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Timeline of events


January 20

Trial of the Great Train Robbers begins

January 26

The government announces plans for a fleet of five Polaris submarines

April 14

BBC Two goes on air for the first time

September 21

Malta becomes independent from the UK

October 15

General election won by Labour, Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister by a majority of only 4

December 17

All prescription charges to be free from February.1965


January 24

Death of Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister 1940-45 and 1951-55

February 16

British Rail publishes plans to slash the rail network by half, based on the Beeching Report

April 19

150,000 CND protesters show hostility to USA over Vietnam

July 28

Douglas-Home is succeeded as Conservative leader by Edward Heath

August 5

Trade Disputes Act: gives new safeguards to Trade Unions against prosecution

November 8

Abolition of the death penalty; the Murder Act becomes law

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March 31

Labour wins the general election with a majority of 97


England beat Germany to win the World Cup 4-2

October 21

Aberfan disaster: coal tip slides down on mining village in South Wales, killing 116 children and 28 adults


February 22

Iron and Steel Nationalisation Bill enacted

May 11

Britain applies to join the EEC

June 1

The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is released

July 14

Decimal Currency Act: provides for currency change by 1971

September 10

The people of Gibraltar vote to keep ties with the UK

November 19

In the worst financial crisis for nearly 20 years the pound is devalued

December 11

The world’s first supersonic aircraft, the Anglo-French co-operation Concorde, is revealed at Toulouse


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February 19

The Home Office launches an anti-theft drive based on the slogan, “Watch Out! There’s a Thief about”

April 23

First Decimal coins (5p and 10p) issued

June 10

NHS prescription charges re-introduced

September 16

Mail differentiation: first and second-class post created

November 26

The Race Relations Act comes into force


January 1

Baron Constantine of Maraval and Nelson, West Indian cricketer and diplomat, becomes first black peer in the House of Lords

April 21

British Army ordered to guard key points in Ulster following riots in Belfast and Londonderry

June 8

Spain lays siege to the Rock of Gibraltar

July 1

Investiture of Price of Wales at Caernarvon Castle


House of Commons and House of Lords vote to permanently abolish the death penalty


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January 1

Legal age of majority and voting age reduced from 21 to 18

March 2

White Rhodesians proclaim an independent republic in what is today known as Zimbabwe

April 18

British Leyland announces that the Morris Minor, Britain’s longest running car, will cease production by 1971

May 29

Equal Pay Bill enacted

June 18

Conservatives win the general election by a majority of 30

June 19

Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister

June 20

Margaret Thatcher becomes Secretary for Education

September 7-12

Palestinian Liberation Organisation hijacks and blows up 3 aircraft in Jordan to secure release of female Palestinian terrorist held in London


February 15

Decimal coinage replaces shillings and pence

April 19

Figures show unemployment at 814,819, the highest since May 1940

June 15 to 29

Widespread protests at Margaret Thatcher’s plans to end free school milk in schools

October 28

House of Commons and Lords vote in favour of joining EEC


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January 9

Miners’ strike causes disruption

January 22

Heath signs accession to EEC in Brussels

Feb 28

Miners return to work having had demand for better wages and working conditions recognised by the government

August 4

President Amin of Uganda orders the expulsion of 40,000 British Commonwealth Asians

September 17

Asian refugees from Uganda begin to arrive in Britain

October 17

European Communities Act: provides for entry into EEC

November 6

Government introduces 90-day freeze on prices, pay, rent and dividends in an attempt to curb inflation


January 1

Britain joins the EEC

April 1

Introduction of Value Added Tax

July 5

Social Security Act: single basic-rate pension system


Middle Eastern oil-producing nations stop exporting to the US and Western nations resulting in world fuel shortages and inflating oil prices

November 12

Miners impose overtime ban causing a drastic cut in production

December 5

To conserve fuel 50 mph speed limit is imposed


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January 1

Power-sharing executive under Brian Faulkener set up in Belfast, Northern Ireland

February 7

Grenada becomes independent within Commonwealth

February 10

Total miners’ strike begins

March 4

An inconclusive General Election result returns a hung parliament. Failing to form a government, Heath resigns. Wilson becomes Prime Minister and forms a minority Labour government

March 11

Miner’s strike ends with acceptance of pay offer

June 21

Inflation soars to post-war record of 16 per cent

October 5

IRA Guildford pub bombings kill 5 people

November 29

Prevention of Terrorism Act: gives police wide powers of detention and deportation


January 20

The government abandons the Channel Tunnel

February 10

Conservative leadership election is won by Margaret Thatcher. She is the first female to lead a major political party in Britain

June 5

Referendum on membership of EEC:67 per cent of population vote in favour

November 12

Sex Discrimination Act: ensures equality of opportunity for men and women in job applications

December 29

Women’s Equal Pay Act comes into force


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January 21

Concorde’s inaugural transatlantic flight

March 16

Wilson announces that he will resign as Prime Minister

April 5

James Callaghan become Prime Minister

August 30

Racial rioting follows the Notting Hill Carnival in London

September 2

Britain condemned by European Commission on Human Rights for ill-treatment of detainees in Ulster

September 29

Britain announces intention of borrowing 2300 million from the International Monetary Fund as the pound’s value plummets

November 4

Loss of two by-elections leaves Callaghan leading a minority government


March 23

Callaghan and David Steel announce ‘Lib-Lab’ pact for collaboration over certain issues

June 6 to 13

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the Silver Jubilee marking the twenty-fifth year of her reign

October 31

The British Government allows sterling to float upwards and effectively revalues the pound

December 13

114 ‘rebel’ Labour MPs join the opposition to vote against proposals in European Assembly Bill for proportional representation in European Elections


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April 11

Free school milk for 7 to 11-year-olds restored by government

May 1

May Day is celebrated as a public holiday for the first time in Britain

July 31

Scottish and Welsh Devolution Acts: not implemented

December 5

Britain announces it will not join the EEC’s new European Monetary System


January 22

24-hour public employees’ strike hits hospitals and schools

January 28

Callaghan loses a no-confidence vote and agrees to dissolve Parliament leading to a General Election

May 3

General election gives Conservatives overall majority of 43 and on March 4 Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister

June 7

First election for European Parliament brings out only a third of the electorate but favours the Conservatives

November 21

Sir Anthony Blunt, distinguished art historian, is denounced by Mrs Thatcher as a Soviet spy

December 11

Rhodesian Parliament ends rebellion