First Statute of Westminster passed by the English parliament – fixed the reign of Richard I as the time limit for bringing certain types of action – see 'Time Immemorial' 1189 (others say there was also the concept of 'before the memory of man' being 113 years)
Scottish rule established on the Isle of Man
1277
Edward I embarks on the conquest of Wales
1279
A major re-coinage introduced new denominations. In addition to the penny, the halfpenny and farthing were minted, and also a fourpenny piece called a 'groat' (from the French 'gross')
1280
'Decorated' Gothic period in English architecture (till about 1370)
Climate: 1280–1311 peak of the medieval warm period
1282
Dec 10: Llewellyn, last native Prince of Wales, killed
1283
Annexation of Wales to England by Edward I – Statute of Rhuddlan, 3 March 1284, created early counties in Wales (see 1536)
1285
Statute of Winchester and Second Statute of Westminster – first Justices of the Peace installed in England? (but some say they derive from 1361, in the reign of Edward III) – among other things, authorised manorial lords to enclose commons and wastes where the common rights belonged to tenants from other manors
1290
Oct: Death of the 'maid of Norway,' heiress to the Scottish crown – led to the Wars of Scottish Independence 1296–1328
Jul 18: Jews expelled from England by Edward I
Dec: Death of Queen Eleanor, wife of Edward I – he had 12 'Eleanor crosses' erected between Lincolnshire (where she died) and London (where she was buried in Westminster Abbey)
Statute of 'Quia Emptores' – prevented tenants from leasing their lands to others and allowed the sale of freehold
Spectacles introduced in Italy
1291-2
Competition for the Scottish Crown between some eleven "Competitors" (including John Baliol, John Comyn and Robert Bruce the elder) all claiming the right to succeed
1292
Nov 17: King Edward I awards Scottish crown to John Baliol ('Toom Tabard', or 'empty coat')
1295
Oct 23: Signing of the "Auld Alliance" in Paris between Scotland and France – one of the world's oldest mutual defence treaties
1296
Annexation of Scotland by England – Scotland's Coronation Stone the "Stone of Destiny" or "Stone of Scone" was removed to Westminster Abbey by the English King Edward I, temporarily 'returned' to Scotland in 1950, and permanently returned in 1996
Mar 30: Berwick-upon-Tweed sacked by Edward I
Apr 27: Battle of Dunbar: Scots defeated
Jul 10: John Baliol dethroned by Edward I
Beginning of uprising led by William Wallace (the Guardian of Scotland)
1297
Sep 11: Battle of Stirling Bridge, defeat of English Army
1298
Jul 22: Battle of Falkirk, Edward I defeats William Wallace – early use of the long bow by the English
c1300
Earliest western reference to manufacture of gunpowder
1301
Feb 7: Son of Edward I created first Prince of Wales
1305
Trial of William Wallace in London, execution at Smithfield
1306
Mar 25: Robert the Bruce crowned King Robert I of Scots
Jun 19: Battle of Methven – a 'fortunate defeat' for Bruce
1307
Jul 7: Edward I dies – succeeded by his son, Edward II
Nov 18: According to legend, William Tell shoots an apple off of his son's head
1311
Ordinances laid on Edward II by the peerage and clergy of England to restrict his power – twenty-one signatories referred to as the Ordainers – Thomas of Lancaster their leader was executed in 1322
1312
Knights Templars suppressed in France
1313–1321
Climate: Sequence of cold and wet summers – harvests ruined
1314
Jun 24: Battle of Bannockburn – Scots under Robert the Bruce routed the English led by Edward II – resulted in Scottish independence
Edward II banned football in London (possibly to encourage people to practice their archery instead)
Great European famine – population of Britain had peaked at around 5 million before declining
c1320
Invention of escapement clocks, and first practical guns
1320
Declaration of Arbroath; a statement of Scottish independence
1326
First Scottish Parliament (at Cambuskenneth)
1327
Deposition and regicide of King Edward II of England (in an apparently unfortunate manner): Edward III rules for 50 years till 1377
1328
Jan 24: Edward III marries Philippa of Hainault
May 1: Treaty of Northampton, formalised peace between England and Scotland
1329
Jun 7: Death of Robert the Bruce; succeeded by infant David II of Scots
1332
Climatic catastrophe in eastern Asia – 7 million people drowned – black rats driven west (one theory says that this caused the Black Death in Europe – but see note 1349)
1338
Edward III asserts his claim to the French throne – 'Hundred Years War' begins (to 1453)
1340
Jun 24: Edward III personally commands the English fleet in their victory over the French off Sluys (who were trying to blockade English export of wool to Flanders)
1346
Aug 26: Battle of Crecy (Crécy) – military supremacy of the English longbow established, and that of 'peasant' archers over knights on horseback
Oct 17: Battle of Neville's Cross; English capture King David II (held until 1357)
1348
Jun 24: Order of the Garter founded by King Edward III of England – motto 'Honi soit qui mal y pense'
1349
Black Death ('The Pestilence') reaches England (entered Europe in 1346/7; lasted until 1351) – this was the first return of plague to Europe for almost 400 years, but it reappeared more than once during the next three centuries – some estimate that where it struck, up to a quarter of the population perished – theories that it was spread by rat fleas have been questioned, as it seems to have travelled too fast for that to have been the agent, and a bacterial disease possibly from Africa is now suspected – for an example of effect of the Black Death on architecture, see Winchester Cathedral
1350
Black Death first appears in Scotland
Aug 29: Battle of Winchelsea – English naval fleet under King Edward III defeats a Castilian fleet of 40 ships
1351
Statute of Labourers – attempt to regulate wages and prices at 1340 levels following labour shortages caused by the Black Death – it set a precedent that distinguished between labourers who were "able in body" to work and those who could not work for other reasons
1352
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge founded
1353
Giovanni Boccaccio The Decameron
1355
Feb 10: St Scholastica's Day riot, Oxford – armed clashes between locals and students (Town versus Gown)
1356
Sep 19: Battle of Poitiers: Black Prince (son of Edward III) captures the French king, John II (the Good)
1357
Oct: King David II of Scotland released by the English in return for a ransom
1360
May 8: Treaty of Brιtigny marked the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) – ratified on Oct 24 at Calais – by this treaty Edward III and John II (still in captivity, though with many privileges) make peace, but it only lasted for 9 years
The French franc introduced by John II
1361
Edward, the Black Prince, marries his cousin Joan, the 'Fair Maid of Kent'
Edward III created the office of Justice of the Peace in every county in England – to meet four times a year in Quarter Sessions
Second severe outbreak of of the Black Death
1362
English becomes official language in English Parliament and Law Courts
Quarter Sessions established by statute
William Langland Vision of Piers Ploughman
1364
Charles V (the Wise) becomes King of France
1366
Statues of Kilkenny belatedly forbid intermarriage of English and Irish – Gaelic culture unsuccessfully suppressed
1369
Hundred Years War restarts
1370
'Perpendicular' Gothic period in English architecture (till about 1550) – great East Window in Gloucester first example
1371
Feb: Accession of Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scots
1372
Naval battle off La Rochelle: Castilians defeat the English fleet – tide begins to turn against the English in Aquitaine
1375
Truce in the Hundred Years War – England lost most of her possessions in France
1377
Edward III dies, age 65: Richard II rules till deposed in 1399
May 22: Pope Gregory XI issues five papal bulls to denounce the doctrines of John Wycliffe
1378
Start of the Papal Schism (until 1417) when three men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope
1381
Jun 15: Wat Tyler killed at Smithfield, London, during Peasants' Revolt in protest against poll tax of 1380
1382
First translation of the Bible into English, by John Wycliffe
Winchester College founded by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester
May 21: Great earthquake in Kent [? can't find confirmation of this one] – see 1580
1383
Regular series of wills starts in Prerogative Court of Canterbury
1386
Treaty of Windsor between Britain and Portugal – "The British have an alliance with Portugal unbroken since the year 1384, and which produced fruitful results at a critical moment in the recent war." Iron Curtain Speech by Winston Churchill, 1946
1387
Chaucer (d. 1400) begins writing The Canterbury Tales
1388
Aug 5: Battle of Otterburn, Northumberland (Chevy Chase)
1389
June 15: Battle of Kosovo; The Ottoman Empire defeats Serbs and Bosnians
1392
Wells Cathedral clock
1397
Apr: Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II
Dick Whittington (d. 1423) first becomes Lord Mayor of London
1399
Sep: Deposition of King Richard II; Henry IV establishes Lancastrian dynasty
1400
Oct 25: Geoffrey Chaucer dies in London
Sep 16: Owen Glendower declared Prince of Wales – start of rebellion of against Henry IV
Average life expectancy had dropped to 38 years (had been 48 years in 1300)
c.1400
This is the date at which the 'great vowel shift' (shortening of vowel sounds) in the English language is regarded as starting
1403
Jul 21: Battle of Shrewsbury: Henry IV defeats rebels
1405
Jun 8: Execution of Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk for insurrection against Henry IV
1412
Foundation of the University of St Andrews
1413
Mar 21: Henry V to the throne
1415
Oct 25 (St Crispin's Day): Battle of Agincourt
1417
Jun 24: First recorded meeting of theTynwald in the Isle of Man
Jul 27: Antipope Benedict XIII deposed, bringing to an end the Great Western Schism
Aug 12: Henry V starts using English (rather than French) in his correspondence
1419
Jan 19: Rouen surrenders to Henry V of England
1420
Dec 1: Henry V of England enters Paris
1422
Infant Henry VI (9 months old) on throne of England
1424
Winter: Much of Alnwick burnt by a Scottish raiding party (and again in later years)
1429
Feb 12: Battle of the Herrings just north of Orleans
1431
May 30: Death of Joan of Arc
Dec 16: Henry VI of England crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris
1432–1438
Climate: Britain snowbound for 6 of these 7 winters
1432
University of Caen founded by John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford
1435
Sep 21: Treaty of Arras between Charles VII of France and Philip III of Burgundy ends the English-Burgundy alliance
1437
Assassination of King James I of Scots at Perth
1440
Eton College founded by Henry VI
1450
May 8: Jack Cade's Rebellion: Kentishmen revolt against Henry VI
1451
University of Glasgow founded
1453
End of Hundred Years' War (Battle of Castillon, Jul 17)
1455
Feb 23: Johannes Gutenberg starts printing the bible, using movable type [some say 1450, 1453 or 1454]
May 22: Battle of St Albans, first in Wars of the Roses (1455–87); Richard, Duke of York, defeats and captures Henry VI
Fall of the Black Douglases in Scotland
1456
Aug 24: Printing of Gutenberg Bible completed [some say 1454 or 1455]
1457
First recorded mention of golf in Scotland
1460
Aug 3: King James II of Scots killed by an exploding cannon at Kelso
1461
Mar 29 (Palm Sunday): Battle of Towton – probably the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil: Henry VI flees to Scotland; Edward, Duke of York, crowned as Edward IV on 1st Aug – see website
1465
Irish living near English settlements made to take English surnames
1468/69
Orkney and Shetland Islands acquired from Norway by Scotland (but Wikepedia says 20th Feb 1472)
1470
Oct 30: Henry VI (Lancastrian) restored to the throne
1471
Apr 14: Yorkists defeat the Lancastrians at Barnet; Edward IV resumes the throne
May 4: Battle of Tewkesbury – Edward IV defeats a Lancastrian Army and kills Edward, Prince of Wales
May 21: Henry VI murdered in the Tower of London
1472
St Andrews made a bishopric
1475
Aug 29: Treaty of Picquigny ends a brief war between France and England
1476
Caxton sets up a printing press in Westminster
1477
Edward IV bans cricket
1478
Feb 18: George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence executed in the Tower of London, by drowning in a butt of Malmsey wine?
1480
Spanish Inquisition begins (did nobody really expect it?)
1483
Murder of the princes (Edward V and his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury) in the Tower; their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester becomes king (Richard III)
1484
Introduction of bail for defendants in legal courts
English first used for parliamentary statutes
1485
Aug 22: Battle of Bosworth Field; Richard III killed (see 2012) – end of the War of the Roses and beginning of the Tudor dynasty (Henry VII)
Formation of the Yeomen of the Guard
1486
Jan 18: Henry VII marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and sister of Edward V
Boke of St Albans printed – includes collective nouns for animals and people
1487
May 24: Imposter Lambert Simnel crowned as "King Edward VI" at Dublin
Jun 16: Battle of Stoke Field – Henry VII's final victory in War of the Roses
1489
A pound coin (the 'sovereign') minted for the first time. A shilling coin was minted for the first time a few years later
1492
Nov 9: Peace of Etaples between Henry VII and Charles VIII of France – improvement in relations continued until the end of Henry's reign
Dec 5: Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola (West Indies)
Papermaking introduced to Britain – John Tate opens a paper mill at Stevenage soon after this
Moors driven from Grenada
1494
June 7: Treaty of Tordesillas – Spain and Portugal divide the world between them (along the great diameter 51°W and 129°E longditude) – see 1529
1495
Foundation of the University of Aberdeen (as King's College)
1497
Jun 17: Battle of Deptford Bridge – end of the Cornish rebellion against Henry VII
Jul 8: Vasco da Gama sets sail on first direct European voyage to India.
Parish registers instituted in Spain by Cardinal Ximenes
Cabot reaches North America
1499
Nov 16: Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the throne, executed
1503
May 28: Marriage of King James IV of Scots and Margaret Tudor
1503-5
Leonardo da Vinci paints Mona Lisa
1505-6
Royal College of Surgeons founded in Edinburgh
1506
Jan 22: First contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrives at the Vatican
1507
First printing press in Scotland set up in Edinburgh by Andrew Myllar
Apr: Suggestion put forward that the New World be named America in honour of Amerigo Vespucci (on Martin Waldseemόller's world map)
1509
Naturalisation papers start in England
Apr 22: Henry VIII becomes king of England (to 1547) at 17 years old
Jun 11: Henry VIII marries Catherine of Aragon
1512
Admiralty founded in London
The "Auld Alliance" treaty with France – all Scottish citizens became French and vice versa
Nov 1: Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, exhibited to the public for the first time
1513
Aug 16: Battle of the Spurs – English troops under Henry VIII defeat a French force at Guinegate
Sep 9: Battle of Flodden, defeat of Scottish Army – death of King James IV of Scots
Machiavelli writes The Prince
1514
Recording of Testaments (wills) begins in Scotland
1515
Nov 15: Thomas Wolsley invested as Cardinal
1516
Thomas More writes Utopia
1517
Oct 31: Martin Luther fixes his 95 theses on church door at Wittenburg – regarded as start of the Reformation
1518
Treaty of London, a non-aggression pact between the major European nations: France, England, Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy, Spain, Burgundy and the Netherlands – sponsored by Cardinal Wolsey
1520
Cortes conquers Mexico
Nov: Three ships under the command of Ferdinand Magellan negotiate the Strait of Magellan, becoming the first Europeans to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific
1521
Apr 17: Martin Luther speaks to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings
May 17: Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, executed for treason
May 25: Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw
1522
Sep 6: The Victoria, one of the surviving ships of Ferdinand Magellan's expedition, becomes the first ship known to circumnavigate the world
1525
New Testament translated into English by William Tyndale
1527
Bishop Vesey's Grammar School founded in Sutton Coldfield
1528
St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle completed
1529
Apr 22: Treaty of Zaragoza specified the anti-meridian of the Treaty of Tordesillas (see 1494) which stated that everything west of 46° 37' was given to Spain whereas everything east of 46° 37' was given to Portugal
Diet of Speyer: origin of the word Protestant
1531
Feb 11: Henry VIII recognised as Supreme Head of the Church of England
1532
Foundation of the Court of Session in Scotland
1533
Jan 25: Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn secretly, wife #2 (she was crowned as Queen on 1st June)
Mar 30: Thomas Cranmer becomes Archbishop of Canterbury
May 23: Henry VIII's marriage with Catherine of Aragon officially declared annulled
Jul 11: Henry VIII excommunicated by Pope Clement VII
Sep 17: Anne Boleyn gives birth to a daughter Elizabeth, to become Queen Elizabeth I
1534
Reformation of the Catholic Church in England church (Henry VIII)
1535
Sir Thomas More executed
1536
Dissolution of monasteries starts in England (to 1540)
Wales and England legally united by the Laws in Wales Act of 1535 – further Welsh counties established (see 1284)
May 19: Anne Boleyn executed
May 30: Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour, wife #3 (she was crowned as Queen on 29th October)
Jul 18: The authority of the Pope is declared void in England
1537
Oct 24: Jane Seymour dies from complications in giving birth to a son, the future Edward VI
1538
English and Welsh parish registers start
Henry VIII issues English Bible
Dec 17: Henry VIII excommunicated by Pope Paul III
1540
Statute of Wills allows freehold land to be bequeathed
Jan 6: Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves, the 'Flanders Mare', wife #4
Feb 9: First recorded horse racing event in Britain, at Chester
Jul 9: Henry VIII divorces Anne of Cleves
Jul 28: Thomas Cromwell executed; Henry VIII marries Catherine Howard the same day, wife #5
1541
Henry VIII proclaimed king (rather than feudal lord) of Ireland
1542
Feb 13: Catherine Howard executed
Nov 24: The Rout of Solway Moss
Dec 14: Death of King James V of Scots; his baby daughter Mary "Queen of Scots" succeeds him, just 6 days old
1543
Jul 12: Henry VIII marries Catherine Parr, wife #6, who survives him
Sep 9: Mary Stuart, at nine months old, is officially crowned "Queen of Scots" in Stirling (spelling of the royal house changes from Stewart to Stuart)
1544-5
Mary of Guise, Regent of Scotland
Henry's VIII's "Rough Wooing" of the Scottish Borders
1545
Jul 20: Mary Rose, flagship of Henry VIII, sinks in the Solent – raised in 1982
Dec 13: Start of the Council of Trent (Trento, Italy) – convened by the Catholic Church three times, ending 4 Dec 1563, as a response to the Protestant Reformation
1546
Trinity College, Cambridge founded by Henry VIII
1547
Jan 16: Ivan the Terrible crowned Tsar of Russia at age 16
Jan 28: Death of Henry VIII (succeeded by Edward VI, aged 9, to 1553)
Feb 20: Coronation of Edward VI in Westminster Abbey
English replaced Latin in church services in England and Wales
Sep 10: Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, said to be the first 'modern' battle to be fought in the British Isles
The injunction to keep parish registers is reiterated
Vagrants Act passed (able-bodied tramps can be detained as slaves)
1548
Priests in England allowed to marry (about a third then did so) – but see 1554
1549
Jun 9: First Book of Common Prayer sanctioned by English Parliament
Wedding ring finger changed from right to left hand
First Act of Uniformity in England made Catholic Mass illegal
English Parliament declares enclosures legal
1550–1700
Climate: Referred to as the 'Little Ice Age' – severe gales became more frequent
1550
Walloon Protestants arrive as refugees from the Low Countries
1551
Scotland: General Provincial Council orders each parish to keep a register of baptisms and banns of marriage
1552
Mar: An 'Act of Uniformity' imposes the Protestant prayerbook of 1552 in England
1553
Jul 6: Edward VI dies; Lady Jane Grey queen for a few days only
Jul 19: Mary Tudor ('Bloody Mary') comes to the throne
1554-1558
Brief Catholic restoration under Queen Mary Tudor – married priests forced to separate at least 30 miles from their wives
1554
Feb 12: Lady Jane Grey beheaded
1555
Michel Nostradamus publishes his prophecies
1556
Mar 21: Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer burned at the stake in Oxford
1557
Dec: The First Covenant signed in Scotland (foundation of the Presbyterian Church)
Index librorum prohibitum (index of prohibited books) instituted by the Vatican – repealed in 1966
1558
Scottish parish registers start
Chancery Proceedings Indexes begin
Jan 7: French take Calais, last English possession in France
Apr 24: Marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots to Franηois the Dauphin of France in Paris
Nov 17: Queen Mary Tudor of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth – Protestantism restored in England
1558-1603
Policy of Plantation begins
System of Counties adopted
1559
Jan 15: Elizabeth crowned in Westminster Abbey by Owen Oglethorpe, the Bishop of Carlisle
Apr 29: Acts of Supremacy passed in Parliament, ending papal jurisdiction over England & Wales; established Church of England
John Knox returns from Continent – strengthens case for Presbyterianism in Scotland
Tobacco introduced to Europe
1560
Feb 27: Treaty of Berwick between Duc du Chatelherault (as governor of Scotland) and the English, agreeing to act jointly to expel the French from Scotland
Establishment of Protestantism in Scotland – commissary courts thrown into confusion – some records lost
1561
Spire of St Paul's, highest in England, destroyed by fire
The first coins produced by machinery (known as a 'mill') rather than by hand, but it was a slow process and did not replace hand struck coinage until new machinery was introduced in 1663
1562
Mar 1: Over 1,000 Huguenots massacred in Wassy-sur-Blaise – start of the First War of Religion in France (and see 1572)
Earliest English slave-trading expedition, under John Hawkins – between Guinea and the West Indies
1563
Jul 28: The English surrender Le Havre to the French after a siege
Papal recusants heavily fined for non-attendance at Church
The Test Act excludes Roman Catholics from governmental office
1564
Apr 26: Shakespeare baptised – he is said to have been born on Apr 23, St George's Day; he certainly died on Apr 23, 1616
1565
Jul 29: Marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, her first cousin
1566
Mar 9: Murder of David Riccio (or Rizzio) in Holyrood House
1567
Feb 10: Murder of Darnley outside Holyrood House in an explosion
May 15: Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell
Jul 24: Mary Queen of Scots deposed and replaced by her 1 year old son James VI
Earliest date in the French Protestant and Walloon registers
1568
May 13: Battle of Langside – Mary's flight to England and her imprisonment by Queen Elizabeth I
1569
Elizabeth I approved Sunday sports
Gerardus Mercator produced his world map (Mercator Projection) to aid sailors in their navigation
1570
Feb 25: Pope Pius V issued the papal bull 'Regnans in Excelsis' to excommunicate Elizabeth I and her followers in the Church of England
1571
Beginning of penal legislation against Catholics in England
Jan 23: Opening of the Royal Exchange in London, founded by Sir Thomas Gresham – this building destroyed in Great Fire of London 1666
Repeal of Act prohibiting lending of money on interest – gradual change from 'subsistence economy' to 'cash economy' resulted
1571-1572
Presbyterianism introduced into England by Thomas Cartwright
1572
Aug: Slaughter of Huguenots in Paris (massacre of St Bartholomew, started 24 Aug)
Nov: Tycho's Supernova observed in the constellation Cassiopeia, one of about eight supernovae visible to the naked eye in historical records.
1574
Colonial State Papers published – continued to 1738
1577
James Burbage opens first theatre in London
1579
Act of Uniformity in matters of religion enforced
1580
Apr 6: The 'Easter earthquake' or Dover Straits earthquake, largest in the recorded history of England, mentioned by Shakespeare [Nurse: "’Tis since the earthquake now eleven years…” (Romeo and Juliet, I.iii, line 22)] – dozens of ships sunk and a tsunami hit Calais; several London churches also damaged
Colonisation of Ireland
Congregational movement founded by Robert Browne about this time
1581
Jan 16: English Parliament outlaws Roman Catholicism
Apr 4: Francis Drake knighted by Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind after circumnavigating the world (see 1967)
English Levant Company founded
1582
Gregorian calendar introduced to replace Julian calendar in some countries: Spain and Portugal, France, Low Countries, part of Italy, Denmark. Pope Gregory suppressed 10 days by altering 5 Oct to 15 Oct, thus making the Spring equinox fall on 21 March 1583. Dates relating to the Julian calendar were then referred to as 'Old Style', and those relating to the Gregorian calendar as 'New Style'. See 1600 and 1751 for its adoption in Britain.
Nov 28: In Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage licence
1583
Aug: Sir Humphrey Gilbert attempts to establish English authority at St John's, Newfoundland
Foundation of Cambridge University Press by Thomas Thomas
University of Edinburgh founded
1584
Jun 4: Sir Walter Raleigh establishes first English colony in the New World, on Roanoke Island, Virginia (now in North Carolina) – the so-called 'Lost Colony' [but see 1583].
1585
Foundation of Oxford University Press
Shakespeare started seriously to write about this time
1586
Camden Britannia, first topographical survey of England
1587
Feb 8: Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, at Fotheringay Castle, near Peterborough
Apr 19: Sir Francis Drake sinks the Spanish fleet in Cadiz harbour
Aug 11: Raleigh's second expedition to New World lands in North Carolina – first child born in the New World of English parents was Virginia Dare (Aug 18)
Introduction of potatoes to England
1588
Jul 19: Spanish Armada sighted off the Lizard (had set sail from Lisbon in late May)
Jul 29: Defeat of Spanish Armada off Gravelines
Invention of shorthand by Dr Timothy Bright
1591
Trinity College, Dublin, founded
1592
A Congregational (or Independent) Church formed in London
Scotland: Presbyterian Church formally established – all ministers equal – no bishops – secular commissaries appointed by the Crown
1593
British statute mile established by law
1594–1603
Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, leads Irish rebellion against English rule
1597
Poor Law Act for erection of parish workhouses for the Poor – Poor Rate collection allowed
1598
Bishop's transcripts of English and Welsh parish registers start – parish records were to be kept in 'great decent books of parchment' and copies or 'Bishop's Transcripts' of new entries were to be sent each month to the diocesan centre
Edict of Nantes gives Huguenots toleration in France (but see 1685)
1600
The early 1600s often known as the period of the 'Rebuilding of England'
Memoirs of Officers of the Royal Navy begin
Jan 1: Scotland adopts New Year beginning 1st January (previously 25th March) - see 1752
Dec 31: British East India Company founded
1601
Great English Poor Law Act passed
First use of fruit juice as a preventative for scurvy by James Lancaster
1602
Mar 20: Dutch East India Company founded
Nov 8: Bodleian Library at Oxford University opened to the public
1603
Mar 24: Death of Elizabeth I: union of Scottish and English crowns – under King James VI of Scots and I of England (d. 1625)
Jul 25: Coronation – James VI of Scotland is crowned first king of Great Britain
1604
Robert Cawdrey A Table Alphabeticall – first English dictionary
Nov 1: Shakespeare: Othello first presented
James I repealed all of England's sumptuary restrictions
1605
Nov 5: Gunpowder plot at Westminster (Guy Fawkes, etc)
1606
Jan 31: Guy Fawkes and co-conspirators executed
Apr 12: Adoption of Union Flag as the flag of "Great Britain" (the term Union Jack is used officially only when the Union Flag is flown from the Jack Mast of a Royal Naval vessel)
The London Company chartered to colonise Virginia: the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery leave England on 19th De
c taking 144 days to reach America
Episcopacy established in Scotland (against wishes of the Scots)
1607
May 14: Jamestown, Virginia settled – to become the first permanent British colony in North America
Sep: Flight of the Earls from Ireland – leading Ulster families go into exile
1608
First use of telescope by Galileo – he observed the moons of Jupiter two years later in Jan 1610
1610
James VI & I established the Episcopal Church in Scotland – Prebyterians persecuted and many of their records lost
1611
Plantation of Ulster with English and Scottish colonists
Authorised (King James) Version of Bible in Britain
May 22: James VI & I created the title of baronet
Nov 1: Shakespeare: The Tempest first presented
1613
Jun 29: The Globe Theatre in London burns during a performance of Henry the Eighth (finally pulled down in 1644)
A copper farthing was produced, as a silver coin would be too small
1616
Saturday Apr 23 (Gregorian calendar): Death of Miguel de Cervantes (of Don Quixote fame) in Madrid
Tuesday Apr 23 (Julian calendar): Death of Shakespeare
Ben Jonson becomes first Poet Laureate
1617
Register of Sasines (land leases) established in Scotland – record of the transfer of land and property
1618
Sir Walter Raleigh beheaded for allegedly conspiring against James I
1619
Dec 4 (Nov 24 old style): Colonists from Berkeley Parish in England disembark in Virginia and give thanks to God (considered by many to be the first Thanksgiving in the Americas)
1620
Dec 21 (Dec 16 old style): The Mayflower reaches America – founds Plymouth, New England (had initially set sail from Southampton on Aug 5)
Manufacture of coke (the fuel, not the drink!) patented by Dud Dudley
1621
Chimneys to be made of brick and to be four and a half feet above the roof
Shakespeare's First Folio published
1622
First English newspaper appeared Weekly News
1624
Monopoly Act in England: patents protected
Edmund Gunter introduces the surveyor's chain (measurement of length)
1625
The size of bricks standardised in England around this time
Mar 27: Death of King James VI & I
1625-1649
Carolean Age
1628
Mar 1: Writs issued by Charles I that every county in England (not just seaport towns) pay ship tax by this date
1629
Mar 10: Parliament dissolved by King Charles I – did not meet for another 11 years
1630-1750
Baroque Period (Art & Antiques)
1630-1750
Renaissance Period (Art & Antiques)
1633
Jun: Galileo summoned by Inquisition for publishing in favour of Copernican theory
1635
Letter Office of England & Scotland started
Flintlock small arms invented around this time (replaces matchlock)
L'Academie Française founded in France by Richelieu
1636
Hackney Carriages in use by now in London
1637
Scottish Prayer Book published
'Tulipomania' in Holland, leads to classic market collapse
1638
Charles regarded protests against the prayerbook as treason – forced Scots to choose between their church and the King – a "Covenant", swearing to resist these changes to the death, was signed in Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh and was accepted by hundreds of thousands of Scots (revival of Presbyterian Church)
1639
Act of Toleration in England established religious toleration
Dec 4 (Nov 24 old style): Jeremiah Horrocks makes the first observation of a transit of Venus
1640
Nov 3: Charles I forced to recall Parliament (the 'Long Parliament') due to Scottish invasion
1641
Charles I's policies cause insurrection in Ulster and Civil War in England
Oct 23: 50,000 Irish killed in an uprising in Ulster
Charles I and the English Parliament acknowledge the Prebyterian Church in Scotland
1642
The Civil War interrupted the keeping of parish registers
English theatres closed by Puritans (till 1660)
Aug 22: Charles I raises his standard at Nottingham – First Civil War in England (to 1649) – first engagement at Edgehill (23 Oct) – Scottish Covenanters side with the English rebels who take power – the Earl of Montrose sided with King Charles, strife spilled into Scotland
Nov 13: Battle of Turnham Green – Royalist forces withdraw in face of the Parliamentarian army and fail to take London
Nov 24: Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania)
Dec 18: Abel Janszoon Tasman first European to set foot in New Zealand
1643
Dec 13: Battle of Alton – victory for Parliamentarians – Sir Richard Bolle killed in St Lawrence's church
Solemn League and Covenant signed in Scotland
1644
Jun 29: Battle of Cropredy Bridge – Royalists beat the Parliamentarian forces
Jul 2: Battle of Marston Moor, near York – Parliamentarian forces beat the Royalists
Earliest Independent (Congregational) registers
Earliest Presbyterian registers
1644-5
Montrose's Venture (Montrose executed in 1650)
1645
Jun 14: Battle of Naseby: Parliament's New Model Army crushes the Royalist forces
Battle of Philiphaugh in Scotland
Inquisitions Post Mortem end
Scotland: Each county and burgh ordered to raise and maintain a number of foot soldiers, according to population, to serve as militia – population of Scotland estimated at 420,000
Plague made its last appearance in Scotland
1646
May 5: Charles I surrenders to the Scottish Army at Newark
Jun 20: Royalists sign articles of surrender at Oxford
1647
Earliest Baptist registers survive from this year
1648
 
Jan 30: Treaty of Mόnster and Osnabrόck signed, ending the Eighty Years' War between the Netherlands and Spain
Society of Friends (Quakers) founded by George Fox
First practical thermometers made
1649
Jan 6: 'Rump' Parliament votes to put Charles I on trial
Jan 30: King Charles I executed (see 1660 for Regicides)
May 19: Commonwealth declared
Dec 20: Theatres banned by Cromwell
Christmas banned by Cromwell
Cromwell's Irish campaign starts
King Charles II proclaimed King of Scots and England in Scotland
1649-1660
Commonwealth Period – Oliver Cromwell
1650
Term 'Quaker' first used for Society of Friends
Coffee brought to England about this time
1651-1652
The second English Civil War
Sep 3: Battle of Worcester – see Oak-apple Day 1664
Scottish prisoners transported to the British settlements in America
1653
Commonwealth registers start
Apr 20: Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament
Dec 16: Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
Under the Act of Settlement Cromwell's opponents stripped of land (in Ireland?)
Isaak Walton The Compleat Angler
1653-1660
Provincial probate courts abolished – probates granted only in London
1656
May 30: Formation of the Grenadier Guards, the most senior regiment of the Infantry in the British Army
1657
Post Office established by Act of Parliament [others say 1660]
A few Jews permitted to settle in England
1658
Sep 3: Death of Oliver Cromwell
Huygens pendulum clock
1658-1660
Richard Cromwell (son of Oliver) Lord Protector
1659
Feb 6: date of first known cheque to be drawn (some say 16th Feb)
Start of national meteorological Temperature records in the UK
1660s
Quaker-Scottish colony was established in East New Jersey
1660–
Restoration Period
1660
Jan 1: Samuel Pepys starts his diary
May 29: Restoration of British monarchy (Charles II) – 'Oak Apple Day' – theatres reopened
Commonwealth registers ended, Parish Registers resumed
Provincial Probate Courts re-established
Oct 17: Ten Regicides are executed at Charing Cross or Tyburn: Thomas Harrison, John Jones, Adrian Scrope, John Carew, Thomas Scot and Gregory Clement, who had signed the death warrant; the preacher Hugh Peters; Francis Hacker and Daniel Axter, who commanded the soldiers at the trial and the execution of the king; and John Cook the solicitor who directed the prosecution [Encyclopedia Britannica]
Nov 28: Twelve men, including Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Wilkins, and Sir Robert Moray decide to found what is later known as the Royal Society
Dec 8: First actress plays in London (Margaret Hughes as Desdemona)
Clarendon code restricts Puritans' religious freedom
Composition of light discovered by Newton
Honourable East India Company founded by British
First British in Japan
Scotland adopts Gregorian calendar
1661
Jan 30: Oliver Cromwell ritually 'executed', having been dead for over two years!
Persecution of Non-conformists in England
Restoration of Episcopacy in Scotland
Board of Trade founded in London
Hand-struck postage stamps first used
Corporation Act prevents non-Anglicans from holding municipal office
1662
Hearth Tax – until 1689 (1690 in Scotland)
Poor Relief Act or "Act of Settlement" – gave JPs the power to return any wandering poor to the parish of origin (repealed 1834)
Aug 24: Act of Uniformity – Acceptance of Book of Common Prayer required – About 2,000 vicars and rectors driven from their parishes as nonconformists (Presbyterians and Independents) – Persecution of all non-conformists – Presbyterianism dis-established – Episcopalian Church of England restored
Tea introduced to Britain
The year in which highest number (402) of people were accused of witchcraft in Scotland – see details
1663
Earliest Roman Catholic registers
1664
May 29: Oak Apple Day – the birthday of Charles II and the day when he entered London at the Restoration; commanded by Act of Parliament in 1664 to be observed as a day of thanksgiving. A special service (expunged in 1859) was inserted in the Book of Common Prayer and people wore sprigs of oak with gilded oak-apples on that day. It commemorates Charles II's concealment with Major Careless in the 'Royal Oak' at Boscobel, near Shifnal, Shropshire, after his defeat at Worcester on 3 Sept 1651.
Aug 27: Nieuw Amsterdam becomes New York as 300 English soldiers under Col. Mathias Nicolls take the town from the Dutch under orders from Charles II. The town is renamed after the King's brother James, Duke of York
1665
Great Plague of London (July-October) kills over 60,000
Nov 7: The London Gazette first published – one of the official journals of record of the United Kingdom government, and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the United Kingdom
Five-mile Act restricts non-conformist ministers in Britain
1666
Sep 2-6: Great Fire of London, after a drought beginning 27 June
Use of semaphore signalling pioneered by Lord Worcester
Act of Parliament – burials to be in woollen
Newton formulated Laws of Gravity
1666-1689
Considerable religious unrest on Scotland (The Covenanters) – Covenanters Rising at St John's Town of Dalry
1667
John Milton Paradise Lost
1668
British East India Company obtains control of Bombay
Newton constructs reflecting telescope
1669
May 31: Last entry in Pepys's diary (see 1825 for publication)
Earliest Lutheran registers survive from this year
1670
Earliest Synagogue registers – Bevis Marks
Dryden appointed Poet Laureate
May 2: Start of Hudson's Bay Company in Canada
May 26: King Charles II and King Louis XIV of France sign the Secret Treaty of Dover
1671
May 9: Thomas Blood caught stealing the Crown Jewels
1672
High Court of Justiciary established in Scotland
War with Holland (to 1674) – British Army increased to 10,000 men
1673
First Test Act deprives British Catholics and Non-conformists of Public Office
1674
Nov 8: John Milton dies in London
Nov 10: Treaty of Westminster – Netherlands cedes New Netherlands (on the eastern coast of North America) to Britain
1675
Beginning of Whig party under Shaftsbury
Mar 4: John Flamsteed appointed first Astronomer Royal of England
Aug 10: Building of Royal Greenwich Observatory started
Rebuilding of St Paul's started by Wren (completed 1710)
1676
Compton Census, named after its initiator Henry Compton, Bishop of London, was intended to discover the number of Anglican conformists, Roman Catholic recusants and Protestant dissenters in England and Wales from enquiries made in individual parishes
1677
Lee's "Collection of Names of Merchants in London" published
1678
Extension of Test Act to peers
1679
May 27: Habeas Corpus Act becomes law in England – (later repealed from time to time)
Jun 22: Battle of Bothwell Brig in Scotland – Covenanter rebels routed
Tories first so named
Burial in Woollen more strictly enforced
1680
William Dockwra(y) begins his London Penny Post
Dodo becomes extinct in Mauritius through over-hunting
1680-1770
Chinoiserie Period (Art & Antiques)
1681
Second Test Act (against non-conformists) passed by Westminster Parliament
Oil lighting first used in London streets
1682
Pennsylvania founded by William Penn
Library of Advocates founded in Edinburgh – later National Library of Scotland
Halley observes the comet which bears his name and predicted its return in 1759
1683
Jun 6: Ashmolean Museum opened at Oxford – first museum in Britain
Climate: Coldest 'Frost fair' in London
Wild boar become extinct in Britain
1684
Presbyterian settlement in Stuart's Town in South Carolina
Huguenot registers begin in London
1685
Earl of Argyll's Invasion of Scotland
James the Second (1685-1689, died 1701) – Monmouth rebellion and battle of Sedgemoor – British Army raised to 20,000 men
Judge Jeffreys and the Bloody Assizes – 320 executed, 800 transported
Oct 18: Revocation of the Edict of Nantes – drove thousands of Protestants (Huguenots) from France – many settled in England
1686
Release of all prisoners held for their religious beliefs
1687
Apr 4: James II issues the Declaration of Indulgence, suspending laws against Catholics and non-conformists
Jul 5: Newton published his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica – written in Latin
Sep 26: The Parthenon in Athens, used as a gunpowder magazine by the Ottomans, exploded during an attack by the Venetians
1688
Feb: Edward Lloyd's Coffee House opens – later became Lloyd's of London
Nov: The Glorious Revolution: James II abdicates – William of Orange lands at Torbay on 5 Nov – William III and Mary II, daughter of James II, jointly take the throne 13 Feb 1689 – (only William, however, has regal power)
British Army raised to 40,000
Bill of Rights limits the powers of the monarchy over parliament
Hearth Tax abolished
Mutiny Act
1689
Mar 12: Deposed James VII & II flees to Ireland – defeated at the Battle of the Boyne (1 Jul 1690)
May 24: Toleration Act passed for Protestant non-conformists
Jul 27: Battle of Killiecrankie in Scotland – Jacobites defeated Government troops but at high cost
Siege of Londonderry (began Dec 1688; ended 28 Jul 1689)
Dec 16: Bill of Rights passed by Parliament, ending King's divine right to raise taxes or wage war
Earliest Royal Dutch Chapel registers
Devonport naval dockyard established
1690
Great Synagogue founded
Presbyterianism finally established in Scotland
May 20: England passes Act of Grace, forgiving Roman Catholic followers of James II
Jul 1 (New Style, 12 Jul): Battle of the Boyne – Jacobite forces defeated by William
Aug 24: Job Charnock established his East India Company headquarters in a location he called Calcutta
1691
Earliest date in known German Lutheran registers
1692
Feb 13: The massacre of Glencoe – Clan Campbell sides with King William and murders members of Clan McDonald
Land Tax introduced – originally designed as an annual tax on personal estate, public offices and land. For practical purposes, however, assessors tended to avoid assessing items of wealth other than landed property so that it became known as the Land Tax. Counties were assessed at a fixed sum and the parish quotas were rarely altered. No systematic revaluation of properties was ever made after 1698 so that assessments tended to reflect the initial late-seventeenth century values. Its records in detail are usually available between 1780 and 1831.
French intention to invade England came to naught
1693
Aug 4: Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Pierre Pιrignon 's invention of Champagne
Some Thoughts Concerning Education published by John Locke
1693–1700
Climate: Oat harvest failed repeatedly in Scotland – widespread starvation
1694
National Debt came into effect in England
Stamp Duties introduced into Britain from Holland
Jul 27: Bank of England founded by William Paterson (a Scot)
Mary II death leaves William III as sole ruler
Triennial Act, new Parliamentary elections every three years
1694-1699
Scotland: Poll Tax imposed on all over sixteen, except the destitute and insane
1695
Freedom of Press in England
Bank of Scotland founded
Act of Parliament imposes a fine on all who fail to inform the parish minister of the birth of a child (repealed 1706, but see 1783)
Start of "Dissenters" lists in parish registers – children born but not christened in the parish church – some were named "Papist" and others "Protestants"
Dec 31: Window Tax (replaced Hearth Tax; increased in 1747; abolished 1851 when it was replaced by House Duty)
1696
Act of Parliament establishes Workhouses
Education Act passed by Scottish Parliament
1697
Dec 2: Official opening of rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral
1698
Jan 4: Most of the Palace of Whitehall in London destroyed by fire
Invention of steam engine by Capt Thomas Savery
Darien Expedition: a disastrous attempt to establish a Scots settlement in Panama
Duties (taxes) on entries in parish registers – repealed after five years
Nov 14: Eddystone Lighthouse (Henry Winstanley's) first lit; completed 10 days earlier (but see 1703)
1700
Population in England and Scotland approx 7.5 million
1701
Act of Settlement bars Catholics from the British throne
May 23: After being convicted of piracy and murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd hanged in London
1702-1714
Queen Anne Period (Art & Antiques)
1702
Mar 8: Anne Stuart becomes Queen
Mar 11: First English daily newspaper The Daily Courant (till 1735)
War of Spanish Succession (1702-1713)
1703
Repeal of Duties on entries in Parish Registers
Nov 24–Dec 2: Climate: Most violent storms of the millennium cause vast damage across southern England – about a third of Britain's merchant fleet lost, and Eddystone lighthouse destroyed on 27 Nov (see 1755); it "produced so deep an impression upon the people of the period that it was familiarly spoken of as 'The Storm' throughout the whole of the eighteenth century"—Grant Allen, in his notes to the 1900 edition of Gilbert White's 'Natural History of Selborne'
1704
Aug 4: British take Gibraltar
Aug 13: Battle of Blenheim
Penal Code enacted – Catholics barred from voting, education and the military
Newton Optics, his theories of light and colour – written in English
1705
First workable steam pumping engine devised by Thomas Newcomen (some say c1710 or 1711)
Isaac Newton knighted (for his work at the Royal Mint)
1706
May 23: Battle of Ramillies
First evening newspaper The Evening Post issued in London
1707
Jan 16: Union with Scotland – Scots agree to send 16 peers and 45 MPs to English Parliament in return for full trading privileges – Scottish Parliament meets for the last time in March
May 1: English and Scottish Parliaments united by an Act of the English Parliament – The Kingdom of Great Britain established – largest free-trade area in Europe at the time
Last use of veto by a British sovereign
1708
First Jacobite rising in Scotland
Earliest Artillery Muster Rolls
1709
Feb 2: Alexander Selkirk rescued from shipwreck on a desert island, inspiring the book Robinson Crusoe (published in 1719) by Daniel Defoe
Second Eddystone lighthouse completed (see 1755)
First Copyright Act passed
Bad harvests throughout Europe – bread riots in Britain
1710
Tax on Apprentice Indentures
1711
Aug 11: First race meeting at Ascot
Incorporation of South Sea Company, in London
1712
Imposition of Soap Tax (abolished 1853)
Last trial for witchcraft in England (Jane Wenham)
Toleration Act passed – first relief to non-Anglicans
Patronage Act – patronage of ministers restored
1713
Apr 11: Treaty of Utrecht concludes the War of the Spanish Succession – Newfoundland and Gibraltar ceded to Britain
By this year there are some 3,000 coffee houses in London
1714
Aug 1: Queen Anne Stuart dies – George I Hanover becomes king (1714-1727).
Chancery Proceedings filed under Six Clerks.
Longitude Act: prize of £20,000 offered to the inventor of a workable method of determining a ship's longitude (won by John Harrison in 1773 for his chronometer).
Schism Act, prevents Dissenters from being schoolmasters in England.
Landholders forced to take the Oath of Allegiance and renounce Roman Catholicism.
Quarter Sessions Records from this date often mention Protestant dissenters and Roman Catholic recusants.
Handel Water Music
1715
Aug 1: Riot Act passed
Second Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, under the Old Pretender ('The Fifteen')
1716
The Septennial Act of Britain leads to greater electoral corruption – general elections now to be held once every 7 years instead of every 3 (until 1911)
Climate: Thames frozen so solid that a spring tide lifted the ice bodily 13ft without interrupting the frost fair
1717
First Masonic Lodge opens in London
Value of the golden guinea fixed at 21 shillings
1719
Third abortive Jacobite rising
Defoe Robinson Crusoe
1720
South Sea Bubble, a stock-market crash on Exchange Alley – government assumes control of National Debt
Manufacturing towns start to increase in population – rise of new wealth
Wallpaper becomes fashionable in England
1721
Apr 2: Robert Walpole (Whig) becomes first Prime Minister (to 1742)
Bailey's Northern Directory
1722
Last trial for witchcraft in Scotland [but Wikipedia gives 1727 as last execution for witchcraft in Scotland]
Knatchbull's Act, poor laws
1723
Excise tax levied for coffee, tea, and chocolate
The Waltham Black Acts add 50 capital offences to the penal code – people could be sentenced to death for theft and poaching – repealed in 1827
The Workhouse Act or Test – to get relief, a poor person has to enter Workhouse
1724
Rapid growth of gin drinking in England
Longman's founded (Britain's oldest publishing house)
1725-1726
Treaty of Hanover: France, Prussia, Britain v. Spain, Austria
1726
First circulating library opened in Edinburgh
Invention of the chronometer by John Harrison
Swift Gulliver's Travels
1727
Board of Manufacturers established in Scotland
Jun 11: George I dies – George II Hanover becomes king
1729
Methodists begin at Oxford
Nov 9: Treaty of Seville signed between Britain, France and Spain – Britain maintained control of Port Mahon and Gibraltar
Bach St Matthew Passion
1730
Irish famine
1730-1750
Rococo Period (Art & Antiques)
1731
Invention of seed drill by Jethro Tull [others say 1701]
Invention of sextant by John Hadley
1732
Jun 9: James Oglethorpe is granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia
Dec 7: Covent Garden Opera House opens
Earliest Cavalry and Infantry Muster Rolls
1733
Feb 12: James Oglethorpe founds Savannah, Georgia
Excise crisis: Sir Robert Walpole wanted to add excise tax to tobacco and wine – Pulteney and Bolingbroke oppose the excise tax
Law forbidding the use of Latin in parish registers generally obeyed – some continued in Latin for a few years
John Kay invents the flying shuttle, revolutionised the weaving industry
1734
Kent's Directory
1737
Licensing Act restricts the number of London theatres and subjects plays to censorship of the Lord Chamberlain (till 1950s)
1738
Earliest Calvinistic Methodist registers
May 24: John Wesley has his conversion experience
1739
Apr 7: Dick Turpin, highwayman, hanged at York
Oct 23: War of Jenkins' Ear starts: Robert Walpole reluctantly declares war on Spain: "They are ringing their bells, soon they will be wringing their hands"
Wesley and Whitefield commence great Methodist revival
1741
Benjamin Ingham founded the Moravian Methodists or Inghamites – Earliest Moravian registers
Earliest Scotch Church registers
Handel The Messiah (first performed in Dublin 13 Apr 1742)
1742
England goes to war with Spain – incited by William Pitt the Elder (Earl of Chatham) for the sake of trade
1743
Jun 16 (June 27 in Gregorian calendar): Battle of Dettingen – last time a British sovereign (George II) led troops in battle
1744
Church of Scotland split over taking of Burgess' Oath – Burghers and Anti-Burghers
First Methodist Conference
Tune God Save the King makes its appearance
1745
Jacobite rebellion in Scotland ('The Forty-five')
Aug 19: Bonnie Prince Charlie (The Young Pretender) lands in the western Highlands – raises support among Episcopalian and Catholic clans – The Pretender's army invades Perth, Edinburgh, and England as far as Derby
1746
Apr 16: Battle of Culloden – last battle fought in Britain – 5,000 Highlanders routed by the Duke of Cumberland and 9,000 loyalists Scots – Young Pretender Charles flees to Continent, ending Jacobite hopes forever – the wearing of the kilt prohibited
1747
Apr 9: Lord Lovat beheaded on Tower Hill aged 80, the last person to be executed in this manner
Abolition of Heritable Jurisdictions in Scotland
Act for Pacification of the Highlands
1748-1756
Countess of Huntington's (Calvinistic) Methodist Connexion founded
1749
Apr 27: First performance of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks (in Green Park, London) – to celebrate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ending the War of the Austrian Succession
1750-1770
Gothic Revival Period (Art & Antiques)
1750-1805
Neo-Classical Period (Art & Antiques)
1750
Feb/Mar: Series of earthquakes in London and the Home Counties cause panic with predictions of an apocalypse
Nov 16: Original Westminster Bridge opened (replaced in 1862 due to subsidence)
1751
March: Chesterfield's Calendar Act passed – royal assent to the bill was given on 22 May 1751 – decision to adopt Gregorian Calendar in 1752: "In and throughout all his Majesty's Dominions and Countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, belonging or subject to the Crown of Great Britain, the said Supputation, according to which the Year of our Lord beginneth on the 25th Day of March, shall not be made use of from and after the last Day of December 1751; and that the first Day of January next following the said last Day of December shall be reckoned, taken, deemed and accounted to be the first Day of the Year of our Lord 1752" — i.e. 1752 started on 1 January, so that 1751 was a short year.
Gin Act passed
1752
Jan 1: Beginning of the year 1752 [Scotland had adopted January as the start of the year in 1600, and some other countries in Europe had adopted the Gregorian calendar as early as 1582]
Sep 3: Julian Calendar dropped and Gregorian Calendar adopted in England and Scotland, making this Sep 14 – "Give us back our 11 days!"
Benjamin Franklin invents a lightning conductor
1753
Earliest Inghamite registers
May 1: Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy
Private collection of Sir Hans Sloane forms the basis of the British Museum
1754
Mar 25: Hardwicke Act (1753): Banns to be called, and Printed Marriage Register forms to be used – Quakers & Jews exempt
In the General Election, the Cow Inn at Haslemere, Surrey caused a national scandal by subdividing the freehold to create eight votes instead of one
First British troops not belonging to the East India Company despatched to India
First printed Annual Army Lists
1755
Apr 15: Publication of Dictionary of the English Language by Dr Samuel Johnson
Period of canal construction began in Britain (till 1827)
Nov 1: Earthquake and tsunami destroys Lisbon – up to 90,000 dead
Dec 2: Second Eddystone Lighthouse destroyed by fire (see 1759)
1756
May 15: The Seven Years War with France (Pitt's trade war) begins
Jun: Black Hole of Calcutta – 146 Britons imprisoned, most die according to British sources
1757
Mar 14: Admiral Byng shot at Portsmouth for failing to relieve Minorca – or as the French put it: "Les anglais tuent de temps à temps un amiral pour encourager les autres"
India: The Nawab of Bengal tries to expel the British, but is defeated at the battle of Plassey (Palashi, June 23) – the East India Company forces are led by Robert Clive
The foundation laid for the Empire of India
1758
India stops being merely a commercial venture – England begins dominating it politically – The East India Company retains its monopoly although it ceased to trade
1759
Jan 15: British Museum opens to the public in London
Mar: First predicted return of Halley's comet
Sep 13: Gen James Woolfe killed at Quebec (Battle of the Plains of Abraham)
Oct 16: Third Eddystone Lighthouse (John Smeaton's) completed (see 1882)
Wesley builds 356 Methodist chapels
Dec 31: Guinness starts being brewed
1760
Oct 25: George II dies – George III Hanover, his grandson, becomes king
The date conventionally marks the start of the so-called "first Industrial Revolution"
Carron Iron Works in operation in Scotland
May 5: First use of hangman's drop – last nobleman to be executed (Laurence, Earl Ferrers) at Tyburn
Beginning of intense Inclosure Acts in England
1761
Jan 16: British capture Pondicherry, India from the French
1762
Earliest Unitarian registers
France surrenders Canada and Florida
Cigars introduced into Britain from Cuba
Robert Lowth Short Introduction to English Grammar
1763
Treaty of Paris – gives back to France everything Pitt fought to obtain – (Newfoundland [fishing], Guadaloupe and Martininque [sugar], Dakar [gum]) – but English displaces French as the international language
1764
Lloyd's Register of shipping first prepared
Practice of numbering houses introduced to London
James Hargeaves invents the Spinning Jenny (but destroyed 1768)
Mozart produces his first symphony at age eight
1765
Mar 22: Stamp Act passed – imposed a tax on publications and legal documents in the American colonies (repealed the following year)
The potato becomes the most popular food in Europe
1766
Start of 'composite' national records on rainfall in the UK
Dec 5: Christie's auction house founded in London by James Christie
1767
First iron railroads built for mines by John Wilkinson
Newcomen's steam pumping engine perfected by James Watt
1768
Jan 9: Philip Astley starts his circus in London
Dec 6: The first edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" published in Edinburgh by William Smellie (see 2012)
1769
Sep 6: David Garrick organises first Shakespeare festival at Stratford-upon-Avon
Arkwright invents water frame (textile production)
Capt James Cook maps the coast of New Zealand
1770
Apr 28: Capt James Cook lands in Australia (Botany Bay) — Aug 21: formally claims Australia for Britain
Clyde Trust created to convert the River Clyde, then an insignificant river, into a major thoroughfare for maritime communications
1771
Right to report Parliamentary debates established in England
1772
May 14: Judge Mansfield rules that there is no legal basis for slavery in England
First Navy Lists published
First Travellers' Cheques issued by the London Credit Exchange Company
Morning Post first published (until 1937)
1773-1858
The East India Company governs Hindustan
1773
Government prize for accurate determination of Longitude (first offered in 1714) won by John Harrison for his chronometer
Dec 16: Boston Tea Party
Waltz becomes fashionable in Vienna
1774
First recorded cricket match (some say 1719, Londoners v Kentish Men – Wikipedia disagrees with both!)
Sep 13: Cook arrives on Easter Island
1775
Apr 19: Battle of Lexington: first action in American War of Independence (1775–1783)
1776
Jul 4: American Declaration of Independence
Somerset House in London becomes the repository of records of population
Watt and Boulton produce their first commercial steam engine (see 1782)
Sep 7: First attack on a warship by a submarine – David Bushnell's "Turtle" attacked HMS Eagle in New York harbour. The attack was perhaps spectacular (a charge did detonate beneath the ship), but was nevertheless unsuccessful. "Turtle" was a one man affair, man-powered [Les Moore] (see 1864)
1777
Samuel Miller of Southampton patents the circular saw.
1779
Feb 14: Capt James Cook killed on Hawaii
Crompton's mule invented (textile production)
Marc Isambard Brunel opens the first steamdriven sawmill at Chatham Dockyard in Kent
First iron bridge built, over the Severn by John Wilkinson
First Spinning Mills operational in Scotland
Sep 23: Naval engagement between Britain and USA off Flamborough Head
1780
May 4: First Derby run at Epsom (some say 2nd June)
Jun 2–8: The Gordon Riots – Parliament passes a Roman Catholic relief measure – for days, London is at the mercy of a mob and destruction is widespread
Earliest Wesleyan registers
Male Servants Tax
The English Reform Movement – until now, only landowners and tenants (freeholders with 40 shillings per year or more) allowed to vote, and in open poll books
Circular saw and Fountain pen invented
About this time the word 'Quiz' entered the language, said to have been invented as a wager by Mr Daly, a Dublin theatre manager
1781
Mar 13: Sir William Herschel discovers Uranus
Oct 19: Lord Cornwallis's army surrenders to George Washington; ends the American War of Independence
1782
Gilbert's Act establishes outdoor poor relief – the way of life of the poor beginning to alter due to industrialisation – New factories in rapidly expanding towns required a workforce that would adjust to new work patterns
James Watt patents his steam engine
1783
Duty made payable on Parish Register entries (3d per entry) – led to a fall in entries! – it was repealed 1794
Jun 4: Montgolfier brothers launch first hot-air balloon (unmanned), at Annonay, France
Jul: Climate: hottest month on record until 1983; Gilbert White in his 'Natural History of Selborne' says: "The summer of 1783 was an amazing and portenteous one, and full of horrible phenomena; for, besides the alarming meteors and tremendous thunder storms that affrighted and distressed the different counties of this kingdom, the peculiar haze or smoky fog that prevailed for many weeks in this island and in every part of Europe, and even beyond its limits, was a most extraordinary appearance unlike anything known within the memory of man"—he put it down to volcanic activity. Apparently it was caused by the eruption of Laki in Iceland which continued from 8th Jun 1783 to 7th February 1784
Sep 3: Treaty of Versailles (Britain/US)
Nov 3: Last public execution at Tyburn in London (John Austin, a highwayman)
Nov 21: First untethered hot-air balloon flight with humans aboard, in Paris
Blake Poetical Sketches
1784
Pitt's India Act – the Crown (as opposed to officers of the East India Company) has power to guide Indian politics
Wesley breaks with the Church of England
Aug 2: First mail coaches in England (4pm Bristol / 8am London)
First golf club founded at St Andrews
Invention of threshing machine by Andrew Meikle
1785
Jan 1: John Walter publishes first edition of The Times (called The Daily Universal Register for 3 years)
Jan 7: Blanchard & Jeffries make first balloon crossing of the English Channel, taking about 2½ hours to travel from England to France
Sunday School Society founded to educate poor children (by 1851, enrols more than 2 million)
1786
Aug 8: Mont Blanc climbed for the first time
Mozart Marriage of Figaro
1787
Earliest known Swedenborgian (Church of the New Jerusalem or Jerusalemite) registers
MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) established at Thomas Lord's ground in London
1788
Jan 26: First convicts (and free settlers) arrive in New South Wales (left Portsmouth 13 May 1787) — the 'First Fleet'; eleven ships commanded by Captain Arthur Phillip
First steamboat demonstrated in Scotland [but see 1802]
Law passed requiring that chimney sweepers be a minimum of 8 years old (not enforced)
First slave carrying act, the Dolben Act of 1788, regulates the slave trade – stipulates more humane conditions on slave ships
King George III's mental illness occasions the Regency Crisis – Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox attack ministry of William Pitt – trying to obtain full regal powers for the Prince of Wales
Gibbon completes Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
1789
Apr 28: Mutiny on HMS Bounty – Captain William Bligh and 18 sailors are set adrift and the rebel crew ends up on Pitcairn Island
Jul 14: The French Revolution begins – storming of the Bastille
Publication of Gilbert White's 'Natural History of Selborne'
1790
Forth and Clyde Canal opened in Scotland
1791
Sugar prices rise steeply
John Bell, printer, abandons the "long s" (the "s" that looks like an "f")
Establishment of the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain
Dec 4: First publication of The Observer – world's oldest Sunday newspaper
`
Repression in Britain (restrictions on freedom of the press) – Fox gets Libel Act through Parliament, requiring a jury and not a judge to determine libel
Boyle's Street Directory published
Oct 1: Introduction of Money Orders in Britain
Coal-gas lighting invented by William Murdock, an Ayrshire Scot
Dec 1: King's Proclamation drawing out the British militia
1793
Feb 11: Britain declares war on France (1793-1802)
Execution of Louis XVI – Reign of Terror starts in France
Apr 15: £5 notes first issued by the Bank of England
Jun 26: Gilbert White, naturalist, dies at Selborne, Hampshire
1794
Abolition of Parish Register duties
Mar 14: Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin (in America)
Jun 1: Battle of Glorious First of June
Oct 6: The prosecutor for Britain, Lord Justice Eyre, charges reformers with High Treason – he argued that, since reform of parliament would lead to revolution and revolution to executing the King, the desire for reform endangered the King's life and was therefore treasonous
Lindley Murray English Grammar
1795
The Famine Year
Foundation of the Orange Order
Speenhamland Act proclaims that the Parish is responsible for bringing up the labourer's wage to subsistence level – towards the end of the eighteenth century, the number of poor and unemployed increased dramatically – price increases during the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) far outstripped wage rises – many small farmers were bankrupted by the move towards enclosures and became landless labourers – their wages were often pitifully low
Pitt and Grenville introduce "The Gagging Acts" or "Two Bills" (the Seditious Meetings and Treasonable Practices Bills) – outlawed the mass meeting and the political lecture
Consumption of lime juice made compulsory in Royal Navy
France adopts the metric system
1796
May 14: Dr Edward Jenner gave first vaccination for smallpox in England
Holden's Triennial Directory published
Pitt's "Reign of Terror": More treason trials – leading radicals emigrate
Legacy Tax on sums over £20 excluding those to wives, children, parents and grandparents
1797
Feb 14: Battle of Cape St Vincent
Feb 22: French invade Fishguard, Wales; last time UK invaded; all captured 2 days later
England in Crisis, Bank of England suspends cash payments
Feb 26: First £1 (and £2) notes issued by Bank of England
Apr-Jun: Mutinies in the British Navy at Spithead and Nore
Oct 22: Possibly the first parachute jump (by Andrι-Jacques Garnerin above Paris)
Tax on newspapers (including cheap, topical journals) increased to repress radical publications
The first copper pennies were produced ('cartwheels') by application of steam power to the coining press
1798
Feb-Oct: The Irish Rebellion; 100,000 peasants revolt; approximately 25,000 die – Irish Parliament abolished
Aug 1: Battle of the Nile (won by Nelson)
First planned human experiment with vaccination, to test theories of Edward Jenner
Malthus Essay on Population
1799
Jan 9: Pitt brings in 10% income tax, as a wartime financial measure
Jul 12: 'Combination Laws' in Britain against political associations and combinations
Foundation of Royal Military College Sandhurst by the Duke of York
Foundation of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
Post Office New Annual Directory
Jul 15: Rosetta Stone discovered in Egypt, made possible the deciphering (in 1822) of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics
Perfect mammoth discovered preserved in ice in Siberia
1800
Jul 2: Parliamentary union of Great Britain and Ireland
Malta became a British Dominion
Electric light first produced by Sir Humphrey Davy
Use of high pressure steam pioneered by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833)
Earliest Bible Christian registers
Royal College of Surgeons founded
Herschel discovers infra-red light
Volta makes first electrical battery
British trade accounts for about 27% of world trade
1801
Jan 1: Union Jack official British flag – The Kingdom of Ireland merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain, adding St. Patrick's saltire to the Union Flag
Mar 10: First census puts the population of England and Wales at 9,168,000 – population of Britain nearly 11 million (75% rural)
Grand Union Canal opens in England
Surrey iron railway, on which horse-drawn trucks carry coal and farm produce
Richard Trevithick built the first self-propelled passenger carrying road loco and ran it on Christmas Eve 1801
Elgin Marbles brought from Athens to London
1802
Mar 25 ("4 Gerninal" on the French Revolutionary calendar): Treaty of Amiens signed by Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands – the "Peace of Amiens," as it was known, brought a temporary peace of 14 months during the Napoleonic Wars – one of its most important cultural effects was that travel and correspondence across the English Channel became possible again
Charlotte Dundas on Clyde, first practical steamship, built by William Symington
First British Factory Act
William Cobbett begins his weekly Political Register
Regular mail service started between England and India
1803
Invention of paper-making machine (Fourdrinier brothers) – others say invented by Robert (another Frenchman) in 1798, and developed by the Fourdriniers
Apr 30: Louisiana Purchase: Napoleon sells French possessions in America to United States
May 12: Peace of Amiens ends – resumption of war with France – The Napoleonic Wars (1803-18l5)
William Cobbett began unofficial publication of Parliamentary reports (taken over by Hansard report in 1811)
First publication of Debrett's Peerage by John Debrett
Poaching made a Capital offence in England if capture resisted
Richard Trevithick built another steam carriage and ran it in London as the first self-propelled vehicle in the capital and the first London bus
Jul 26: First public railway opens (Surrey Iron Railway, 9 miles from Wandsworth to Croydon, horse-drawn)
Semaphore signalling perfected by Admiral Popham
Commissioners for Highland Roads and Bridges created in Scotland; Thomas Telford begins construction
1804
Feb 21: Richard Trevithick runs his railway engine on the Penydarren Railway (9.5 miles from Pen-y-Darren to Abercynon in South Wales) – this hauled a train with 10 tons of iron and 70 passengers.  It was commemorated by the Royal Mint in 2004 in the form of a £2.00 coin. (See 1829)
Mar 3: John Wedgwood (eldest son of the potter Josiah Wedgwood) founds The Royal Horticultural Society
Mar 21: Code Napoleon adopted in France
Dec 2: Napoleon declares himself Emperor of the French
Dec 12: Spain declares war on Britain
Matthew Flinders recommends that the newly discovered country, New Holland, be renamed "Australia"
Blake Jerusalem (later set to music by Parry)
1805
Oct 21: Admiral Nelson's victory at Trafalgar
Nov 26: Official opening of Thomas Telford's Pontcysyllte Aqueduct
Dec 2: Battle of Austerlitz; Napoleon defeats Austrians and Russians
London docks opened
1806
Jan 9: Nelson buried in St Paul's cathedral, London
Earliest Primitive Methodist registers
Napoleon attempts European economic blockade of Britain
Dartmoor Prison opened (built by French prisoners)
Carbon paper invented by Ralph Wedgwood
1807
Mar 25: Parliament passes Act prohibiting slavery and the importation of slaves from 1808 – but does not prohibit colonial slavery
Jul 13: 'Hot Wednesday' – temperature of 101°F in the shade recorded in London
Gas lighting in London streets
1808
Peninsular War (1808-1814)
Fourdrinier brothers set up first paper-making machine in England (at St Neots)
Trevithick operated a 'Catch-me-who-Can' demonstration railway with carriages in London for which he charged fares of one shilling
Beginning of 'Luddite' troubles in England (see 1811)
Dec 22: Beethoven premieres his Fifth Symphony, Sixth Symphony, Fourth Piano Concerto and Choral Fantasy together in Vienna
1809
Jan 16: Peninsular War – Battle of La Coruρa – Sir John Moore killed: "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note …"
Feb 12: Birth of Charles Darwin
Sep 18: Royal Opera House opens in London
John Dickinson introduces the Cylinder Machine for making paper boards
Gay-Lussac: Law of Volumes of Gases
1810
Bible Christians denomination formed by schism in Wesleyan Methodists
John McAdam begins road construction in England, giving his name to the process of road metalling (see 1845)
1811
Feb 1: Light first lit on Robert Stephenson's Inchcape (Bell) Rock lighthouse off Scotland
Feb 5: Prince of Wales (future George IV) made Regent after George III deemed insane
May 27: Second census of England & Wales
Nov: Luddite uprisings (machine breaking) in the Midlands against weaving frames started – went on until 1815 – groups of workmen rebelled against the increased mechanisation of textile production by destroying the new machinery – government fears revolutionary conspiracy – damaging property or taking Luddite oaths become capital offences
Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility
1812
May 11: Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, assassinated – shot as he entered the House of Commons by a bankrupt Liverpool broker, John Bellingham, who was subsequently hanged
Jun 18: Start of American "War of 1812" (to 1814) against England and Canada
Aug 24: Peninsular War – coalition forces including British succeed in lifting the two-and-a-half-year-long Siege of Cαdiz
Oct–Dec: Napoleon retreats from Moscow with catastrophic losses
Comet steamship launched in Scotland, operated on the River Clyde
1813
'Policy for the Improvement of the Highlands' approved by British Parliament
May: Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, lead an expedition westwards from Sydney
Ireland: First recorded "12th of July" sectarian riots in Belfast
Rose's Act (1812) established a printed format for baptism & burial registers
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
1814
"Year of the Burning" in Sutherland and Ross
Act of Burial in Woollen repealed
First Pigot's Commercial Directory printed
Jan 1: Invasion of France by Allies
Apr 6: Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba
Aug 13: Convention of London signed, a treaty between the UK and the Dutch
Aug 24: The British burn the White House
Nov 29: The Times first printed by a steam-powered 'mechanical apparatus' (at 1,100 sheets per hour)
Dec 2: Death of the Marquis de Sade, in an asylum
Dec 24: Treaty of Ghent signed ending the 1812 war between Britain and the US
Sugar prices reach record heights
1815
Mar 1: Napoleon escapes Elba; arrives in France
Jun 18: The Battle of Waterloo: Napoleon defeated and exiled to St. Helena
Corn Law passed with enormous benefit to landlords (see 1849)
Trial by Jury established in Scotland
Davy develops the safety lamp for miners
Nash Brighton Pavilion
1816
Economic depression - rise in wheat prices
Income tax abolished
Excise tax payable on paper production (start of papermaking Mill numbers) – until 1861
For the first time British silver coins were produced with an intrinsic value substantially below their face value – the first official 'token' coinage
Climate: the 'year without a summer' – followed a volcanic explosion of the mountain Tambora in Indonesia the previous year, the biggest volcanic explosion in 10,000 years
Cobbett's Register selling 40-60,000 copies per week
Large scale emigration to North America
Trans-Atlantic packet service begins
1817
Johnstone's London Directory printed
March of the Manchester Blanketeers; Habeas Corpus suspended
Constable Flatford Mill
1818
Manchester cotton spinners' strike
Oct 20: 'Convention of 1818' signed between the United States and the United Kingdom which, among other things, settled the US-Canada border on the 49th parallel for most of its length
Mary Shelley Frankenstein
1819
Feb 6: Stamford Raffles signs a treaty with Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor establishing Singapore as a new trading post for the British East India Company
May/Jun: Savannah first steamship to cross Atlantic, reaching Liverpool 20 June 1819 (26 days, mostly under sail)
Aug 16: Peterloo Massacre at Manchester – a large, orderly group of 60,000 meets at St. Peter's Fields, Manchester – demand Parliamentary Reform – mounted troops charge on the meeting, killing 11 people and and maiming many others
Dec: Six Acts passed against radical political Unions – prohibits assemblies similar to St. Peter's Fields and imposes press censorship
Primitive bicycle, the Dandy Horse, becomes popular (see 1839)
Britain returns to gold standard
Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn
1820
Jan 29: Accession of George IV, previously Prince Regent
Cato Street Conspiracy – plot to assissinate British cabinet
Aug 1: Regent's Canal in London opens
Aug 17: Trial of Queen Caroline to prove her infidelities so George IV can divorce her – George tries to secure a Bill of Pains and Penalties against her – Caroline is virtually acquitted because bill passed by such a small majority of Lords
Nov 20: Whaling ship Essex attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the Pacific, leading to the story of Moby Dick
Cobbett's Rural Rides begin to appear in his Political Register (to 1830)
Abolition of the Spanish Inquisition
1821
May 5: Napoleon Bonaparte dies on St Helena
May 28: Third census of England & Wales
Faraday Principles of electro-magnetic rotation
Constable The Hay Wain
Populations: France 30.4M, German States 26M, Britain 20.8M, Italian States 18M, Austria 12M, the USA 9.6M
1822
Jun 14: Charles Babbage proposes a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society
Sep 27: Jean-Franηois Champollion announces he has deciphered the Rosetta stone
Caledonian canal opened
Augustin Fresnel perfects lenses for lighthouses
Schubert Unfinished Symphony
1823
New laws concerning marriage by licence – 'very troublesome' according to some: "the Act was repealed, all in a hurry, at the beginning of the next session"
Scottish testaments prior to 1823 transferred to S.R.O.
Peel begins penal reforms – death penalty abolished for over 100 crimes
Dec 2: US President James Monroe delivers a speech establishing American neutrality in future European conflicts (the 'Monroe Doctrine')
Rugby Football 'invented' at Rugby School
(others think if happened later than this, possibly in the 1840s)
Rubberised waterproof material produced by MacIntosh
Monroe Doctrine: President James Monroe warns European powers not to interfere in the American continent
1824
Pitt's Combination Acts repealed (Trades Unions allowed)
Mar 4: Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) founded (called the "National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck" until 1854)
May 10: National Gallery in London opens to the public
RSPCA established
Portland cement patented
Carnot Puissance motrice du feu
Beethoven Ninth Symphony
1825
Horse-drawn buses in London (but see 1803 and 1829)
Sep 27: Stockton to Darlington Railway opens – world's first service of locomotive-hauled passenger trains
Hobhouse makes amendments to Acts to protect Child Labour in cotton factories
Publication of Pepys Diary
1826
Jan 30: Telford's Menai Straits Bridge opened – considered the world's first modern suspension bridge
Feb 11: University College, London established under the name "London University", as a secular alternative to the religious universities of Oxford and Cambridge
Scotland's first commercial railway was opened, Edinburgh to Dalkeith
White's first Commercial Directory – Hull
Royal Zoological Society established in London
Apr 1: Samuel Morey patents the internal combustion engine in America?
Ampere Electrodynamics
Mendelssohn Midsummer Night's Dream, overture
1827
Apr 7: First recorded sale of matches, from the store of John Walker of Stockton-on-Tees under the name 'Sulphurata Hyper-Oxygenata Frict'
Hallam Constitutional History of England (one of the first historians to use original documents in his research)
Ohm Ohm's Law (physics)
1828
Apr 28: Repeal of Test and Corporation Acts – had kept non-Anglicans (Catholics and Dissenters) from holding public office and deprived them of other rights
Oct 25: St Katharine Docks in London opened (designed by Thomas Telford)
O'Connell barred from the House of Commons as a Roman Catholic
Noah Webster American Dictionary of the English Language
1829
Apr 4: Catholic Emancipation Act restores civil liberties to Roman Catholics
Earliest Irvingite registers
Jul 4: First London omnibuses (pulled by three horses) introduced by George Shillibeer (but see 1825) – route between Paddington and Bank of England
London Metropolitan police force formed, nicknamed Bobbies after Sir Robert Peel
Jun 10: First Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race
Oct 6: George Stephenson's Rocket wins the Rainhill trials (it was the only one to complete the trial!) – was to haul the first 'commercial' passenger train (but see 1804)
Lucifer matches first manufactured
Louis Braille invents his sytem of finger-reading for the blind
Rossini William Tell, opera
1830
Jun 26: George IV dies – his brother, William IV, accedes to the throne
July: Revolution in France, fall of Charles X and the Bourbons – Louis Philippe (the Citizen King) on the throne
Uprisings and agitation across Europe: the Netherlands are split into Holland and Belgium
Sep 15: George Stephenson's Liverpool & Manchester Railway opened by the Duke of Wellington – first mail carried by rail, and first death on the railway as William Huskisson, a leading politician, is run over!
Nov: Agricultural 'Swing' Riots in southern England, repressed with many transportations
Nov 22: Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, becomes Prime Minister
Beerhouse Act liberalized regulations on the brewing and sale of beer by individuals – By this act it was possible for any householder assessed to the poor rate to sell beer, ale and cider without a licence from local justices; in the six months following its enaction, nearly 25,000 such excise licenses were taken out – The 1869 Wine and Beerhouse Act re-introduced stricter controls
Royal Geographical Society established in London
Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
1830-1880
Eclectic Period (Art & Antiques)
1831
First Reform Bill introduced by Lord George Russell
A list of all parish registers dating prior to 1813 compiled
May 30: Fourth census of England & Wales
British Association for the Advancement of Science founded
Jun 1: James Clark Ross discovers the North Magnetic Pole
Aug 1: 'New' London Bridge opens (see 1968, replaced 1973) – old bridge (which had existed for over 600 years) then demolished
Aug 29: Faraday demonstrates electro-magnetic induction (the dynamo)
Dec 27: Darwin sails on HMS Beagle to survey coral formations
1832
Jun 7: Reform Bill passed – Representation of the People Act – dramatic effects for grossly underrepresented places like Scotland (the number of Scottish people allowed to vote increased from 4,000 to 65,000 out of 2.5 million people) – changed voting from an aristocratic privilege to a middle class right, but by later standards not much was accomplished – approximately doubled the electorate to about 800,000 voters out of a total population in Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales of around 24 million (1831 census), and increasing by 1 million a year
Electoral Registers introduced
Electric telegraph invented by Morse
Tennyson Lady of Shalott
1833
Jan: Britain invades the Falkland Islands
Aug 29: Factory Act forbids employment of children below age of 9
Education Grant Act – grants to voluntary education societies in Britain
Real Property Limitation Act – ends the device of using ficticious people in the sale of freehold property
1834
Poor Law amendment, tightening up relief
Mar 18: 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' transported (to Australia) for Trades Union activities
May 1: Slavery abolished in British possessions
Dec 17: Dublin and Kingstown Railway opens in Ireland
Dec 23: Hansom Cab patented by Joseph Hansom
Babbage invents forerunner of the computer
1835
Christmas becomes a national holiday
Earliest Universalist registers
Municipal Corporations Act – major changes in England and Wales
Word 'socialism' first used
First surviving photograph taken by William Fox Talbot
First railway boom period starts in Britain – construction of Great Western Railway
Jun 18: William Cobbett dies
Dec 1: Hans Christian Andersen publishes his first book of fairy tales
Melbourne, Australia founded
Darwin studies the Galapagos Islands
1836
First Potato famine in Ireland
Economic downturn that lasts until 1842
Tithe Commutation Act – tithe maps created as a by-product over the next 15 years or so
Newspaper tax reduced from 4 pence to one penny
Feb 25: Samuel Colt patented the 'revolver'
Mar 6: The Alamo falls to Mexican troops – death of Davy Crockett
Jul: Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Dec 27: Avalanche in Lewes, Sussex buries 15 people, 8 died
1837
Mar 14: Wheatstone & Cooke send first British telegraph message (some say 25 Jul – the electric telegraph was patented in May)
Jun 20: William IV dies – accession of Queen Victoria (to 1901)
Jul 1: Compulsory registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths in England & Wales – Registration Districts were formed covering several parishes; initially they had the same boundaries as the Poor Law boundaries set up in 1834
Jul 13: Queen Victoria moves into the first Buckingham Palace
Jul 20: Euston Railway station opens – first in London
Pitman introduces his shorthand system
P&O Founded
Dickens Pickwick Papers
1838
Jun 28: Coronation of Queen Victoria at Westminster Abbey
Chartists in Britain publish People's Charter demanding popular involvement in politics – huge demonstrations (estimated 100.000 Glasgow, 200,000 Birmingham, 300,000 West Yorkshire)
First ocean steamers to the U.S. – SS Great Western 14½ days; SS Sirius 18 days
SS Archimedes launched – first successful screw-driven ship
Daguerre produces photographs using silver salts
1838-1849
The Chartist Movement – a working-class movement for the extension of the franchise – 6-point charter: universal suffrage, secret ballot, annual elections, payment of Members, no property qualification for MPs, equal electoral districts
1839
Nov 4: The Newport Rising, to liberate Chartist prisoners – the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain
First Opium War between Britain and China (to 1842) – Britain captures Hong Kong
Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan refines the primitive bicycle, adding a mechanical crank drive to the rear wheel, thus creating the first true "bicycle" in the modern sense (see 1819)
Samuel Cunard establishes his Cunard Steamship Co.
John Herschel takes the first glass plate photograph
Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber
Daguerreotype photography process announced in France, developed by Louis Daguerre
First: Grand National, Henley Regatta, Royal Agricultural Show
1840
Jan 10: Uniform Penny Postage introduced nationally
Rowland Hill also introduces envelopes
Feb 6: Treaty of Waitangi signed – Maori chiefs in New Zealand recognise British sovereignty in return for tribes being guaranteed possession of their lands
Feb 10: Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Last convicts landed in NSW (some say 1842 or 1849, but these probably landed elsewhere)
Chimney Sweeps Act in Britain
Population Act relating to taking of censuses in Britain
Britain has 24% of steam tonnage, and 24% of world trade
'Can-Can' becomes popular in France
1841
Feb 10: Penny Red replaces Penny Black postage stamp
June 6: Fifth census of England & Wales – First full census in Britain in which all names were recorded
Population: Britain 18.5M, USA 17M, Ireland 8M
Whitworth standard screw threads proposed
Thomas Cook starts package tours
Jul 17: First issue of Punch
1842
Mail steamship to India
Civil Registration in Channel Islands started
Second Chartist Petition presented to Parliament
Income Tax reintroduced in Britain
Government report 'The Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population'
Depression: 60% of Bolton cotton mill workers and 36% of Bolton ironworkers out of work
British Mines Act outlawing women and girls in the mines, and supervising boy labour
Copyright Act
Mar 30: Ether used as an anaesthetic for the first time (by Dr Crawford Long in America)
British massacred in Khyber Pass
Aug 29: Treaty of Nanking – End of First Opium War – Britain gains Hong Kong
Illustrated London News published
Start of Mudie's Lending Library, charging subscribers one guinea per year for the right to borrow one volume of a novel at a time
First chemical fertiliser, superphosphate of lime, manufactured by Bennet Lawes in Deptford, England
Tennyson Poems establishes his fame
Doppler Effect stated
Turner Steamer in Snowstorm
1843
First Christmas card in England
May 27: The Great Hall of Euston station opened in London
Jul 19: Brunel's 'Great Britain' launched
Disruption of the Church of Scotland – 474 ministers signed the Deed of Demission and formed the Free Church of Scotland (the "Wee Free")
Factory safety regulations enacted in Britain
First public telegraph line, from Paddington to Slough
Oct 1: News of the World first published (closed in July 2011)
Ordnance Survey maps Epoch 1 – date range 1843-1893 (see 1891)
Skiing becomes a sport
Joule defines mathematical equivalent of heat (ergs/calorie)
Dickens A Christmas Carol
Wagner Flying Dutchman
Tennyson Morte d'Arthur
1844
Outdoor Relief Prohibition Order – parish relief received only in a workhouse
Companies Act in Britain – companies must register
Bank Charter Act, to regulate money supply in relation to gold in Britain
Railways Act – Gladstone's concept of the 'Parliamentary Train' brought rail travel to the masses
Factories Act 1844 – working hours of women and children restricted
May 24: First Morse message transmitted in the USA (Baltimore to Washington)
Jun 6: YMCA founded in London by Sir George Williams
Jun 15: Charles Goodyear receives a patent for the vulcanization of rubber
Karl Marx and Engels begin their collaboration
Dumas The Three Musketeers
Polka introduced to Britain
1845
Excise tax on glass production repealed
'The Hungry Forties': Potato famine in Ireland (to 1848) – generally accepted that 1 million people died and a further 1 million people had to emigrate during this period, leading to a population decline of around 20 to 25%
Temporary repeal of the Corn Laws
Mar 17: The rubber band patented by Stephen Perry
May 20: Franklin sets sail from London trying to find the Northwest passage
Kelly's Directories
Tarmac laid for first time (in Nottingham)
First voyage of 'Great Britain' – to America
Royal Naval Biographical Dictionary published
1846
May 17: The saxophone is patented by Adolphe Sax
Sep 10: The sewing machine is patented by Elias Howe
Edward Lear First Book of Nonsense
1847
Jan: An anaesthetic used for the first time in England (James Simpson used ether to numb the pain of labour)
United Succession becomes the United Presbyterian Church
Ten Hours Act shortens factory work day to ten hours for women and children
European crop failure
US Mormons make Salt Lake City their centre
Charlotte Brontλ Jane Eyre
1848
Jan 24: Gold found at Sutter's Mill, California – starts the California gold rush
Jan 29: Greenwich Mean Time adopted in Scotland
Jul 11: Waterloo railway station in London opens
General revolutionary movement throughout the European Continent ('Year of Revolution')
Rotary press first introduced
First Public Health Act, establishes the Board of Health
Third Chartist Petition: mass arrests and failure of the movement
Lord Kelvin determines the temperature of absolute zero
First commercial production of chewing gum
Marx and Engels The Communist Manifesto
JS Mill Principles of Political Economy
Macaulay History of England
1849
Jan 31: Corn Laws abolished in UK (introduced by the Importation Act 1815, amended at various times and repealed by the Importation Act 1846)
Apr 10: Safety pin patented by American inventor Walter Hunt
Civil Registration of Births in Isle of Man started
Florin (2 shilling coin) introduced as the first step to decimalisation – which finally occurred in 1971!
Dickens David Copperfield
1850
Mar 18: American Express founded by Henry Wells & William Fargo
Sep 29: Catholic hierarchy restored on a regular pattern to England and Wales
Nov 19: Tennyson succeeds Wordsworth as Poet Laureate (and holds the position until his death in 1892)
Dec 16: First immigrant ships arrived in New Zealand
Telegraph cable Dover to Calais [others say 1851]
Britain has 39.5% of world merchant shipping tonnage
Bunsen burner designed
1851
Mar 30: Second full British Census – improvements in data compared with the first
May 1: Great exhibition of the works of industry of all nations ("Crystal Palace" exhibition) opened in Hyde Park
Aug 22: First "America's Cup" (round the Isle of Wight) won by the yacht America (after which the trophy was subsequently named)
Window Tax replaced by House Duty
Photography is popularised by introduction of "wet collodion" process
Isaac Singer produces first practical sewing machine (in USA)
Gold discovered in Australia
Verdi Rigoletto; Herman Melville Moby-Dick
1852
Feb 15: Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, London, admits its first patient
May: Victoria and Albert Museum, first known as The Museum of Manufactures, opens at Marlborough House – transfers in September to Somerset House, then to South Kensington in 1857
Manchester has its first Free Library
Land Survey of Britain completed
First voyage of 'Great Britain' to Australia
Tasmania ceases to be a convict settlement
US Express Co., Wells Fargo established in USA
Roget's Thesaurus
1853
Gladstone's first budget: wide range of duties abolished, and death duties introduced
Vaccination against smallpox made compulsory in Britain
Reuters founded
Potato chips first prepared?
1854
Mar 27: Britain declares war on Russia (Crimean War)
Jun: First Victoria Cross won during bombardment of Bomarsund in the Aland Islands
Sep 14: Allied armies land in Crimea
Sep 20: Battle of Alma: British and French troops defeat Russians in the Crimea
Oct 25: Battle of Balaklava in Crimea (charge of the Light Brigade)
Cigarettes introduced into Britain
The Times offers £1,000 for the discovery of an alternative raw material for paper (other than cotton and linen rags) – wood not used in paper manufacture until 1880s
1855
Jan 1: Registration of births, marriages & deaths made compulsory in Scotland
First London pillar boxes
Stamp Duty abolished on newspapers ('tax on knowledge') – many regional newspapers founded from this year onwards
Daily Telegraph founded, price 2d
London sewers modernised after fourth major outbreak of cholera
Florence Nightingale introduces hygiene into military hospitals in Crimea
Cellulose nitrate, first synthetic plastic material, invented by Alexander Parkes
Nov 17: Livingstone finds the Victoria Falls
Trollope The Warden
Longfellow The Song of Hiawatha
1856
Jan 29: Victoria Cross created by Royal Warrant, backdated to 1854 to recognise acts during the Crimean War (first award ceremony 26 June 1857)
Mar 30: Treaty of Paris signed, ending the Crimean War
Start of Second Opium War (to 1860)
Discovery of Neanderthal skull
Bessemer's converter revolutionises steel industry
Hughes Tom Brown's Schooldays
1857
Transatlantic cable starts to be laid (see 1866)
Oct 24: Sheffield FC founded – claim to be the world's first football team
London postal districts introduced
European financial crisis – also in America
Dec 31: Ottawa declared capital of Canada
'Golden age of crinolines' was 1857-1866 'by which point they were largely abandoned' [Bill Bryson At Home]
1857–8
Indian Mutiny (unrest started March 1857 – peace treaty signed 8 July 1858)
1858
Jan: Legally proved Wills start to be entered into an index (Eng & W) – taken out of ecclesiastical jurisdiction
Jan 31: 'Great Eastern' launched
Feb 11: First of 18 apparitions of "a Lady" to Bernadette Soubirous in Lourdes
East India Company dissolved
Summer: 'The great stink' – smell of the River Thames forced Parliament to stop work
Royal Opera House opens in Covent Garden, London
Offenbach Orpheus in the Underworld
1859
Peaceful picketing legalised in Britain
Apr 25: Work started on building the Suez canal (opened 17 Nov 1869)
May 4: Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge opened at Saltash giving rail link between Devon and Cornwall
Jun 30: Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
Sep 1: Biggest solar flare ever recorded witnessed by English astronomer Richard Carrington – an intense magnetic storm hit the Earth 18 hours later
Nov 24: Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
First American oil well drilled (in Titusville, Pennsylvania)
Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
1860
Garibaldi's 'Red Shirts' conquer Sicily and Naples
Second Maori War in New Zealand (to 1870)
Aug 29: First tram service in Europe starts in Birkenhead
Sep: Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) visits United States
Oct 17: The Open Championship (golf) begins
Oct 18: Convention of Peking ends the Second Opium War
Linoleum patented in England by Frederick Walton (some say in Dec 1863)
Royal Navy adopts ironclads
1861
Feb 21: Spire of Chichester Cathedral collapses – rebuilt, a few feet taller, and completed in five years
May 25: American Civil War begins
Apr 7: Third full British Census
Dec 14: Prince Albert dies
First horse-drawn trams in London
Tax on newsprint abolished
Emancipation of serfs in Russia
Populations: Russia 76M, USA 32M, Italy 25M , Britain 23M
Mrs Beeton Book of Household Management
1862
Jan 30: USS Monitor launched, first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy
Mar 9: Battle of Hampton Roads, Virginia; first-ever naval battle between two ironclad warships – USS Monitor and CSS Virginia
Apr 20: First pasteurisation test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard
Nov 4: Richard Gatling patents his machine gun
Dec 31: USS Monitor, one of the first ironclad warships, sank under tow in a gale
Lincoln issues first legal US paper money (Greenbacks)
Bismark becomes first minister in Prussia
Foucault measures the speed of light
Victor Hugo Les Miserables
1863
Football Association founded
Jan 10: First section of the London Underground Railway opens, between Paddington and Farringdon Street
Opening of state institution for criminally insane at Broadmoor, England
Jul 3: Battle of Gettysburg
Manufacture (by Wilbrand) of TNT
Kingsley The Water Babies
1864
Civil Registration in Ireland starts
Civil Registration of marriages in Isle of Man starts
Mar 11: The Great Sheffield Flood – over 250 died when a new dam broke while it was being filled for the first time
Aug 22: Red Cross established – Twelve nations sign the First Geneva Convention
Dec 8: Clifton Suspension Bridge over the River Avon officially opened
A man-powered submarine "Hunley" and sank a Federal steam ship, USS Housatonic, at the entrance to Charleston harbour in 1864 – the first recorded successful attack by a submarine on a surface ship [Les Moore]
1865
Apr 14: End of American Civil War – slavery abolished in USA; Abraham Lincoln assassinated in Ford's Theatre by John Wilkes Booth [do these two events really come together on this day??]
May 17: The International Telegraph Union established
Rockefeller forms Standard Oil (ESSO) in Ohio (some say 1870)
Jul 5: William Booth (1829-1912) founds Salvation Army, in London
Jul 14: First ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom died on the descent
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917) becomes first woman doctor in England [she later became the first woman mayor in England, in Aldeburgh 1908]
First concrete roads built in Britain
Locomotive Act (the 'Red Flag' Act) – required all road locomotives to travel at a maximum of 4 mph in the country and 2 mph in towns and have a crew of three, one of whom should carry a red flag walking 60 yards ahead of each vehicle (repealed 1896)
Mendel states his law of heredity
Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland
Tolstoy War and Peace
1866
May 11: London bank Overend, Gurney and Company collapses, precipitating a financial crisis
Jul 28: Atlantic cable first used – five attempts had been made over a nine year period (in 1857, two in 1858, 1865, and 1866) before lasting connections finally achieved by the SS Great Eastern with the 1866 cable and the repaired 1865 cable
Oct 16: Girton College founded
Marquis of Queensbury rules accepted for boxing
Winchester repeating rifle comes into use in USA
1867
Mar 30: USA buys Alaska from Russia ("Seward's Folly") – formal transfer on 18 Oct
July 1: The British North America Act takes effect, creating the Canadian Confederation
Aug 24: Fanny Adams murdered in Alton
Nov 25: Alfred Nobel patents dynamite
Dec 2: Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the USA (in New York)
The Second Reform Bill – vote given to town householders
Typewriter invented (but not commercially successful until 1873)
Lister uses carbolic antiseptic
Ibsen Peer Gynt
Strauss Blue Danube
1868
Last British election for which Poll Books available
Last convicts landed in Australia (Western Australia)
Impressionist movement begins to emerge in art
1869
Disestablishment of Irish Church
Imprisonment for debt abolished in Britain
May 10: Transcontinental railway completed in America
Nov 17: Suez Canal opens
Nov 23: Cutty Sark launched in Dumbarton
HJ Heinz Company founded in USA, with its '57 Varieties'
Ballbearings, celluloid, margarine, washing machine all invented
1870
GPO takes over the privately-owned Telegraph Companies (nationalised)
Jun 1: Telegraph link to India first open for business
Sep: Unification of Italy completed
Oct 1: First British postcard – halfpenny post
Board Schools start attempting to impose consistent spelling (Forster's Act?)
Dr Thomas Barnardo opens his first home for destitute children
Water closets come into wide use
Diamonds discovered in Kimberley, South Africa (some say 1866)
Britain possesses 43% of world's merchant steam tonnage
1870-1900
Art & Crafts Period (Art & Antiques)
1871
Mar 27: First Rugby Football international, England v Scotland, played in Edinburgh
Mar 29: Opening of Royal Albert Hall
Apr 2: Fourth full British census
Jun 16: University Tests Act allows students to enter Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities without religious tests
Jun 29: Trades Unions legalised in Britain, but picketing made illegal
Bank Holidays Act
(see 1971)
Commissions in British armed forces no longer to be purchased
FA Cup introduced
Nov 10: Henry Morton Stanley finds Dr David Livingstone in Africa (in Ujiji near Lake Tanganyika)
Gilbert and Sullivan begin a 20 year collaboration
Verdi Aida
1872
Mar 16: First FA Cup – Wanderers FC beat Royal Engineers AFC 1-0 at the Oval
Jul 18: Secret Ballot introduced in Britain (no further Poll Books produced)
Nov 30: First international football match, at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow between Scotland and England – nil-all draw
Dec 4: American ship Mary Celeste is found abandoned by the British brig Dei Gratia in the Atlantic Ocean – the ship was unmanned but under full sail – she was recovered and used again for another 12 years or so
Licensing hours introduced
Penalties introduced for failing to register births, marriages & deaths (Eng & Wales)
Penny-farthing bicycles in general use
Over 32,000 friendly societies in England
1873
Mar 1: Remington & Sons start to manufacture the new Scholes and Glidden typewriter (named Remington from 1876)
Glidden invents barbed wire
Jules Verne Around the World in 80 Days
1874
Disraeli and the Tories come to power in Britain – pass 11 major Acts of social reform in next 2 years
First Trades Union MP is elected
Factory Act introduces 56-hour week
Apr 5: Birkenhead Park opened, said to be the first civic public park in the world – features of it later copied in Central Park, New York
Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd
Verdi Requiem
1875
Jan 1: Midland Railway abolishes Second Class passenger facilities, leaving First Class and Third Class. Other British railway companies followed during the rest of the year. (Third Class was renamed Second Class in 1956)
London's main sewage system completed
Aug 24: Captain Matthew Webb becomes first person to swim the English Channel (taking 21 hours 45 mins)
Artisan's Dwellings Act
Climbing Boys Act passed
Peaceful picketing permitted again
Universal Postal Union established at Geneva
Britain takes 42% share in Suez Canal
Bizet Carmen
1876
Feb 14: Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray each file a patent for the telephone – Bell awarded the rights
Feb 18: Direct telegraph link established between UK and New Zealand
Annual centralised list of Scottish Wills from now (and most from 1823 also)
Civil Registration of deaths in Isle of Man started
Plimsoll Line established for loading of ships
Dewey decimal classification for publishers introduced by Melvil Dewey
May 1: Victoria proclaimed Empress of India
Jun 25: Battle of Little Big Horn – Custer's last stand; last major North American Indian victory
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
1877
Mar 15: First cricket Test Match begins (between Australia and England in Melbourne) – Australia won by 45 runs
First tennis championships at Wimbledon
Edison invents microphone and phonograph – demonstrated first sound recording on 6th Dec
Schiaperelli observes 'canals' on Mars
1878
Feb 11: First weekly weather forecast published by the Meteorological Office
Edison & Swan invent electric lamp
Red Flag Act in Britain limits mechanical road vehicles to 4mph (see 1896)
CID established at New Scotland Yard
Gilbert and Sullivan HMS Pinafore
1879
Jan 11: Start of Anglo-Zulu war
Jan 22: Battle of Rorke's Drift in the Anglo-Zulu Warr
Feb 27: Discovery of Saccharin announced (Fahlberg and Remsen)
Jun 1: First Tay Bridge completed (Thomas Bouch)
Sep 18: Blackpool illuminations switched on for first time
Dec 28 (Sunday): Tay Bridge Disaster – bridge collapsed in storm taking train with it – enquiry revealed corners had been cut during construction to reduce costs – replacement bridge constructed in 1887
First telephone exchanges opened in London & Manchester
Church of Christ Scientist established at Boston
Ibsen Doll's House
1880
Education Act: schooling compulsory for 5-10 year olds
The Burial Laws Amendment Act, 1880, Section 13 – To be buried under this Act normally means that the person buried was a non-conformist; the burial service was performed by a Non-Conformist minister, but in a Church of England church, as the burial was going to take place in the churchyard. Before that time, non-conformists could not be buried in parish churchyards.
Aug 2: Greenwich Mean Time adopted throughout UK
Britain possesses half world's merchant steam tonnage
Mosquito found to be the carrier of malaria
Rodin The Thinker
1881
Apr 3: Fifth full British Census
Sep: Godalming in Surrey became the first town in England to have a public electricity supply installed (but in 1884 it reverted to gas lighting until 1904)
Postal Orders introduced
First Boer War – Transvaal independence recognised
Flogging abolished in Army and Royal Navy
Oct 26: Gunfight at OK Corral
1882
May 6: Phoenix Park murders in Dublin
Aug 29: Australia defeat England by seven runs in a Test match at The Oval – Institution of 'the Ashes' in cricket
Standard Oil Co controls 95% of US oil refining capacity
Fourth Eddystone Lighthouse completed
TB bacillus discovered by Koch
Conan Doyle A Study in Scarlet, first appearance of Sherlock Holmes
Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
1883
May 24: Brooklyn Bridge, New York opens (crosses East River)
Aug 1: Parcel post starts in Britain
Oct 4: Foundation of the Boys' Brigade in Glasgow by William Smith
Foundation of the Primrose League, British Conservative organisation, by Lord Randolph Churchill
Married Women's Property Act of 1882 becomes law
Ekman opens a wood pulp mill in England, for manufacture of paper (he had opened one in Sweden in 1874)
Aug 27: Eruption of Krakatoa near Java – 30,000 killed by tidal wave
Statue of Liberty presented to USA by France
Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island
1884
Jan 29: Appearance of the first 'fascicle' [from 'A' to 'ant'] ofOxford English Dictionary (full Dictionary not completed until 1928)
The Third Reform Bill – vote given to agricultural workers
May 31: John Harvey Kellogg patents corn flakes
Sep 22: Herman Hollerith patents his mechanical tabulating machine
Oct 13: Standard Meridian Conference – Greenwich made prime meridian of the world
Oct 14: George Eastman patents the first film in roll form to prove practicable; in 1888 he perfected the Kodak camera
Bateman's Great Landowners published (relates to land values in 1882)
Fabergé produces the first of his jewelled Easter eggs for the Tsar
1884-1918
Art Noveau Period (Art & Antiques)
1885
Jan 26: Fall of Khartoum, General Gordon killed
Mar: First UK cremation in modern times took place at Woking (see 1902)
Mar 14: First performance of The Mikado
Jun 17: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbour (in 350 pieces on board the French frigate Isθre)
Sep 5: The first train runs through the Severn Tunnel
Aug 29: Gottlieb Daimler patents the world's first motorcycle
Sep 29: First electric tramcar used at Blackpool (some say first in Britain ran March 1882 in East London)
Carl Benz builds the 'Motorwagen', a single-cylinder motor car
Secretary for Scotland appointed
Canadian Pacific Railway completed
Twain Huckleberry Finn
1886
Gladstone's first Irish Home Rule Bill rejected, despite his famous three-hour speech
Crofters Holdings (Scotland) Act – created legal definitions of crofting parish and crofter, granted security of tenure to crofters and produced the first Crofters Commission
Jan 9: Severn Rail Tunnel opened, but full service only started in December – longest mainline railway tunnel within the UK until 2007
Jan 18: The Hockey Association formed in England
Jan 20: Mersey railway (under Mersey) opened by Prince of Wales
May: Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage later named "Coca-Cola"
May 29: Putney Bridge opens in London
Sep 9: Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works finalised
Hardy The Mayor of Casterbridge
Millais Bubbles
1887
May 9: Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens in London
Jun 8: Herman Hollerith receives a patent for his punch card calculator
Jun 21: Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
Jul 13: Second Tay Bridge opened
Jul 26: The Unua Libro (First Book) was published describing the international language Esperanto
Daimler produces a four-wheeled motor car
Kipling Plain Tales
Haggard She
1888
Mar 2: Convention of Constantinople guarantees free maritime passage through Suez Canal in war and peace
Mar 22: English Football League formed
Jack the Ripper active in east London during the latter half of the year
County Councils set up in Britain
Dunlop invents pneumatic tyre
First box camera – George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak, and receives a patent for his camera which uses roll film
First successful adding machine patented by William Seward Burroughs in the USA
Dec 23: Vincent van Gogh cuts off the lower part of his left ear
First known recording of classical music – Handel's Israel in Egypt on wax cylinder
Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade
Van Gogh Sunflowers
1889
Mar 31: Eiffel Tower completed (to mark centenary of French Revolution)
May 14: Children's charity NSPCC launched in London
Jun 3: Canadian Pacific Railway completed from coast to coast
Jul 8: First issue of the Wall Street Journal published
Aug 14: London Dock Strike – docker's won their "Docker's Tanner", 6 old pennies
Sep 28: Length of a metre defined
Oct 6: Moulin Rouge cabaret opens in Paris
Celluloid film produced
Gilbert & Sullivan Gondoliers; Jerome K Jerome Three Men in a Boat
1890
Jan 25: Nellie Bly returns to New York having gone round the world in 72 days using steamships and existing railroad systems
Mar 4: Forth railway bridge opens – took six years to build
Nov 4: City & South London Railway opens – London's first deep-level tube railway and first major railway in the world to use electric traction
1891
Mar 18: First telephone link between London & Paris
Apr 5: Sixth full British Census
Primary education made free and compulsory
May 4: Fictional date when Sherlock Holmes throws Moriarty over Reichenbach Falls, then disappears for 3 years! (published in 1893)
Ordnance Survey maps Epoch 2 – date range 1891-1912 (see 1904)
Aug 24: Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera
1892
Jan 1: Ellis Island immigration station opens in New York (closed in 1954)
Electric oven invented
Shop Hours Act – limit 74 hours per week for under-18s
May 20: Last broad-gauge train leaves Paddington for Plymouth
Oct 6: Alfred Lord Tennyson dies, aged 83, at his house Aldworth, near Haslemere
Oct 31: Arthur Conan Doyle publishes the first Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Dec 18: First performance of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet (in St Petersburg)
1893
Keir Hardy founds Independent Labour Party
Henry Ford's first car
Feb 4: Official opening of Liverpool Overhead Railway by Marquis of Salisbury
Jun 7: Gandhi's first act of civil disobedience (in South Africa)
Oct 1893–Jan 1894: First Matabele War
Tchaikovsky 6th symphony (Pathιtique), and suicide
1894
Jan 1: Manchester Ship Canal opens
Local Government Act passed (start of civil parish councils, etc)
Picture postcard introduced in Britain
Mar 1: Blackpool Tower opens
May 21: Queen Victoria opens Manchester Ship Canal
Jun 23: International Olympic Committee founded at the initiative of Baron Pierre de Coubertin
Jun 30: Tower Bridge first opens
Aug 2: Death duties first introduced in Britain
Dec 22: Alfred Dreyfus convicted of treason in France
Beatrice and Sidney Webb History of Trade Unionism
Kipling Jungle Book
Shaw Arms and the Man
Debussy L'Apres-midi d'un Faune
1895
Jan 12: The National Trust founded in England
London School of Economics (LSE) established
Mar 22: First public showing of film on screen in Paris by Lumières
Gugliemo Marconi invents wireless telegraphy – message over a mile
Safety razor invented by King C Gillette
Jul 12: First recorded motor journey of any length (56 miles) in Britain
Oct 17: First people in Britain to be charged with motor offences – John Henry Knight and James Pullinger of Farnham, Surrey
May 24: Henry Irving becomes the first person from the theatre to be knighted
May 28: Oscar Wilde sent to prison
Nov: Röntgen discovers X-rays
Sir Henry Wood starts Promenade Concerts in London
HG Wells The Time Machine
Chekov The Seagull
1896
Mar 31: Zip fastener patented by Whitcomb L Judson
Mar 1896–Oct 1897: Second Matabele War
Apr 6–15: First modern Olympic Games held in Athens
May 4: Daily Mail first published
Jun 2: Guglielmo Marconi receives a British patent (later disputed) for the radio
Aug: Start of Klondyke Gold Rush in the Yukon
Repeal of the 1878 Red Flag Act – removed the need for a crew of three, and increased the speed limit to 14 mph (first London to Brighton run on14 Nov in celebration, now an annual event)
Dec 14: Opening of the Underground Railway (the "shooglie") in Glasgow – remains the only underground in Scotland
Term psychoanalysis first comes into use
Puccini La Boheme
Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra
1897
Jun 22: Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
Flora Thompson leaves 'Candleford Green'
Oct: Arthur Conan Doyle and family move into Undershaw at Hindhead – it had cost him just over £6,000 to build – they threw a big fancy-dress party at Christmas to celebrate, with 160 guests (including Jean Leckie who later became his second wife)
Workmen's Compensation Act: employers liable for insurance of workforce
Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector
Bram StokerDracula
1898
First photograph using artificial light
Mar 17: USS Holland launched, the first practical submarine
Jun 27: The first solo circumnavigation of the globe completed at Rhode island by Joshua Slocum in Spray (started from Boston, Mass on Apr 24, 1895)
Zeppelin builds airship
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company founded
The Curies discover Radium
Oscar Wilde The Ballad of Reading Gaol
Henry James The Turn of the Screw
1899-1902
Second Boer War
1899
Oct 11: Start of Second Boer War
Nov 15: Winston Churchill captured by Boers
Board of Education established in Britain
Britain's first 'Garden City' laid out at Letchworth
Valdemar Poulsen invents the tape recorder
Johann Vaaler designs the paper clip
Mar 6: Aspirin first marketed by Bayer
Elgar Enigma Variations; Sibelius Finlandia
Sigmund Freud The Interpretation of Dreams
1900
Jan 24: Spion Kop reached by British; massive losses by Lancashire Regiment
Feb 9: Davis Cup tennis competition established
Feb 27: Labour Party formed
Feb 28: Relief of Ladysmith after a siege of 118 days
May 17: Relief of Mafeking
June/July: Boxer rising in Peking
School leaving age in Britain raised to 14 years
Central Line opens in London: underground is electrified
Dec 10: Nobel prizes first awarded
Dec 14: Max Planck publishes his book on Quantum Mechanics
Escalator shown at Paris exhibition
1901
Commonwealth of Australia founded
Jan 22: Queen Victoria dies – Edward VII king
Feb 2: Queen Victoria's funeral – interred beside Prince Albert in the Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park.
Mar 31: Seventh full British Census (available for inspection Jan 2002)
June: Denunciation of use of concentration camps by British in Boer War
Aug 30: Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner
Oct 2: Britain's first submarine launched
Dec 12: First successful radio transmission across the Atlantic, by Marconi – Morse code from Cornwall to Newfoundland
Ragtime introduced into American jazz
Trans-Siberian Railway opens
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.2
Kipling Kim
1902
Balfour's Education Act provides for secondary education
Cremation Act – cremation can only take place at officially recognised establishments, and with two death certificates issued
May 24: Empire Day (later Commonwealth Day) first celebrated
May 31: Treaty of Vereeniging ends Second Boer War
Aug 9: Coronation of Edward VII, following the end of the Boer War
Oct 24: Arthur Conan Doyle reluctantly accepts a knighthood
Marie Curie discovers radioactivity
USA acquires perpetual control of Panama Canal (not yet completed, see 1913)
Discovery by physicist Heaviside of atmospheric layer which aids conduction of radio waves
Times Literary Supplement appears for first time
1903
Workers' Education Association (WEA) formed in Britain
Women's Social and Political Union formed in Britain by Emmeline Pankhurst
Jul 19: First Tour de France cycle race finishes
Dec 14: First flight of Wilbur & Orville Wright (some say 17th Dec)
Henry Ford sets up his motor company
Bertrand Russell Principles of Mathematics
Shaw Man and Superman
Chekov The Cherry Orchard
1904
Leeds University established
Apr 8: France and UK sign the Entente Cordiale
May 4: America takes over construction of the Panama Canal from the French (completed 1914)
Jul 16: 'Bloomsday' in Dublin – the day James Joyce uses for his novel Ulysses
Dec: Metropolitan Line in London goes electric
First successful caterpillar track is made
Ordnance Survey maps Epoch 3 – date range 1904-1939 (see 1919)
Barrie Peter Pan (legend says he invented the name Wendy for this, but the name exists in census records as early as 1880)
Puccini Madame Butterfly
1905
The title 'Prime Minister' noted in a royal warrant for the first time – placed the Prime Minister in order of precedence in Britain immediately after the Archbishop of York
Aliens Act in Britain: Home Office controls immigration
Germany lays down the first Dreadnought battleship
Apr 11: Einstein publishes Special Theory of Relativity (see 1916)
Nov 28: Irish nationalist Arthur Griffith founds Sinn Fιin
Dec 5: Part of the roof of Charing Cross station in London collapsed, killing 5 people – the station remained closed until 19 March 1906
Dec 9: French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State
Picasso begins his 'Pink Period' in Paris
Lehar The Merry Widow
Debussy La Mer
1906
Free school meals for poor children
Feb 10: Launching of HMS Dreadnought, first turbine-driven battleship
Mar 15: Rolls-Royce Ltd registered
Apr 18: San Francisco earthquake and fire: Contemporary accounts reported that 498 people lost their lives, though modern estimates put the number in the several thousands. More than half the city's population of 400,000 were left homeless
May 26: Vauxhall Bridge opened in London
Sep 12: Newport transporter bridge opened
Sep 20: Launching of Cunard's RMS Mauretania on the Tyne
Dec 15: Opening of the Piccadilly Line in London
Freud and Jung begin their association
Amundsen traverses the north-west passage
HW Fowler The King's English
1907
School medical system begins
New Zealand becomes a Dominion
Jan 7: Selborne Memorandum, reviewing the situation in favour of a Union in South Africa (see 1910)
Imperial College, London, is established
First airship flies over London
Jul: Leo Hendrik Baekeland patents Bakelite, the first plastic invented that held its shape after being heated
Aug 1-9: Baden-Powell leads the first Scout camp on Brownsea Island
Nov 9: The Cullinan Diamond presented to Edward VII on his birthday
Pavlov begins his studies on conditioned reflexes
Lumiere develops a process for colour photography
Diaghilev begins to popularise ballet
First 'Cubist' exhibition in Paris
Mahler Symphony No.8
1908
Coal Mines Regulation Act in Britain limits men to an eight hour day
Separate courts for juveniles established in Britain
Lord Baden-Powell starts the Boy Scout movement
Jun 30: The Tunguska event occurs near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia – most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment
Jul1: SOS became effective as an international signal of distress (see 1909)
Aug 12: First 'Model T' Ford made
Grahame The Wind in the Willows
1909
Jan 1: Old Age Pensions Act came into force
Jan 16: Ernest Shackleton's expedition finds the magnetic South Pole
Mar 15: Selfridges department store opens in London
Jul 25: Bleriot flies across the Channel (36 minutes, Calais to Dover)
Aug 11: First SOS signal sent (some say June 10 by Cunard liner Slavonia)
Beveridge Report prompts creation of labour Exchanges
Peary reaches the north pole
First commercial manufacture of Bakelite – start of the plastic age
1910
Constitutional crisis in Britain
Railway strike and coal strikes in Britain
May 6: Edward VII dies – George V king
May 31: Union of South Africa formed – Botha first Prime Minister
Dr Crippen caught by radio telegraphy; hanged 23 Nov at Pentonville
Madame Curie isolates radium
Halley's comet reappears
Tango becomes popular in North America and Europe
Stravinsky The Fire Bird
1911
Parliament Act in Britain reduces the power of the House of Lords
British MPs receive a salary
Feb 18: First official flight with air mail takes place in Allahabad, British India
Apr 2 Census: Pop. E&W 36M, Scot 4.6M, NI 1.25M
May 15: Standard Oil in USA broken up into 33 companies
Jun 22: Coronation of George V
Jul 19: Opening of Royal Liver Building in Liverpool
Dec 12: Delhi replaces Calcutta as the capital of India
Dec 14: National Insurance in Britain
Dec 14: Amundsen reaches the south pole
First British Official Secrets Act
Rutherford: theory of atomic structures
GK Chesterton The Innocence of Father Brown
Irving Berlin Alexander's Rag-time Band
1911-1912
Strikes by seamen, dock and transport workers
1912
Irish Home Rule crisis grows in Britain
Jan 18: Captain Scott's last expedition – he and his team reach the south pole on Jan 18th; all die on the way back, their bodies found in November; news reached London 10 Feb 1913
Mar 1: Albert Berry makes the first parachute jump from a moving airplane (in USA)
Apr 14: The 'unsinkable' Titanic sinks on maiden voyage – loss of 1,513 lives
May 13: Royal Flying Corps (later the RAF) founded in Britain
Britain nationalises the telephone system
Daily Herald founded – lasts until 1964
Discovery of the 'Piltdown Man' – hoax, exposed in 1953
1913
Jan 30: Third Irish Home Rule Bill rejected by House of Lords – threat of civil war in Ireland – formation of Ulster Volunteers to oppose Home Rule
Suffragette demonstrations in London – Apr 2: Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst sentenced to three years imprisonment
May 20: First Chelsea Flower Show held in London
Jun 4: Emily Davison, a suffragette, runs out in front of the king's horse, Anmer, at the Epsom Derby and dies
Trade Union Act in Britain establishes the right to use Union funds for political purposes
Aug: Invention of stainless steel by Harry Brearley of Sheffield
Oct 14: 439 miners die in the Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, Britain's worst pit disaster
Dec 21: Arthur Wynne's 'word-cross,' the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World
Geiger invents his counter to measure radioactivity
Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
DH Lawrence Sons and Lovers
Shaw Pygmalion
1914-1918
First World War (the "Great War")
1914
 
Mar: The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) published separately for the first time
Apr 11: First British performance of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion
Jun 28: Archduke Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo
Jul 14: The Government of Ireland Bill (Irish Home Rule Act) completes its passage through the House of Lords
Aug 4: Britain declares war on Germany, citing Belgian neutrality as reason
Aug 5: British cableship Alert cut through all five of Germany's undersea telegraph links to the outside world
Aug 6: Germany's Atlantic U-boat Campaign begins
Aug 10: All suffragette prisoners released unconditionally
Aug 12: Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary
Aug 15: Panama Canal opened, the Canal cement boat Ancon making the first official transit (plans for a grand opening were cancelled due to the start of WW1)
Sep 5: Drawing by Alfred Leete of Lord Kitchener with slogan 'Your Country Needs You' first published
Oct-Nov: Battle of Ypres – beginning of trench warfare on western front
Nov 27: First policewoman goes on duty in Britain
Dec 16: German battleships bombard Hartlepool and Scarborough
Irish Home Rule Act provides for a separate Parliament in Ireland; the position of Ulster to be decided after the War
James Joyce The Dubliners
Chaplin and De Mille make their first films
Burroughs Tarzan of the Apes
Vaughan Williams London Symphony
1915
Jan 19: First Zeppelin air raid on England, over East Anglia – four killed
Feb: Submarine blockade of Britain starts
Apr-May: Second Battle of Ypres – poison gas used for first time
Apr 25: Gallipoli campaign starts (declared ANZAC Day in 1916)
May 7: RMS Lusitania sunk by German submarine off coast of Ireland – 1,198 died
May 16: First meeting of a British WI (Women's Institute) took place in Llanfairpwll (aka Llanfair PG), Anglesey
Junkers construct first fighter aeroplane
Coalition Government formed in Britain under Asquith
First automatic telephone exchange in Britain
Buchan The Thirty-nine Steps
1916
Feb-Dec: Battle of Verdun – appalling losses on both sides, stalemate continues
Apr 24: Easter Rising in Ireland – after the leaders are executed, public opinion backs independence
May 21: First use of Daylight Saving Time in UK (although Sir Ernest Shackleton, on Endurance ice-bound in the Weddell Sea, advanced the expedition's time by one hour on Sunday 26th Sep 1915)
May 31-Jun 1: Battle of Jutland – only major naval battle between the British and German fleets
Jun 5: Sinking of HMS Hampshire and death of Kitchener
Sep 15: First use of tanks in battle, but of limited effect (Battle of the Somme 1 July–18 Nov: over 1 million casualties)
Aug 3: Sir Roger Casement hanged at Pentonville Prison for treason
Nov 19: Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures
Dec 7: Lloyd-George becomes British Prime Minister of the coalition
Compulsory military service introduced in Britain
Einstein General Theory of Relativity
Kafka Metamorphosis
Holst The Planets
Jazz sweeps through America
1917
February revolution in Russia; Tsar Nicholas abdicates
USA declares war on Germany
Battle of Cambrai – first use of massed tanks, but effect more psychological than actual
Apr 16: Lenin returns to Russia after exile
Apr 17: USA declares war on Germany
May 26: George V changes surname from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor (Royal proclamation on 17 July)
Jul-Nov: Battle of Passchendaele – little gained by either side
Oct 17: Trans-Australian railway line completed
Nov 2: Balfour Declaration: Britain will support a Jewish state in Palestine
Nov 7: 'October' Revolution in Russia – Bolsheviks overthrow provisional government; Lenin becomes Chief Commissar
Dec 6: Halifax (Nova Scotia) Explosion, one of the world's largest artificial non-nuclear explosions to date: a ship loaded with wartime explosives blew up after a collision, obliterating buildings and structures within two square kilometres of the explosion
Dec 9: British forces capture Jerusalem
Ministry of Labour is established in Britain
Daniel Jones English Pronouncing Dictionary
1918
Mar 8: Start of world-wide 'flu pandemic
Apr 1: Royal Air Force replaces The Royal Flying Corps
Jul-Aug: Second Battle of the Marne: last major German offensive
Oct 1: Arab forces under Lawrence of Arabia capture Damascus
Nov 11: Armistice signed
Vote for women over 30, men over 21 (except peers, lunatics and felons)
Dec: First woman elected to House of Commons, Countess Markiewicz as a Sinn Fιin member refused to take her seat
War of Independence in Ireland
1918-1939
Art Deco Period (Art & Antiques)
1919
Britain adopts a 48-hour working week
Irish MPs meet as Dail Eirann
Jan 18: Bentley Motors founded
Jun 15: Alcock and Brown complete first nonstop flight across the Atlantic
Jun 28: Treaty of Versailles signed
Nov 28: First woman to sit in House of Commons (Viscountess Astor)
Sir Ernest Rutherford became the first person to transmute one element into another when he converted nitrogen into oxygen through nuclear reaction
Ordnance Survey maps Epoch 4 – date range 1919-1943 (see 1945)
Keynes The Economic Consequencies of War
Sassoon War Poems
HL Mencken The American Language
1920
Jan 16: Prohibition starts in USA (lasts until Dec 1933)
Feb: First roadside petrol filling station in UK – opened by the Automobile Association at Aldermaston on the Bath Road
Nov 15: First General Assembly of the League of Nations (in Geneva)
Regular cross-channel air service starts
Oxford University admits women to degrees
Marconi opens a radio broadcasting station in Britain
Thompson patents his machine gun (Tommy gun)
DH Lawrence Women in Love
1921
Jun 19 Census: Pop. E&W 37.9M, Scot 4.9M, NI 1.25M
Dec 6: Anglo-Irish Treaty signed in London, leading to the formation of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland
Irish Regiments of British Army disbanded
Railway Act in Britain amalgamates companies – only four remained
Insulin discovery announced
First birth control clinic
Chaplin The Kid, first full-length film
Prokofiev The Love for Three Oranges
1922
Fall of Lloyd-George coalition
Law of Property Act – the manorial system effectively ended
Jun 1: Royal Ulster Constabulary founded
Oct: BBC established as a monopoly, and begins transmissions in November (2LO in London on 14 Nov; 5IT in Birmingham and 2ZY in Manchester on 15 Nov)
Dec 6: Irish Free State comes into existence
Einstein General Theory of Relativity
TS Eliot The Waste Land
Joyce Ulysses published Feb 2 in Paris
1923
Jan 1: The majority of the railway companies in Great Britain grouped into four main companies, the Big Four: LNER, GWR, SR, LMSR – lasted until nationalisation in 1948
Feb 16: Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Tutankhamun
Mussolini becomes dictator of Italy
Apr 28: First Wembley cup final (West Ham 0, Bolton 2) – "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," popular song of the time, became the West Ham anthem
Jul 13: The Hollywood Sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood
Sep 28: First publication of Radio Times
Nov: Massive inflation in Germany leads to collapse of the currency
Roads in Great Britain classified with A and B numbers
Hubble shows there are galaxies beyond the Milky Way
First American broadcasts heard in Britain
Dec 31: Chimes of Big Ben broadcast on radio for the first time
Freud The Ego and the Id
PG Wodehouse The Inimitable Jeeves
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
1924
Jan 4–Nov 4: First Labour government in Britain, headed by Ramsay MacDonald
Jan 21: Death of Lenin; succeeded by Stalin
Jan 22: Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister
Feb 5: Hourly Greenwich Time Signals from the Royal Greenwich Observatory (the 'pips') were first broadcast by the BBC
Mar 31: British Imperial Airways begins operations (formed by merger of four British airline companies – became BOAC in 1940)
Forster A Passage to India
1925
Britain returns to gold standard
Jul 18: Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf
Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
Noel Coward Hay Fever
Charleston dance becomes fashionable
1926
Apr 21: Princess Elizabeth born
May 3: General Strike begins, lasted until May 12 (mine workers for 6 months more)
Oct 31: Death of Harry Houdini
First public demonstration of television (TV) by John Logie Baird
Electricity (Supply) Act authorised the creation of the National Grid in the UK (Initial grid completed 1933, fully established in 1938)
 
Adoption of children is legalised in Britain
May 9: Richard E Byrd claims to make a flight over north pole, later disputed (see 1929)
Dec 28: Highest recorded cricket innings (1,107 runs by Victoria v NSW at Melbourne)
Kodak produces 16mm movie film
Walt Disney arrives in Hollywood
HW Fowler Dictionary of Modern English Usage
1927
Jan 7: First transatlantic telephone call – New York City to London
Jan 22: First live broadcast in the world on radio of a football match (by BBC – Arsenal v Sheffield United at Highbury)
May 9: Canberra becomes Federal Capital of Australia (Government moved in on this date; construction had begun in 1913)
May 1: First cooked meals on a scheduled flight introduced by Imperial Airways from London to Paris
May 20-21: Lindbergh makes solo flight across the Atlantic, in 33½ hours
May 31: Last Ford Model T rolls off assembly line
Jul 24: The Menin Gate war memorial unveiled at Ypres
Parts of the Diocese of Winchester split off to create the two new Diocese of Guildford and Portsmouth
Release of the first 'talkie' film (The Jazz Singer)
1928
Women over 21 get vote in Britain – same qualification for both sexes
Apr 19: The 125th and final fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary is published (see 1884)
Apr 26: Madame Tussauds opens in London
Teleprinters start to be used
Jul 14: First pylon erected for the National Grid
Sep 15: Sir Alexander Fleming accidentally discovers penicillin (results published 1929)
Nov 1: Turkey adopts Roman alphabet
Nov 18: Walt Disney's 'Mickey Mouse' pictures begin
Dec 20: First chip shop opened in Guiseley by Harry Ramsden – Britain's longest established restaurant chain
DH Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover
Ravel Bolero
Brecht and Weill The Threepenny Opera
1929
Abolition of Poor Law system in Britain
Minimum age for a marriage in Britain (which had been 14 for a boy and 12 for a girl) now 16 for both sexes, with parental consent (or a licence) needed for anyone under 21
Feb 14: Screen debut of Mickey Mouse – same day as St Valentine's Day massacre!
Oct 24: Wall Street crash on 'Black Thursday', followed on Oct 29 by 'Black Tuesday, regarded as the start of the Great Depression' – the Dow Jones Index didn't recover to its pre-crash level until 1954
BBC begins experimental TV transmissions
Nov 29: Richard E Byrd becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole
Einstein Unified Field Theory
Hemingway A Farewell to Arms
1930
Jan 31: 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape
Feb 1: The Times publishes its first crossword puzzle, compiled by Adrian Bell, aged 28
Mar 6: Clarence Birdseye first marketed frozen peas (Springfield, Mass)
First Nazis elected to the German Reichstag
Jul 30: Uruguay beats Argentina 4-2 to win the first Football World Cup
Oct 5: R101 airship disaster – British abandons airship construction
Youth Hostel Association (YHA) founded in Britain
Nov 13: Discovery of dwarf planet Pluto by Tombaugh
Film All Quiet on the Western Front
1931
Apr 14: Highway Code first issued
Apr 26 Census: Pop. E&W 40M, Scot 4.8M, NI 1.24M (but details destroyed by fire during WW2)
May 1: Empire State Building completed in New York
Statute of Westminster: British Dominions become independent sovereign states
Oct 21: National Government formed to deal with economic crisis – Britain comes off gold standard
Collapse of the German banking system; 3,000 banks there close
Unemployment in Germany reaches 5.66M
1932
Great Hunger March of unemployed to London
Moseley founds British Union of Fascists
Roosevelt elected President of USA
Slump grows worse in USA; 5,000 banks close, unemployment rises
Cockroft and Walton accelerate particles to disintegrate an atomic nucleus
Mar 19: Sydney Harbour Bridge opened
May 20/21: Amelia Earhart first solo nonstop flight across Atlantic by a female pilot
Jul 12: Lambeth Bridge in London opens
Oct 3: Iraq gains independence from Britain
Oct 3: The Times introduces Times New Roman typeface
Sir Thomas Beecham established the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Huxley Brave New World (see 1963)
1933
Jan 30: Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany
Roosevelt launches his 'New Deal'
Oxford Union: "This House will in no circumstances fight for King and Country"
Jul 1: London Transport came into being
Sep: Last pylon of the initial National Grid erected
Nov 12: First known photos of the 'Loch Ness Monster' taken
Dec 5: Prohibition ends in USA
ICI scientists discover polythene
Only 6 pennies minted in Britain this year
1934
Hitler becoms Fuehrer of Germany
Mao Tse-tung's 'Long March' starts in China
Mar 26: Driving tests introduced in UK? (but see 1935)
Apr 4: 'Cats eyes' first used in the road in UK
May 28: The Glyndebourne festival inaugurated
Jun 9: Cartoon character Donald Duck first appears
Jul 18: King George V opens Mersey Tunnel
Sep 26: RMS Queen Mary launched
Nov 30: First time a steam locomotive goes at 100 mph ('Flying Scotsman')
Graves I, Claudius
Flying Down to Rio first Rogers/Astaire film
1935
Feb 28: Nylon first produced by Gerard J. Berchet of Wallace Carothers' research group at DuPont (there is no evidence to the widely-supposed story that the name derives from New York-London)
Mar 12: Hore-Belisha introduces pedestrian crossings and speed limits for built-up areas in Britain
London adopts a 'Green Belt' scheme
Jun 1: Voluntary driving tests introduced in UK (others say Mar 13, but see also 1934)
Jul 30: Penguin paperbacks launched
Sep 3: Land speed record of 301.13 mph by Malcolm Campbell on Bonneville Salt Flats
Oct 3: Italy invades Abyssinia
Dec 17: First flight of the Douglas DC-3 'Dakota' aircraft
Talking books started with the publication of Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Joseph Conrad's Typhoon
TS Eliot Murder in the Cathedral
1936
Jan 20: George V dies; Edward VIII king
May 5: First flight of a Spitfire
Jet engine first tested
May 27: RMS Queen Mary makes maiden voyage
Jesse Owens wins 4 gold medals at Berlin Olympic Games
Jul 18: Spanish Civil War starts
Jul 24: 'Speaking clock' service starts in UK
Oct: Jarrow march to London
Nov 2: British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, world's first public TV transmission
Nov 30: Crystal Palace destroyed by fire
Dec 5: Edward VIII abdicates (announced Dec 10) – popular carol that Christmas: "Hark the Herald Angels sing, Mrs Simpson's got our King"
Duke of York becomes George VI
Chaplin film Modern Times
Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf
1937
Apr 12: Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft
Apr 26: German planes bomb Guernica in Spain
Apr 27: Golden Gate Bridge opens in San Francisco
May 6: Zeppelin Hindenburg destroyed by fire in USA after lightning struck it at the landing tower
May 12: Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth
May 28: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco officially opened
May 28: Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister – policy of appeasement towards Hitler
Jun 3: Duke of Windsor marries Wallis Simpson
Jul 5: Spam introduced into the market by Hormel Foods Corporation
Jul 7: Japanese forces invade China
Dec 4: The Dandy first published
Dec 21: Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs opens – first feature-length animated cartoon
Alan Turing publishes outline of his 'Turing Machine'
'999' emergency telephone call facility starts in London
Billy Butlin opens his first holiday camp
Steinbeck Of Mice and Men; JRR Tolkien The Hobbit
Carl Orff Carmina Burana
Picasso Guernica
1938
Mar 12: Germany invades and annexes Austria
Jul 3: 'Mallard' does 126 mph (203 km/h); still world record for a steam locomotive
Sep 27: Largest ocean liner ever built Queen Elizabeth launched on Clydebank
Sep 29: Chamberlain visits Hitler in Munich – promises 'peace in our time'
Oct 30: Orson Welles broadcasts his radio play of HG Wells's The War of the Worlds, causing panic in the USA
Principle of paid holidays established in Britain
HMS Rodney first ship to be equipped with radar
First practical ball-point pen produced by Hungarian journalist, Lajos Biro
1939-45
Second World War (the "Peoples War")
1939
Germany annexes Czechoslovakia
Sep 1: Germany invades Poland
Sep 3: Britain and France declare war on Germany at 5pm
Sep 6: First air-raid on Britain
Sep 11: British Expeditionary Force (BEF) sent to France
Oct 14: HMS Royal Oak sunk in Scapa Flow with loss of 810 lives
Dec 7: 'First flight' of Canadian troops sail for Britain – 7,400 men on 5 ships
Dec 17: Admiral Graf Spee scuttled outside Montevideo
Start of evacuation of women and children from London
Coldest winter in Britain since 1894, though this could not be publicised at the time
1940
Apr 1:BOAC starts operations, replacing Imperial and British Airways Ltd
May 11: National Government formed under Churchill
May 13: Germany invades France
May 15: Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time in the United States
May 27-Jun 4: Evacuation of British Army at Dunkirk
Jun 25: Fall of France
Aug 21: Trotsky assassinated in Mexico on Stalin's orders
Sep 7: Germany launches bombing blitz on Britain, the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing
Sep 12: Prehistoric wall paintings found at Lascaux Caves in France
Sep 15: Battle of Britain: massive waves of German air attacks decisively repulsed by the RAF – Hitler postpones invasion of Britain
Nov 7: Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge collapses in USA four months after its completion (famously filmed)
Nov 14: Coventry heavily bombed and the Cathedral almost completely destroyed
First successful helicopter flight?? (probably earlier)
Films: Fantasia, The Great Dictator
Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls
1941
No census – total British population estimated at 48.2M
May 10: Rudolf Hess flies to Scotland (to offer peace?)
May 27: 'Bismark' sunk
June 22: Germany invades Russia (Operation Barbarossa)
July 1: First Canadian armoured regiments arrive in Britain
Sep 27: First Liberty ship (SS Patrick Henry) launched in Baltimore
Oct 31: Sculptures (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln) on Mount Rushmore completed – started in 1927
Sunday Dec 7: Japan attackes US fleet at Pearl Harbour
Dec 8: USA enters the War
Dec: Canadian forces given operation role in defending south coast of England
Dec 24: Hong Kong falls to the Japanese
Manhattan Project of nuclear research begins in America
Britain introduces severe rationing
First British jet aircraft flies, based on work of Whittle
Bailey invents his portable military bridge
First use of antibiotics
Film Citizen Kane
1942
May 30: Over 1,000 bombers raid Cologne
Jun 4: Battle of Midway
Aug 19: Abortive raid on Dieppe, largely by Canadian troops
Oct 3: First successful launch of V2 rocket in Germany – first man-made object to reach space
Oct 3: The world was blessed with me!
 
Oct 23-Nov 4: Battle of El Alamein – Montgomery defeats Rommel
Nov 19: Battle of Stalingrad – in Operation Uranus, Soviet Union forces turn the tide of the German invasion of the USSR
Dec 2: Manhattan Project – a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction
Invention of world's first programmable computer by Alan Turing in co-operation with Max Neumann – used to crack German codes
Beveridge Report Social Security and National Insurance
Gilbert Murray founds Oxfam
Film Bambi
1943
May 16: 'Dam Buster' raids on Ruhr dams by RAF
Allies invade Italy – Benito Mussolini resigns as Italian Dictator, 24 July
Round-the-clock bombing of Germany begins
Nov 30: Tehran Conference – Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet
Antibiotic Streptomycin isolated by Waksman
1944
Apr 6: PAYE income tax begins
Jun 4: Allies enter Rome
Jun 6: D-Day invasion of Normandy
Jun 12: First V1 flying bombs hit London
Sep 8: First V2 rocket bombs hit London
Sep 11: Allies enter Germany
Dec 16: Battle of the Bulge: German counter-offensive
Butler Education Act: Britain to provide secondary education for all children
1945
Feb 4: Yalta Conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin
Mar 29: Last V1 flying bomb attack
Apr 25: Berlin surrounded by Russian troops
Apr 30: Hitler commits suicide
May 8: VE Day
May 9: Channel Islands liberated
Jun 26: UN Charter signed, in San Francisco
Jul 16: First ever atomic bomb exploded in a test in New Mexico (although there were other forms of atomic device before that, such as the Pile at Stagg Field, first critical on 2nd Dec 1942)
Jul 26: Labour win UK General Election – Churchill out of office
Jul 29: BBC Light Programme starts
Aug 6: Atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima
Aug 9: Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
Aug 15: VJ Day
Sep 2: Japanese surrender was signed aboard USS Missouri
Oct 24: United Nations Organisation comes into existence (charter ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council – Republic of China, France, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and United States – and by a majority of the other 46 signatories)
Nov 4: UNESCO founded
Nov 29: The Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia is declared
Dec 5: Loss of 'Flight 19' on a training exercise starts the Bermuda Triangle legend
Dec 27: World Bank established
Ordnance Survey maps Epoch 5 – dates range from 1945
Orwell Animal Farm
Britten Peter Grimes opera
Brecht The Caucasian Chalk Circle
Flora Thompson Lark Rise to Candleford
1946
Jan 1: First civil flight from Heathrow Airport
Mar 1: Bank of England nationalised
Mar 5: Churchill uses the term 'Iron Curtain' in a speech in Missouri
Transition to National Health Service starts in Britain (came into being 5th July 1948)
Jul 25: US starts nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll – hence the name adopted for the garment which 'reveals the most potent forces of nature'!
Sep: First Cannes Film Festival held
Oct 7: Start of Dick Barton, Special Agent on BBC radio – until March 1951
Oct 23: First session of new United Nations Organisation held, in Flushing Meadow, New York
Alistair Cooke starts his regularLetter from America on BBC radio – until 2004
Russell History of Western Philosophy
O'Neill The Iceman Cometh
1947
Most severe winter in Britain for 53 years at start of the year – heavy snow and much flooding later
Jan 1: Coal Mines nationalised
Feb 7: First Dead Sea Scrolls found (discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves)
Feb 23: International Organization for Standardization (ISO) founded
Mar 1: International Monetary Fund begins financial operations
Apr 1: School leaving age raised to 15 in Britain
Aug 14/15: India gains independence: sub-continent partitioned to form India (Secular, Hindu majority) and Pakistan (Islamic)
First British nuclear reactor developed
Oct 14: Chuck Yeager first to break the sound barrier
Oct 26: British military occupation ends in Iraq
Nov 20: Marriage of Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) and Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey
Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire
1948
Jan 1: British Railways nationalised
UN sanctions the creation of the State of Israel – first Israel/Arab war
Jan 30: Gandhi assassinated in Delhi
Apr 3: Marshall Plan signed by President Truman for rebuilding the allied countries of Europe (aid had started in 1947 and ended in 1951)
Policy of apartheid starts in South Africa
Jul 1: Berlin airlift starts (to 30 Sep 1949)
Jul 5: National Health Service (NHS) begins in Britain
Jul 29: London Olympics begin
Oct 12: First Morris Minor produced
British Citizenship Act : all Commonwealth citizens qualify for British passports
Transistor radio invented
Long-playing record (LP) invented by Goldmark
Kinsey Report in USA Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male
World Health Organisation (WHO) established as part of UN
200 inch reflecting telescope completed at Mount Palomar, California (construction started in 1936)
'Steady State' theory of the Universe proposed by Bondi and Gold
Mailer The Naked and the Dead
1949
Mar 15: Clothes rationing ends in Britain
Apr 4: Twelve nations sign The North Atlantic Treaty creating NATO
Apr 20: First Badminton Horse Trials held
May 12: Russians lift the Berlin blockade
Aug 29: Russians explode their first atomic bomb
Sep 30: Berlin airlift ends
De Haviland produces the Comet – first jet airliner (see 1952)
Maiden flight of the Bristol Brabazon (broken up in 1953 for scrap)
Orwell 1984, (written in 1948, for which the title in an anagram)
Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman
Film The Third Man
1950
Mar 8: McCarthy begins Inquiry into Un-American Activities (Tydings Committee)
May 19: Points rationing ends in Britain
May 26: Petrol rationing ends in Britain
Jun 25: Korean War starts (to 27 Jul 1953)
Jun 28: England beaten 1-0 at soccer by the USA in the World Cup
Jul 11: Andy Pandy first seen on BBC TV
Sep 9: Soap rationing ends in Britain
Oct 7: China invades Tibet
Dec 28: The Peak District becomes the Britain's first National Park
UN Building completed in New York (opened 9 Jan 1951)
1951
Census: Pop. E&W 43.7M, Scot 5M. NI 1.37M
Jan 1: First episode of The Archers broadcast
May 3: Festival of Britain and Royal Festival Hall open on South Bank, London
May 28: First Goon Show broadcast
Oct 31: Zebra crossings introduced into law in Britain
Dec 20: Electricity first produced by nuclear power, from Experimental Breeder Reactor I in Idaho (see 1962)
Salinger Catcher in the Rye
Britten Billy Budd
1952
Feb 1: First TV detector van commissioned in Britain
Feb 6: George VI dies; Elizabeth II queen, returns from Kenya
Feb 21: Identity Cards abolished in Britain
Mar 17: Utility furniture and clothing scheme ends
Apr: Kingsway tram tunnel in London closes
May 2: First commercial jet airliner service launched, by BOACComet between London and Johannesburg
Jul 5: Last tram runs in London (Woolwich to New Cross)
Aug 16: Lynmouth flood disaster
Sep 6: DH110 crashes at Farnborough Air Show, 26 killed
Sep 29: John Cobb killed in attempt on world water speed record on Loch Ness
Oct 5: End of tea rationing in Britain
Oct 3: Britain explodes her first atomic bomb, in Monte Bello Islands, Australia
Oct 8: Harrow & Wealdstone rail crash, 112 killed
Nov 1: The first H-bomb ever ('Mike') was exploded by the USA – the mushroom cloud was 8 miles across and 27 miles high. The canopy was 100 miles wide. Radioactive mud fell out of the sky followed by heavy rain. 80 million tons of earth was vaporised.
Nov 5: Eisenhower sweeps to power as US President
Nov 14: First regular UK singles chart published by the New Musical Express
Nov 25: Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap opens in London
Dec 4: Great smog hits London
Contraceptive pill invented (see 1961)
Radioactive carbon used for dating prehistoric objects
Bonn Convention: Britain, France and USA end their occupation of West Germany
Becket Waiting for Godot
Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea
Steinbeck East of Eden
1953
Jan 31/Feb 2: Said to be the biggest civil catastrophe in Britain in the 20th century – severe storm and high tides caused the loss of hundreds of lives –- effects travelled from the west coast of Scotland round to the south-east coast of England [The Netherlands were even worse affected with over a thousand deaths]
Feb 5: Sweet rationing ends in Britain
Mar 5: Death of Stalin
Mar 26: Jonas Salk announces his polio vaccine
Apr 24: Winston Churchill knighted
Apr 25: Francis Crick and James D Watson publish the double helix structure of DNA (see 1962)
May 29: Everest conquered by Hillary and Tensing
Jun 2: Coronation of Elizabeth II
Jul 27: End of the Korean War
Aug 12: USSR explodes Hydrogen Bomb
Sep 26: Sugar rationing ends in Britain (after nearly 14 years)
Nov 21: Piltdown Man skull declared a hoax by the Natural History Museum
Nov 25: Hungary becomes the first football team outside the British Isles to beat England at home, winning 6-3 at Wembley Stadium
Dec 1: Playboy magazine first published – Marilyn Monroe as centrefold
Dec 10: Pilkington Brothers patent the float glass process
Arthur Miller The Crucible
1954
Apr 11: 'The most boring day in history' since 1900? – according to a survey by by True Knowledge, apparently nothing happened worthy of report!
May 6: First sub 4 minute mile (Roger Bannister, 3 mins 59.4 secs)
May 10: Bill Haley and the Comets release Rock Around the Clock
Jul 3: Food rationing officially ends in Britain
Jul 5: BBC broadcasts its first television news bulletin
Sep 30: First atomic powered sumbmarine USS Nautilus commissioned
First comprehensive school opens in London (Kidbrooke School in the London Borough of Greenwich)
Routemaster bus starts operating in London [or was it 1956?] (see also 2005)
Nov: First transistor radios sold
Dylan Thomas Under Milk Wood
Golding Lord of the Flies
Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
British Top 20 begins – first No.1 was Hold My Hand by Don Cornell
1955
Royal Commission on Common Land started – led to 1965 Common Land Registration Act
Apr 7: Anthony Eden becomes Prime Minister
Apr 12: Anti-polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk declared safe and effective to use (available to public 1 May 1956)
Jul 27: Allied occupation of Austria (after WW2) ends
Sep 22: Commercial TV starts in Britain – first advert was for Gibbs SR toothpaste – BBC Radio kills off Grace Archer in retaliation
Dec 12: Christopher Cockerell patents the hovercraft
'Mole' self-grip wrench patented by Thomas Coughtrie of Mole & Sons
Nabokov Lolita
Pop music: Bill Haley Rock Around the Clock
1956
Mar 1: Radiotelephony spelling alphabet introduced (Alpha, Bravo, etc)
Apr 17: Premium Bonds first launched – first prizes drawn on 1 Jun 1957 (and mine still hasn't won!)
May 24: The first Eurovision Song Contest is held in Lugano, Switzerland – won by the host nation
Jun 3: 3rd class travel abolished on British Railways (renamed 'Third Class' as 'Second Class', which had been abolished in 1875 leaving just First and Third Class)
Sep 25: Submarine telephone cable under the Atlantic becomes operational
Oct 23: Hungarians protest against Soviet occupation (protest crushed on 4 Nov)
Oct 31: Britain and France invade Suez
Nov 16: Suez canal blocked for a few months (see also 1957 & 1967)
Britain constructs world's first large-scale nuclear power station in Cumberland
Emergence of the Angry Young Men in English literature
Pop music: Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
1957
Jan 11: Harold Macmillan becomes Prime Minister
Feb 16: BBC TV started to broadcast Six-Five Special, breaking the 'Toddlers' Truce' of no broadcasting 6-7pm
Mar 8: Suez canal reopened by the Egyptians (see 1956)
Mar 25: Treaty of Rome to create European Economic Community (EEC) of six countries: France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg – became operational Jan 1958
Apr 26: First Sky at Night broadcast by BBC – presented by Patrick Moore
May 14: Post-Suez petrol rationing ends
May 15: Britain explodes her first hydrogen bomb, at Christmas Island
Jun 1: Premium Bonds first prizes drawn
Sep 26: West Side Story opens in New York
Oct 4: Sputnik I launched by Soviet Union – first artificial satellite
Nov 3: Sputnik 2 launched by Soviet Union – carried a dog ('Laika')
Dec 4: Lewisham rail disaster – 90 killed as two trains collide in thick fog and a viaduct collapses on top of them
Queen's first Christmas TV broadcast
 
Helvetica typeface developed (in Switzerland)
Pop music: Elvis Presley All Shook Up
1958
Jan 31: Launch of Explorer 1 – first American satellite
Van Allen radiation belt round the earth confirmed by Explorer 1
Feb 6: Munich air disaster – Manchester United team members killed
Feb 25: CND launched
Mar 17: USA launches its first satellite (Vanguard 1) – space race with the USSR begins
Easter: First anti-nuclear protest march to Aldermaston (emergence of CND)
May 13: Velcro trade mark registered
Jul 10: Britain's first parking meters installed, Mayfair, London
Jul 26: Charles created Prince of Wales
First life peerages awarded
Race riots in Britain, at Notting Hill and in Nottingham
Aug 3: USS Nautilus travels under the polar ice cap
USA begins to produce Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs)
Electronic computers begin to be used in research, industry and commerce
Stereophonic records come into use
Oct 5: Charles de Gaulle establishes Fifth Republic in France – and is elected President on 21 Dec
Oct 13: Michael Bond publishes the first Paddington Bear story
Oct 26: First commercial flight of Boeing 707 (NY to Paris)
Dec 5: Inauguration of Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) in Britain (completed in 1979)
Dec 5: Preston by-pass opens – UK's first stretch of motorway
The Beatles pop group formed
Radio: Beyond Our Ken starts
Beckett Krapp's Last Tape
Pasternak Dr Zhivago
Pop music: Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire; Everly Brothers All I Have to do is Dream
1959
Jan 3: Alaska became the 49th state of the USA
Feb 3: 'The Day The Music Died' – plane crash kills Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper
Feb 17: Vanguard 2 satellite launched – first to measure cloud-cover distribution
Apr 25: St Lawrence Seaway opens
May 24: Empire Day becomes Commonwealth Day
Aug: BMC Mini car launched
Aug 21: Hawaii becomes 50th State of the USA
Sep 14: USSR crash-lands unmanned Lunik on the moon
Oct 3: Postcodes introduced in Britain
Nov 1: First section of M1 motorway opened
Charles de Gaulle becomes French President
European Free Trade Association (EFTA) established as an alternative to the EEC
Leakey discovers 600,000 year-old human remains in Tanganyika
Films Some Like it Hot and La Dolce Vita
Anouilh Becket
Pop music: Buddy Holly It Doesn't Matter Any More; Cliff Richard Living Doll; Adam Faith What Do You Want
'The Year that changed Jazz': Miles Davis Kind of Blue; Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um; Dave Brubeck Time Out; Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come
1960
Feb 3: Macmillan 'wind of change' speech in South Africa
Seventeen African colonies become independent this year
Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa
Mar 17: New £1 notes issued by Bank of England
Mar 18: Last steam locomotive of British Railways named
Jul 21: Francis Chichester arrives in New York aboard Gypsy Moth II (took 40 days), winning the first single-handed transatlantic yacht race which he co-founded (see 1967)
Aug 12: Echo I, the first (passive) communications satellite, launched
Aug: Russian Sputnik 5 orbits carrying two dogs, 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants on board – all returned safely
Sep 12: MoT tests on motor vehicles introduced
Sep 29: Nikita Khrushchev disrupts the United Nations General Assembly with a number of angry outbursts
Oct 1: HMS Dreadnought nuclear submarine launched
Nov 2: Penguin Books found not guilty of obscenity in the Lady Chatterley's Lover case
Nov 19: First vertical flight of a Harrier jump-jet, at Dunsfold
Dec 9: First episode of Coronation Street broadcast – on 17 Sept 2010 became the world's longest-running TV soap opera currently in production
Dec 31: National Service ended
First lasers demonstrated
International Agreement to reserve Antarctica for scientific research (came into force 23 June 1961)
Pinter The Caretaker
Film: Hitchcock Psycho
Pop music: Eddie Cochran Three Steps to Heaven; Shadows Apache; Beatles first album Please Please Me
1961
Jan 1: Farthing ceases to be legal tender in UK
Jan 20: John F Kennedy becomes US President
Mar 8: First US Polaris submarines arrive at Holy Loch
Mar 13: Black & White £5 notes cease to be legal tender
Mar 14: New English Bible (New Testament) published
Apr 12: Yuri Gagarin first man in space – followed shortly afterwards by Alan Shepard on 5th May
Apr 23: Census: Pop. E&W 46M, Scot 5.1M, NI 1.4M
May 1: Betting shops legal in Britain
May 25: John F Kennedy announces his goal to put a "man on the moon" before the end of the decade
Aug 13: Berlin Wall construction starts (wall existed until Nov 1989)
Oct 10: Volcanic eruption on Tristan da Cunha – whole population evacuated to Britain
Oral contraceptive launched
Joseph Heller Catch-22
Film West Side Story
Pop music: Helen Shapiro Walking Back to Happiness
1962
Feb 20: John Glenn first American in orbit (3 circuits in Friendship 7)
Apr 26: US Ranger 4 crashes on the far side of the Moon without returning any scientific data
May 25: Consecration of new Coventry Cathedral (old destroyed in WW2 blitz) – Britten War Requiem
Jun 15: First nuclear generated electricity to supplied National Grid (from Berkeley, Glos)
Jul 10: First TV transmission between US and Europe (Telstar) – first live broadcast on 23 Jul
Jul 20: First passenger-carrying hovercraft enters service, along the North Wales Coast from Moreton to Rhyl – but ends Sep 14.
Aug 5: Marilyn Monroe found dead
Aug 5: Nelson Mandela jailed
Aug 6: Jamaica gains full independence from the United Kingdom
Oct 24: Cuba missile crisis – brink of nuclear war
Nov 28: Britain and France agree to construct Concorde (see 1969)
Dec 22: No frost-free nights in Britain till 5 Mar 1963
Britain passes Commonwealth Immigrants Act to control immigration
Nobel Prize awarded to Watson, Crick, and Wilkins for discovery of molecular structure of DNA (see 1953)
Thalidomide withdrawn after it causes deformities in babies
Film Jules et Jim
Solzhenitsyn A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Pop music: Beatles Love Me Do
1963
Jan: Cold weather forces cancellation of most football matches (only 4 English First Division matches in the month) – the first 'pools panel' created
Mar 27: Beeching Report on British Railways (the 'Beeching Axe')
Jun 5: Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns in a sex scandal
Jun 16: Valentina Tereshkova first woman in space
Jun 20: The "red telephone" link established between Soviet Union and United States following the Cuban Missile Crisis
Aug 1: Minimum prison age raised to 17
Aug 8: 'Great Train Robbery' on Glasgow to London mail train
Aug 28: Martin Luther King gives his I have a dream speech
Sep 17: Fylingdales (Yorks) early warning system operational
Sep 25: Denning Report on Profumo affair
Nov 18: Dartford Tunnel opens
Nov 22: President Kennedy assassinated in Dallas, Texas; Aldous Huxley died the same day
Nov 23: First episode of Dr Who on BBC TV
France vetoes Britain's entry into EEC
Pop music: Beatles achieve international fame — release of Please Please Me, From Me to You, She Loves You, I Want to Hold Your Hand
Rachel Carson Silent Spring, on the effects of chemical pesticides on the environment
Film The Birds
1964
Jan 1: First 'Top of the Pops' on BBC TV
Feb 7: The Beatles arrive on their first visit to the United States
Feb 25: Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) beats Sonny Liston
Apr 9: First Greater London Council (GLC) election
Apr 21: BBC2 TV starts
Jul 31: US Ranger 7 sends back 4,000 photos from the moon before impact
Aug 22: Match of the Day starts on BBC2
Sep 4: Forth road bridge opens
Sep 15: The Sun newspaper founded in Britain, replacing the Daily Herald
Oct 16: Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister
Oct 16: China explodes an atomic bomb
 
McLuhan Understanding Media
CP Snow Corridors of Power
Films Dr Strangelove and A Fistful of Dollars
Pop music: Beatles Can't Buy Me Love, A Hard Day's Night, I Feel Fine; Rolling Stones It's All Over Now, Little Red Rooster; Animals House of the Rising Sun; Chuck Berry No Particular Place to Go
1965
Jan 24: Winston Churchill dies age 90
Feb 7: First US raids against North Vietnam
Feb 25: I'll Never Find Another You by The Seekers No.1 in UK
Mar 18: Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov becomes the first man to 'walk' in space
Apr 6: Launch of Early Bird commercial communications satellite
Jul 16: Mont Blanc road tunnel opens (begun in 1957)
Aug 1: TV ban on cigarette advertising in Britain
Aug 5: Common Land Registration Act – people who thought they still held common rights had to register them
Aug 15: The Beatles play at Shea Stadium in New York City
Sep 21: Oil strike by BP in North Sea (or natural gas?)
Oct 8: Post Office Tower operational in London
Oct 28: Death penalty for murder suspended in Britain for five-year trial period, then abolished 18 Dec 1969
Nov 11: Declaration of UDI in Rhodesia
Dec 22: 70mph speed limit on British roads
Britain enacts first Race Relations Act
Pop music: Beatles Ticket to Ride, Help!, Day Tripper; Rolling Stones The Last Time; Kinks Tired of Waiting for You; Byrds Mr Tambourine Man; Bob Dylan Like a Rolling Stone
1966
Feb 3: Soft landing on moon by unmanned Luna 9 – followed by Surveyor 1
Feb 14: Australia converts from £ to $
Mar 23: Archbishop of Canterbury meets Pope in Rome
May 3: The Times begins to print news on its front page in place of classified advertisements
May 16: Seamen's strike begins (ended 1 Jul)
Jul 30: World Cup won by England at Wembley (4-2 in extra time v West Germany)
Sep 8: First Severn road bridge opens
Oct 21: Aberfan disaster – slag heap slip kills 144, incl. 116 children
Dec 1: First Christmas stamps issued in Britain
Eighteen new universities were created in Britain between 1961–1966
Pop music: Sinatra Strangers in the Night; Beach Boys Good Vibrations
1967
Jan 4: Donald Campbell dies attempting to break his world water speed record on Conniston Water – his body and Bluebird recovered in 2002
Jan 27: Three US astronauts killed in fire during Apollo launch pad test
Mar 18: Torrey Canyon oil tanker runs aground off Lands End – first major oil spill
May 25: Celtic become the first British team to win the European Cup
May 28: Francis Chichester arrives in Plymouth after solo circumnavigation in Gipsy Moth IV (he was knighted 7th July at Greenwich by the queen using the sword with which Elizabeth I had knighted Sir Francis Drake four centuries earlier – see 1581)
Jun 5-10: Six Day War in Middle East – closes Suez Canal for 8 years (until 1975)
Jun 27: First withdrawal from a cash dispenser (ATM) in Britain – at Enfield branch of Barclays
Jul 1: First colour TV in Britain
Jul 13: Public Record Act – records now closed for only 30 years (but the census is still closed for 100 years)
Jul 18: Withdrawal from East of Suez by mid-70s announced
Aug 14: Offshore pirate radio stations declared illegal by the UK
Sep 3: Sweden changes rule of road to drive on right
Sep 20: QE2 launched on Clydebank
Sep 27: Queen Mary arrives Southampton at end of her last transatlantic voyage
Sep 30: BBC Radios 1, 2, 3 & 4 open – first record played on Radio 1 was the controversial Flowers in the Rain by 'The Move'
Oct 5: Introduction of majority verdicts in English courts
Oct 9: Che Guevara killed in Bolivia – becomes a cult hero
Oct 18: Russian spacecraft Venus IV became first successful probe to perform in-place analysis of the environment of another planet
Dec 3: First human heart transplant (in South Africa by Christiaan Barnard)
Richard Leakey discovers ancient human fossil remains in the Omo River valley in Ethiopia
McLuhan The Medium is the Message
Film The Graduate
Stoppard Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Pop music: Monkees I'm a Believer; Beatles All You Need is Love, Sgt Pepper; Procul Harem A Whiter Shade of Pale
1968
Jan 30: Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam
Feb 18: British Standard Time introduced – Summer Time became permanent [which I remember thinking was a great idea!], but contrary arguments prevailed and we reverted to GMT in October 1971 :–(
Apr 18: London Bridge sold (and eventually moved to Arizona) – modern London Bridge, built around it as it was demolished, was opened in Mar 1973
Apr 20: Enoch Powell 'Rivers of Blood' speech on immigration
Apr 23: Issue of 5p and 10p decimal coins in Britain
May 10: Student riots in Paris
May 29: Manchester United first English club to win the European Cup
Jun 5: Robert F Kennedy shot – dies next day
Jul 29: Pope encyclical condemns all artificial forms of birth control
Aug 11: Last steam passenger train service ran in Britain (Carlisle–Liverpool)
Aug: Soviets crush freedom movement in Czechoslovakia
Sep 15: Severe flooding in England
Sep 16: Two-tier postal rate starts in Britain
Sep 27: Hair opens in London
Oct 5: Beginning of disturbances in N Ireland
Commenwealth Immigration Act further restricts immigrants
Martin Luther King (Apr 4) and Robert Kennedy (Jun 6) both assassinated in USA
Christmas: Apollo 8 orbits the moon with a crew of 3 and returns to Earth safely
The term Pulsar first used for radio stars emitting regular pulses of energy
Film 2001
Pop music: Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash; Beatles Hey Jude; Status Quo Pictures of Matchstick Men
1969
Jan 30: The Beatles' last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London
Mar 2: Maiden flight of Concorde, at Toulouse
Mar 7: Victoria Line tube opens in London
Mar: B&Q (first DIY superstore) founded in Southampton by Richard Block and David Quayle
Apr 17: Voting age lowered from 21 to 18
May 2: Maiden voyage of liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2)
Jul 1: Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle
Jul 20/21: Apollo 11 – First men land on the moon (Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin)
Jul 31: Halfpenny ceases to be legal tender in Britain
Aug 8: Iconic photograph taken of The Beatles crossing the zebra crossing on Abbey Road, London
Aug 14: Civil disturbances in Ulster – Britain sends troops to support civil authorities
Aug 15-18: Woodstock Music Festival in NY State attracts 300,000 fans
Sep 7: First episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus recorded
Oct 14: 50p coin introduced in Britain (reduced in size 1998)
Nov 19: Apollo 12 – second manned landing on the moon (Charles Conrad & Alan Bean)
Dec 18: Death penalty for murder abolished in Britain (had already been suspended since Oct 1965)
Open University established in Britain, teaching via radio and TV (first students started Jan 1971)
Labour Government issues White Paper In Place of Strife – attempts to reform the Trades Union movement
Roth Portnoy's Complaint
Films Easy Rider and Midnight Cowboy
Pop music: Marvin Gaye I Heard it on the Grapevine; Beatles Abbey Road
1970
Mar 16: Publication of complete New English Bible
Apr 11: Apollo 13 launched – oxygen tank explosion aborted the moon landing mission two days later – successfully returned to Earth on 17 Apr
Jun 17: Decimal postage stamps first issued for sale in Britain
Jun 19: Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister
Jul 30: Damages awarded to Thalidomide victims
Sep 19: First Glastonbury Festival held
Nov 20: Ten shilling note (50p after decimalisation) goes out of circulation in Britain
Boeing 747 (Jumbo jet) goes into service
Film MASH
Pop music: Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
1971
Jan 1: Divorce Reform Act (1969) comes into force
Jan 3: Open University starts
Feb 15: Decimalisation of coinage in UK and Republic of Ireland
Aug 9: Internment without trial introduced in N Ireland
Aug 10: First of the 'Mr Men' books by Roger Hargreaves published
Oct 28: Parliament votes to join Common Market (joined 1973)
Oct 28: UK launches its first (and for many years only) satellite, Prospero
Nov 13: Mariner 9, becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet (Mars)
Banking and Financial Dealings Act – replaced the Bank Holidays Act of 1871
Sunday becomes the seventh day in the week as UK adopts decision of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) to call Monday the first day
'Greenpeace' founded
Rolls-Royce declared bankrupt
Film A Clockwork Orange
Pop music: Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven recorded in Headley Grange
1972
Jan 30: 'Bloody Sunday' in Derry, Northern Ireland
Feb 9: Power workers crisis
Mar 2: Pioneer 10 launches, carrying a plaque featuring the nude figures of a human male and female along with several symbols that are designed to provide information about the origin of the spacecraft
May 22: Ceylon changes its name to Sri Lanka
May 28: Duke of Windsor (ex-King Edward VIII) dies in Paris
Oct 5: United Reformed Church founded out of Congregational and Presbyterian Churches in E&W
Oct 10: John Betjeman becomes Poet Laureate
Dec 7: Last manned moon mission, Apollo 17, launched – crew take the 'Blue marble' photograph of earth
Britain imposes direct rule in Northern Ireland
Strict anti-hijack measures introduced internationally, especially at airports
1973
Jan 1: Britain enters EEC Common Market (with Ireland and Denmark)
Jan 27: Vietnam ceasefire agreement signed
Mar 17: Modern London Bridge opened by the Queen
Apr 1: VAT introduced in Britain
Apr 3: First call made (in New York) on a portable cellular phone
May 14: Skylab launched
Sep 26: Concorde makes its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time
Oct 6: Yom Kippur War precipitates world oil crisis
Oct 22: Sydney Opera House opens
Oct 14: Marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips in Westminster Abbey
Dec 31: Miners strike and oil crisis precipitate 'three-day week' (till 9 Mar 1974) to conserve power
Pop music: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon
1974
Jun1: Flixborough disaster: explosion at chemical plant kills 28 people
Jun 26: First scanning of a barcoded product (a 10-pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio)
Aug 8: President Nixon resigns over Watergate scandal
Nov 7: Lord Lucan disappears
Nov 21: Birmingham pub bombings by the IRA
Dec 5: Last episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus broadcast on BBC
Several new 'counties' formed in Britain
US Mariner satellite transmits detailed pictures of Venus and Mercury
India becomes the sixth nation to explode a nuclear device
1975
Jan: First personal computer (Altair 8800) introduced (others say the Apple II in 1977) [see 1981]
Feb 11: Margaret Thatcher becomes leader of Conservative party (in opposition)
Feb 28: Moorgate tube crash in London – over 43 deaths, greatest loss of life on the Underground in peacetime. The cause of the incident was never conclusively determined
Mar 4: Charlie Chaplin knighted
Apr 30: End of Vietnam war
Jun 5: Suez canal reopens (after 8 years closure)
Jun 5: UK votes in a referendum to stay in the European Community
Jul 5: Arthur Ashe wins Wimbledon singles title
Jul 17: American Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock in orbit
Oct 29: 'Yorkshire Ripper' commits his first murder
Nov 3: First North Sea oil comes ashore
Nov 20: General Franco dies in Spain; Juan Carlos declared King
Nov 29: The name 'Micro-soft' coined by Bill Gates (Microsoft' became a Trademark the following year)
Dec 27: Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Act come into force
Unemployment in Britain rises above 1M for first time since before WW2
Dutch Elm disease devastates trees across UK
Domestic video cassette recorders introduced
West Indies win the first cricket World Cup
Film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Pop music: Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here; Queen Night at the Opera
1976
Jan 21: Concorde enters supersonic passenger service [see 2000]
Jan 31: Mamma Mia by Abba No.1 in UK
Aug 6: Drought Act 1976 comes into force — the long, hot summer
'Cod War' between Britain and Iceland
Deaths exceeded live births in E&W for first time since records began in 1837
James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister
Death of Mao Tse-tung
Apr 1: Apple Computer formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Viking 1 & Viking 2 landed on Mars
National Theatre opens in London
1977
Mar 23: Lib-Lab pact
Apr 2: Red Rum wins a third Grand National
May 25: George Lucas' film Star Wars released
Jun 1: Road speed limits: 70mph dual roads; 60mph single
Jun 5: Apple II, the first practical personal computer, goes on sale
Jun 7: Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in London
Jun 30: Virginia Wade wins the Ladies Singles title at Wimbledon
Aug 16: Elvis Presley dies
Astronomers observe rings round Uranus
Oct 26: Eradication of smallpox world-wide declared by WHO (certified in 1979)
Nov 22: Regular supersonic Concorde service betweeen London and NY inaugurated
Pop music: Wings Mull of Kintyre; rise of Punk bands such as 'The Sex Pistols'
1978
Apr 8: Regular broadcast of proceedings in Parliament starts
May 1: First May Day holiday in Britain
Jul 25: World's first 'test tube' baby, Louise Browne born in Oldham
Oct 15: Pope John Paul II elected – a Pole, and first non-Italian for 450 years – died 2 Apr 2005
Nov 30: Publication of The Times suspended – industrial relations problems (until 13 Nov 1979)
Film The Deer Hunter
Pop music: Fleetwood Mac Rumours
1979
Jan 6: YMCA by Village People reached No.1 in UK
Feb 1: Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran
Mar 1: 32.5% of Scots vote in favour of devolution (40% needed) – Welsh vote overwhelmingly against
Mar 30: Airey Neave killed by a car bomb at Westminster
Mar 31: Withdrawal of Royal Navy from Malta
Apr 30: Jubilee Line opens on London Underground system
May 4: Margaret Thatcher becomes first woman UK Prime Minister
Jul 1: Sony introduces the Walkman
Aug 27: Lord Mountbatten and 3 others killed in bomb blast off coast of Sligo, Ireland
Sep 18: ILEA votes to abolish corporal punishment in its schools
Oct: VisiCalc spreadsheet released in USA
Nov 13: The Times returns to circulation
Dec 1: Lancaster House agreement to give Southern Rhodesia independence (became Zimbabwe on 18 Apr 1980)
Dec 18: Sound barrier exceeded on land for first time
1980
May 4: Death of President Tito of Yugoslavia
May 5: SAS storm Iranian Embassy in London to free hostages
Dec 8: John Lennon assassinated in New York
'Solidarity' formed by unions in Poland
'Stealth' bomber developed by USA
Film The Elephant Man
1981
Jan 10: Imagine by John Lennon No.1 in UK
Jan 25: Launch of SDP by 'Gang of Four' in Britain
Mar 29: First London marathon run
Apr 5: Census day in Britain
Apr 11: Brixton riots in South London – 30 other British cities also experience riots
Apr 12: First US Space Shuttle (Columbia) launched – see 2011 for last Space Shuttle flight
Apr 25: Worst April blizzards this century in Britain
Apr 27: First use of computer mouse (by Xerox PARC system)
June: First cases of AIDS recognised in California
Jul 17: Queen opens the Humber Estuary Bridge
Jul 29: Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (divorced 28 Aug 1996)
Aug 12: IBM launches its PC — starts the general use of personal computers
Film Chariots of Fire
1982
Jan 26: Unemployment reached 3 million in Britain (1 in 8 of working population)
Feb 5: Laker Airways collapses
Feb 19: DeLorean Car factory in Belfast goes into receivership
Mar 18: Argentinians raised flag in South Georgia
Apr 2: Argentina invades Falkland (Malvinas) Islands
Apr 5: Royal Navy fleet sails from Portsmouth for Falklands
May 2: British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sinks Argentine cruiser General Belgrano
May 28: First land battle in Falklands (Goose Green)
May 29: Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope pray together in Canterbury Cathedral
Jun 14: Ceasefire in Falklands
Jun 21: Birth of Prince William of Wales
Jul 20: IRA bombings in London (Hyde Park and Regents Park)
Sep 19: Smiley emoticon :-) said to have been used for the first time
Oct 11: Mary Rose raised in the Solent (sank in 1545)
Oct 31: Thames Barrier raised for first time (some say first public demonstration Nov 7)
Nov 2: Channel 4 TV station launched – first programme 'Countdown'
Nov 4: Lorries up to 38 tonnes allowed on Britain's roads
Dec 12: Women's peace protest at Greenham Common (Cruise missiles arrived 14 Nov 1983)
First permanent artificial heart fitted in Salt Lake City
Film ET
1983
Jan 17: Start of breakfast TV in Britain
Jan 25: Spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 released
Jan 31: Seat belt law comes into force
Apr 21: £1 coin into circulation in Britain
Oct 7: Plans to abolish GLC announced
Nov 26: Brinks Mat robbery: 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million are stolen from a vault at Heathrow Airport
First female Lord Mayor of London elected (Dame Mary Donaldson)
Pop music: Michael Jackson Thriller
1984
Jan 9: FTSE index exceeded 800
Jan 24: Apple Macintosh computer introduced in USA
Mar 6: Miners strike begins
Apr 17: Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher killed by gunfire from the Libyan Embassy in London
Jun 22: Inaugural flight of Virgin Atlantic
Jul 9: York Minster struck by lightning – the resulting fire damaged much of the building but the "Rose Window" not affected
Oct 12: IRA bomb explodes at Tory conference hotel in Brighton – 4 killed
Oct 24: Miners' strike — High Court orders sequestration of NUM assets
Oct 31: Indira Gandhi assassinated
Dec 3: British Telecom privatised – shares make massive gains on first day's trading
Dec 3: Bhopal disaster in India
Dec 15: Pop Music: Band Aid Do they know it's Christmas? reaches No.1
Dec 20: Summit Tunnel Fire near Todmorton
George Orwell got it wrong? (in his book '1984', written in 1948)
1985
Mar 3: Miners agree to call off strike
Mar 11: Al Fayed buys Harrods
Mar 18: First episode of Neighbours in Australia
May 29: Heysel Stadium disaster in Brussels
Jun 14: Schengen Agreement on abolition of border controls agreed between Belgium, France, West Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands – not implemented until 26 Mar 1995 when it also included Spain & Portugal – by 2007 there are 30 states included
Jul 13: Live Aid pop concert raises over £50M for famine relief
Sep 1: Wreck of Titanic found (sank 1912)
1986
Mar 31: GLC and 6 metropolitan councils abolished
Apr 26: Chernobyl nuclear accident – radiation reached Britain on 2 May
May 7: Mannie Shinwell, veteran politician, dies aged 101
May 26: The European Community adopts the European flag
Jul 23: Prince Andrew, Duke of York marries Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey
Oct 27: 'Big Bang' (deregulation) of the London Stock Market
Oct 29: M25 ring round London completed with the section between J22 and J23 (London Colney and South Mimms)
Dec 23: Safe landing of first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling (took 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds)
1987
Feb 2: Terry Waite kidnapped in Beirut (released 17 Nov 1991)
Mar 6: Car ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes off Zeebrugge – 188 die
Jul 1: Excavation begins on the Channel Tunnel (see 1990 & 1994)
Aug 19: Hungerford Massacre – Michael Ryan kills sixteen people with a rifle
Oct 16: The 'Hurricane' sweeps southern England
Oct 19: 'Black Monday' in the City of London – Stock Market crash
Nov 8: Enniskillen bombing at a Remembrance Day ceremony
Nov 18: King's Cross fire in London – 31 people die
World population crossed the 5 billion mark
1988
Feb 5: First 'Red Nose Day' in UK, raising money for charity
Mar 11: Bank of England £1 notes cease to be legal tender
Jul 6: Piper Alpha disaster – North Sea oil platform destroyed by explosion and fire killing 167 men
Nov 15: Copyright, Designs and Patents Act – reformulated the statutory basis of copyright law (including performing rights) in the UK
Dec 12: Clapham Junction rail crash kills 35 and injures hundreds after two collisions of three commuter trains
Dec 21: Lockerbie disaster – Pan Am flight 103 explodes over Scotland
Order of the Garter opened to women
1989
Jan 8: Kegworth air disaster – a British Midland flight crashes into the M1 motorway
Feb 14: Fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses
Feb 14: The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System is placed into orbit
Mar 2: EU decision to ban production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the century
Poll Tax implemented in Scotland
Jun 5: Tanks stopped in Tiananmen Square, Peking by unknown protester
Nov 9: Berlin Wall torn down
Nov 21: Proceedings of House of Commons first televised live
Second edition of Oxford English Dictionary published
1990
Feb 11: Nelson Mandela released in South Africa
Mar 31: Riots in London against Poll Tax which had been implemented in England & Wales
Apr 25: Hubble space telescope launched
Aug 2: Iraq invades Kuwait
Oct 3: German reunification
Nov 22: Margaret Thatcher resigns as Conservative party leader (and Prime Minister) — John Major elected
Dec 1: Channel Tunnel excavation teams meet in the middle
1991
Poll Tax replaced (by Council Tax)
May 18: Helen Sharman is first British Astronaut in Space
Aug: Collapse of the Soviet Union
Sep 6: Leningrad renamed St Petersburg
Nov 5: Robert Maxwell drowns at sea
Internet begins
1992
Feb 7: European Union formed by The Maastricht Treaty [see 1993]
Apr 22: Betty Boothroyd elected as first female Speaker of the House of Commons
Aug 15: Football Premier League kicks off in England
Sep 16: 'Black Wednesday' as Pound leaves the ERM
Nov 20: Fire breaks out in Windsor Castle causing over £50 million worth of damage
Nov 24: The Queen describes this year as an Annus Horribilis
1993
Jul: Ratification of Maastricht Treaty, established the European Union (EU)
Betty Boothroyd first woman Speaker of the House of Commons (to 2000)
Elizabeth II becomes first British Monarch to pay Income Tax
1994
Mar 12: Church of England ordains its first female priests
May 6: Channel Tunnel open to traffic
Nov 19: National Lottery starts
15 million people connected to the Internet by now
1995
Feb 26: Nick Leeson brings down Barings
Jul 15: First item sold on Amazon.com
Sep: First Grayshott Literary Festival
Nov 16: The Queen Mother has a hip replacement operation at 95 years old
Nov 22: Toy Story released – first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery
Dec 7: Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter (launched from shuttle 18 Oct 1989)
1996
Feb 9: IRA bomb explodes in London Docklands – ends 17 month ceasefire
Mar 13: Dunblane massacre
Jun 15: IRA bomb explodes in Manchester
Jul 5: Scientists in Scotland clone a sheep (Dolly)
Aug 28: Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales are divorced
BSE beef scare in UK
1997
Mar 30: Channel 5 TV begins in UK (launched by the Spice Girls)
Apr 1: Hale-Bopp comet at its brightest
May 1: 'New' Labour landslide victory in Britain (Tony Blair replaces John Major as Prime Minister)
May 6: Announcement that Bank of England to be made independent of Government control
May 11: First time a computer beats a master at chess (IBM's Deep Blue v Garry Kasparov)
Jun 30: Publication of first Harry Potter novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Jul 1: Hong Kong returned to China
Jul 4: Landing by American 'Pathfinder Rover' on Mars
Jul 19: IRA declares a ceasefire
Aug 31: Diana, Princess of Wales killed in car crash in Paris
Sep 25: Land speed record breaks sound barrier for first time – Wing Commander Andy Green in Thrust SSC at Black Rock Desert, USA
1998
Apr 10: Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland – effectively implemented in May 2007
Aug 14: Car bomb explodes in Omagh killing 29 people
Sep 27: Google search engine founded
Nov 20: First module of the International Space Station launched
Dec 19: US President Bill Clinton is impeached over Monica Lewinsky scandal
Film Titanic wins 11 Oscars
1999
Jan 1: European Monetary Union begins – UK opts out – by the end of the year the Euro has approximately the same value as the US Dollar
Mar: First circumnavigation of the earth in a hot-air balloon (Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones)
Jul 1: The Scottish Parliament is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth – powers are officially transferred from the Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh
Aug 11: Total eclipse of the sun visible in Devon and Cornwall
Nov 11: Hereditary Peers no longer have right to sit in House of Lords
Dec: Separate parliaments created for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (but not for England)
World population reaches 6 billion (estimate)
2000
Jan 1: Millennium celebrations postponed due to widespread computer failures! – only joking!! – The year in Britain started with a 'flu bug rather than a millennium bug
Millennium Dome at Greenwich got off to a bad start when Press and celebratories were left queuing for tickets in the rain, and they never forgave it – the project was dogged by problems all year and became the butt of jokes
Mar: London Eye opens, late but popular
Apr 22: The Big Number Change takes place in the UK – new telephone dialling codes assigned to Cardiff, Coventry, London, Northern Ireland, Portsmouth and Southampton
May 4: Ken Livingstone elected first Mayor of London (not to be confused with Lord Mayor of London!)
Jun 10: Millennium footbridge over the Thames opens, but wobbles and is quickly declared dangerous and closed – finally reopened Feb 2002
Jul 25: A chartered Air France Concorde crashes on take-off at Paris with loss of all lives – debris on the runway blamed for causing fuel to escape and catch fire, and all Concordes grounded until 7 November 2001
Sep: 'People Power' emerged suddenly as protestors against high Road Fuel Tax used mobile phones and the Internet to co-ordinate blockades on fuel depots – resulted in nationwide panic buying of fuel and service stations running out across the country
Oct 17: Derailment at speed on the main London-North eastern line at Hatfield caused by a broken rail – Railtrack put restrictions on the rest of the network while all other suspect locations were checked
Oct/Nov/Dec: Heavy rains cause worst flooding since records began (1850s) in many parts of Britain
Nov 2: First crew arrive at the International Space Station.
Nov 14: New Prayer Book introduced in Anglican Church – the way this year's going, we need it!
Dec: US Presidential election goes to a penalty shoot out!
World population crossed the 6 billion mark
2001
Jan 1: Real millennium celebrations begin!! ;-)
Jan 15: Wikipedia goes on-line
Feb: Outbreak of Foot & Mouth disease in UK – lasted until October – caused postponement of local and general elections from May to June
Feb 15: First draft of the complete human genome published in Nature
Mar 23: Mir space station successfully ditched in the Pacific
Apr 29: UK Census Day
May 12: FA Cup Final played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff – first time away from Wembley since 1922
June 7: General Election – Labour returned again with a large majority, the first time they had succeeded in gaining a second term – but turnout lowest since 1918
Sep 1: New-style number plates on road vehicles in UK [eg. AB 51 ABC]
Sep 11: Terrorist attack on the United States – commercial planes hi-jacked and crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre (destroying it) and one section of the Pentagon
Oct 23: iPod launched by Apple
Nov 7: Concorde flights resume after modifications to tyres and fuel tanks (see 2003)
Nov: I publish my first book by 'Print on Demand' method - see tips on self-publishing
Dec 15: The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years, still leaning
UK Christmas stamps self-adhesive for the first time (self-adhesive 1st & 2nd class definitives already on sale)
2002
Jan 1: Twelve major countries in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Holland, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Portugal) and their dependents start using the Euro instead of their old national currencies; the UK stays out – the Euro worth 62½p at this time
Jan 2: UK 1901 census details available
Feb 22: Millennium Bridge over the Thames in London finally opens
Mar 30: The Queen Mother dies, aged 101 years
Jun 3&4: Two Bank Holidays declared in UK to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee
Jul 2: Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon
2003
Feb 1: Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during re-entry, killing all seven astronauts aboard
Feb 17: Start of Congestion Charge for traffic entering central London
Aug 10: Temperatures reach record high of 101 F (38.3 C) in Kent
Oct 24: Last commercial flight of Concorde
Nov 22: England wins Rugby World Cup in nail-biting final in Australia – first northern hemisphere team to do this
Dec 13: Saddam Hussein captured near his home town of Tikrit (executed 30 Dec 2006)
Dec 26: Queen Mary 2 arrives in Southampton from the builder's yard in France
2004
Mar 29: Alistair Cooke dies at the age of 95 – until four weeks previously, and since 1946, he had broadcast his regular 'Letter from America' on BBC radio
Mar 29: Ireland becomes first country in the world to ban smoking in public places
May 1: Enlargement of the European Union to include 25 members by the entry of 10 new states: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus.
2005
Feb 16: Kyoto Protocol on climate change came into force
Feb 18: Ban on hunting with dogs came into force in England & Wales (had already been a similar law for about two years in Scotland)
Apr 2: Death of Pope John Paul II, first non-Italian Pope for 450 years when elected in 1978
Apr 19: Pope Benedict XVI elected – first German Pope for about 1,000 years
Jul 6: London chosen as venue for the 2012 Olympic Games
Jul 7: Suicide bombers attack London for the first time
Jul 28: IRA declare an end to their 'armed struggle'
Sep 12: England regain the 'Ashes' after a gripping Test series (but are whitewashed 5-0 in the return series in Australia 2007)
Nov 22: Angela Merkel becomes first female Chancellor of Germany
Nov 30: John Sentamu becomes Archbishop of York; the first black archbishop in the Church of England
Dec 9: Last Routemaster bus runs on regular service in London (see 1954)
Dec 11: Explosions at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hemel Hempstead
Dec 21: Same-sex civil partnerships begin – famously, on this day, between Elton John and David Furnish
2006
Mar 1: Welsh Assembly Building opened by the Queen
Mar 26: Prohibition of smoking in enclosed public places in Scotland
Apr 21: 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II
Aug 21: UK postage rates start to be measured by size as well as by weight
Aug 24: Redefinition of the word 'planet' excludes Pluto
Dec 30: Saddam Hussein executed
2007
Jan 1: Further enlargement of the European Union to include Bulgaria and Romania
Feb 19: Extension of Congestion Charge zone for London, westwards
May 8: A Northern Ireland Executive formed under the leadership of Ian Paisley (DUP) and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein)
Jun 27: Tony Blair resigns as Prime Minister after 10 years – replaced by Gordon Brown
Jul 1: Prohibition of smoking in enclosed public places in England (thus completing cover of the entire UK)
Jul 21: Seventh and final Harry Potter book released
Oct 25: First commercial flight of Airbus A380 (Singapore to Sydney)
Nov 14: First rail service direct from St Pancras to France (replacing that from Waterloo)
2008
Jan 21: Stock markets around the world plunge fueled by the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis
Feb 22: Northern Rock the first bank in Europe to be taken into state control
Apr 22: Surgeons at London's Moorfields Eye Hospital perform the first operations using bionic eyes, implanting them into two blind patients
Sep 19: Large Hadron Collider operations halted after 8 days due to a serious fault between two superconducting bending magnets
Nov 4: Barack Obama elected the 44th President of the United States
Nov 11: RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 departs on her last voyage from Southampton to Dubai to become a floating hotel
Dec 10: Sark holds its first fully democratic elections
Dec: Woolworths close all their UK stores
2009
Jan 12: UK 1911 census details released early with one column of information hidden from view. The full data was not released until 2012
Feb 2: During this week the heaviest snowfall in 18 years disrupts air and road traffic and closes schools across much of the UK
Mar 5: Bank of England reduces interest rate to a record low of 0.5%
Jul 21: England beat Australia in a cricket Test Match at Lord's for the first time in 75 years
Oct 1: Supreme Court replaces the Law Lords in Parliament as the last court of appeal in UK in all matters other than criminal cases in Scotland
Dec 13: Circle Line on the London Underground system to include the spur to Hammersmith; regular 'Javelin' high speed train service starts between St Pancras and Ashford, Kent
Dec 19: Eurostar rail service through the Channel tunnel disrupted for some days due to the wrong sort of snow in France!
2010
Apr 15: Eyjafjallajφkull eruption in Iceland closes airspace over north-western Europe for 6 days – it was very peaceful!
May 11: Coalition Government formed in UK (Conservative & Lib-Dem)
Oct 13: In a blaze of publicity 33 miners successfully rescued from a deep copper mine in Chile
2011
Jan 4: Start of the 'Arab spring' riots
Jan 7: England win the Ashes in Australia
Jan 18: Last roll of Kodachrome processed
Mar 11: Tsunami hits Japan causing an emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power station
Mar 27: UK Census Day
Apr 29: The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton takes place in London
May 2: Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan by American forces
Jul 10: Last edition of the News of the World (No. 8,674) printed – paper closed down due to 'phone hacking' scandal (see 1843)
Jul 21: Last Space Shuttle mission touches down
2012
Mar 13: After 244 years since its first publication, the Encyclopaedia Britannica discontinues its print edition (see 1768)
Jun 4&5: Two Bank Holidays declared in UK to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Jul 4: Discovery of the Higgs boson confirmed at the Large Hadron Collider
Jul 27-Aug 12: London hosts the Olympic Games
Aug 6: Curiosity rover successfully lands on Mars
Aug 29-Sep 9: London hosts the Paralympic Games
Sep 12: Skeleton found under a car park in Leicester declared to be that of of King Richard III (1452-1485)
Oct 14: Felix Baumgartner becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without any machine assistance during a space dive from a balloon 24 miles high
Nov 29: Findings of the Leveson Inquiry into the British media announced
Despite beginning with drought in some areas, 2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK and the wettest ever in England
2013
Feb 15: A meteor explodes over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It is the most powerful meteor observed to strike Earth's atmosphere in over a century
Feb 28: Pope Benedict XVI resigns, becoming the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415, and the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294
Dec 14: Chinese spacecraft Chang'e 3, carrying the Yutu rover, becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since 1976
2014
Feb 26: Russia annexes Crimea from Ukraine
Mar 8: Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappears with 239 people on board – presumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean
Jul 17: Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashes in Ukraine, after being shot down by a missile, killing 298 people
Sep 15: Philae lands on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Special Days in the Year

'Old Style' and 'New Style' dates - see 1582 and 1751. By the time the Gregorian calendar was adopted in Britain, it was 11 days 'ahead' of the old Julian calendar it replaced. Julian dates are termed 'Old Style' and Gregorian dates 'New Style'


John Owen Smith Home Page


Disclaimer . . .

I hope you find this list helpful and informative – even entertaining at times!

It represents the combined efforts of a number of contributors, but none of us would want you to think that it represents all the important events in British history, or have you believe that everything you read here is necessarily accurate or undisputed.

Nor, I might add, do we imply that all the inventions, etc, listed here are British ones – but it can be useful, for example, to know whether your ancestor (or the character in that historical novel which you're writing) could have been using a particular item at the time they were living. At least, I think so.

We have done our best, and hope that you will take the list in that spirit.
If you have any better information which you feel should be added,
please let me know.

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