Key events of 1987


20 – Terry Waite, the special envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lebanon, disappears in Beirut while negotiating for the release of hostages

20 – Police arrest 26 suspected football hooligans across Britain after a mass operation


12 – Edwina Currie sparks controversy by stating that “good Christians won’t get AIDS”

26 – Church of England’s General Synod votes to allow the ordination of women


6 – British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes while leaving the harbour of Zeebrugge, Belgium, killing 193 on board

19 – Winston Silcott, a 28-year-old black man, is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock in the Tottenham riots 17 months ago

23 – 31 people are injured when a suspected IRA bomb explodes at a British army barracks in Rheindahlen, West Germany

27 – Neil Kinnock meets Ronald Reagan in Washington DC

29 – Margaret Thatcher visits Moscow


1 – MPs vote against the restoration of the death penalty by 342–230

22 – The former Prime Minister Jim Callaghan is appointed to the Order of the Garter


8 – Soldiers of the SAS kill eight members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army at Loughgal, County Antrim


11 – The 1987 General Election sees Margaret Thatcher secure her third term in office

22 – Race riots break out in the Chapeltown area of Leeds


12 – £60 million is stolen during the Knightsbridge Security Deposit robbery

22 – Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali is shot in London

24 – Novelist and former Conservative MP Jeffrey Archer wins a libel case against Daily Star over allegations that he was involved in a vice ring

29 – The Channel Tunnel is given the go-ahead after Margaret Thatcher and François Mitterrand ratify the Treaty of Canterbury

31 – The Attorney General institutes legal proceedings against The Daily Telegraph to prevent it publishing details from the book Spycatcher


4 – Just months after confessing to a further two murders, the Moors Murderer Ian Brady claims that he committed a further five murders

10 – One person a day in Britain is now reported to be dying of AIDS

19 – Order of the Garter is opened to women

21 – The Hungerford massacre death toll rises to 16 with the deaths of two more victims in hospital from their injuries

29 – Naji al-Ali dies in hospital more than five weeks after being shot


9 – 25 Liverpool football fans are extradited to Belgium to face charges of manslaughter in connection with the Heysel Stadium disaster more than two years ago

11 – The government unveils plans to abolish the Inner London Education Authority


15–16 – Great Storm: Hurricane force winds batter much of south-east England, killing 23 people and causing extensive damage to property

19 – Black Monday: Wall Street crash leads to £50 billion being wiped of the value of shares on the London stock exchange

23 – Retired English jockey Lester Piggott is jailed for 3 years after being convicted of tax evasion


8 – Enniskillen bombing: Eleven people are killed by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb at a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen

17 – The Government announces that the Poll Tax (community charge) will be introduced in April 1990


15 – Channel Tunnel construction is initiated, and it is expected to open in 1993 or early 1994