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Timeline of events


November 28

An informal cease-fire is agreed roughly along the approximate line of the 38th parallel in Korea



'Rab' Butler announces his new austerity measures, including more NHS charges

February 8

Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England.  The Queen is informed of the death of her father, King George VI, whilst on safari in Kenya

July 5

Thousands of Londoners bid farewell to the city's last tram, which runs from Woolwich to New Cross

October 3

Montebello atomic tests
The first British atomic tests are held in the Montebello Islands, 120 km northwest of Dampier, Western Australia. Tests are then moved to Emu Field in northwestern South Australia

November 4

The Queen opens her first parliament

January 2

The RAF's first supersonic fighters, 400 US-designed Sabres, arrive at RAF Abingdon


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March 5

Joseph Stalin, who ruled Russia with an iron fist for 30 years, suffers a brain haemorrhage and dies

June 2

Elizabeth II is crowned at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey

July 27

The war in Korea ends after 3 years of fighting

August 12

The Soviet Union explodes its first Hydrogen Bomb

September 3

Florence Horsburgh becomes Minister of Education, the first Tory woman cabinet minister


A record 30,031 new homes are built


January 1

Flashing direction indicator lights become legal on Motor Vehicles in Britain

February 12

Study by the British Standing Advisory committee on cancer and chemotherapy officially links cancer with smoking

March 25

MPs approve the establishment of commercial television

July 27

65,000 British troops pull out of the Suez Canal Base

August 1

The UK Atomic Energy Authority is established


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January 23

380 Jamaican immigrants are played ashore by a ship’s band as they arrived in Plymouth.  The group is the latest in a growing number seeking jobs and homes in Britain.

February 2

A four year plan to modernise Britain's roads is announced and £212 million is to be spent on constructing motorways and improving traffic black spots

April 5

At the age of 80 Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Sir Anthony Eden

May 14

The Warsaw pact is signed by the Soviet Prime Minister.  The pact forms all the Eastern Block Nations into a new military alliance

July 27

The Clean Air Bill is published, which would create 'smoke control areas'

September 22

Commercial television is launched for London only

December 20

Cardiff becomes the capital of Wales


February 16

London MPs vote in favour of abolishing the death penalty

March 6

The Chairman of the British Transport Commission announces the introduction of electrified trains and the end of the steam age

July 5

The Clean Air Bill is passed

August 29

A massive build-up of British and French troops takes place in the Eastern Mediterranean, foreshadowing the possibility of military operations in Egypt

October 29

Britain and France tell Egypt and Israel to withdraw from the Suez Canal within 12 hours

November 8

The UN imposes a ceasefire on British and French forces, ordering operations in the Canal Zone to come to a halt

December 3

Egypt and France announce their withdrawal from Suez.
Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat for a white man on an bus in Alabama.  Her stand helped to motivate Martin Luther King’s protests, which brought about the 1964 Civil Rights Act


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January 10

Harold Macmillan becomes leader of the Conservative Party and Britain's new Prime Minister, replacing Sir Anthony Eden

March 25

Six nations (France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg) sign the Treaty of Rome, setting up the European Common Market

May 15

Britain detonates it's first Hydrogen Bomb on Christmas Island, becoming the third power with thermonuclear weapons

August 6

2000 people a week are reported to be emigrating to the Commonwealth despite full employment at home

October 4

Russia launches the first satellite, the 'Sputnik-I', into space



4,000 CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) protesters complete the march from Aldermaston to Trafalgar Square


160 square miles of countryside are to be established as several areas of outstanding natural beauty

December 3

The government announces the closure of 36 pits and cuts in open-cast mining


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February 19

Macmillan signs treaty with Greeks and Turks for an independent Cyprus

March 30

20,000 attend CND rally in Trafalgar Square

May 7

British Rail announces plans to close 230 stations

September 14

Soviet Rocket 'Lunik 2' is the first spacecraft to hit the moon.  The rocket crashed but was the first man-made object to reach our nearest neighbour in space

October 8

Macmillan's Tory government is re-elected

November 20

Britain is the founding member of the EFTA, the seven-member European Free Trade Association to rival the Common Market


February 3

Macmillan visits South Africa and announces from Cape Town that, 'The wind of change is blowing through this continent,' and '...there has to be justice not only for the black man in Africa but the white man'

April 18

Over 60,000 CND supporters demonstrate in Trafalgar Square after Aldermaston march

June 29

The House of Commons rejects calls to implement Wolfenden's 1957 report regarding the decriminalisation of homosexual relationships

August 31

East Germany closes its borders with West Berlin

October 1

Nigeria becomes independent

December 31

The last conscripts for National Service are drafted into the armed forces.  The scheme began in 1939 with the total number of men enlisted 5,300,000


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January 20

On Capitol Hill John Fitzgerald Kennedy, aged 43, takes the oath and becames 35th President of the United States

March 15

South Africa withdraws from the British Commonwealth

April 12

Yuri Gagarin is the first human in space

July 31

Britain bids to join the Common Market for the first time

August 13

The East Germans begin erecting the Berlin wall, which is to divide the country for 28 years

December 4

The government makes the birth control pill available on the NHS


February 27

MPs pass a bill to restrict immigration from the Commonwealth

April 18

Commonwealth Immigration Bill enacted: removes, from 30 June, the principle of free entry for all Commonwealth citizens

June 2

Macmillan visits President de Gaulle to discuss British entry into the European Economic Community (EEC)

July 13

Night of the Long Knives; Macmillan sacks seven members of his cabinet following unpopularity over the government's pay restraint policies

August 6

Independence of Jamaica; followed by independence of Trinidad and Tobago, 31 August

October 14

Cuban Missile Crisis begins: a U-2 flight over Cuba takes photos of Soviet nuclear weapons being installed. A standoff then ensues the next day between the United States and the Soviet Union, putting the entire world under threat of a nuclear war

November 29

Agreement to build Concorde, a supersonic aircraft

December 19

Macmillan-Kennedy conference in Nassau over British desire for independent nuclear missile


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January 14

President de Gaulle vetoes British entry into EEC

January 21

UK Government figures show the average weekly wage is £16 14/11

March 22

"Profumo Scandal": media exaggerates importance of association between the War Minister, John Profumo and a call-girl, Christine Keeler

May 1

Churchill announces that he will retire from the House of Commons at the next election

July 16

The government proposes the creation of a Ministry of Defence

October 10

Macmillan's resignation, on health grounds, is announced. Sir Alec Douglas-Home succeeds Macmillan as Prime Minister

November 22

President Kennedy is shot dead in Dallas, Texas

December 12

Kenya gains independence


February 6

Britain and France agree to build a Channel Tunnel

April 1

Unified Ministry of Defence is created; the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry cease to exist

August 7

US steps up action against Vietnam.  President Johnson receives approval from Congress to 'take all necessary action' against the Communist regime in North Vietnam

September 21

Malta becomes independent within the Commonwealth

October 15

General election won by Harold Wilson's Labour Party: Labour win 317 seats, Conservatives 304 and Liberals 9

November 9

British House of Commons votes to abolish the death penalty for murder in Britain

December 17

All prescription charges to be free from Feb 1965