Modern Britain Timeline 1945-2000

Credit cards, Euros, money, modern Britain timelineHere is a timeline for modern Britain, from 1945, the end of the Second World War and Atlee's Labour Government, through Thatcher's years, to the year 2000.

1945
End of the Second World War.
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1946
The Labour Government starts a programme of nationalising key businesses.
The Cold War - Winston Churchill makes his Fulton Speech declaring that an Iron Curtain has descended across Europe.
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1947
The coal industry is nationalised.
Exceptionally harsh winter brings hardship for many.
India becomes independent and the separate state of Pakistan is created.
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1948
Railways are nationalised.
The SS Empire Windrush docks at Tilbury, seen by some as the start of mass immigration from Britain's former imperial possessions.
Declaration of a Jewish state in Israel and British withdrawal from Palestine (precipitates Arab-Israeli War).
The National Health Service is launched.
The Berlin Airlift takes supplies to the city, blockaded by the Soviet Union.
Olympic Games held in London.
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1949
The Yangtze River Incident - Royal Navy sloop HMS Amethyst comes under attack from the Chinese People's Liberation Army.
George Orwell (Eric Blair) publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Formation of NATO - The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
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1950-53
Korean War.
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1950
C S Lewis publishes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Steel is nationalised - later reversed by the Conservatives.
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1951
Soviet spies, Burgess and Maclean, flee Britain.
The Conservatives win the General Election, remaining in power until 1964.
In a wider context, the European Coal and Steel Community, the forerunner of the European Economic Community, or Common Market (1957), is formed; its members are Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany.
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1952
George VI dies; his daughter becomes Queen Elizabeth II.
London smog kills 4,000 people.
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1953
Ian Fleming publishes Casino Royale, the first James Bond book.
James Watson and Frances Crick determine the double-helix structure of DNA.
New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Tenzing Norgay are the first to reach the summit of Everest.
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1954
Roger Bannister runs a mile in under 4 minutes.
Rationing, in place since the Second World War, comes to an end.
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1955
Commercial television begins.
Mary Quant opens her first shop, Bazaar, on Chelsea's Kings Road.
In a wider context – the USSR forms the Warsaw Pact, in response to NATO.
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1956
The Clean Air Act aims to reduce pollution.
Calder Hall, Britain's first nuclear power station, opens.
Dodie Smith publishes 101 Dalmatians.
Suez Crisis - Britain and France invade Egypt after the Suez Canal is nationalised, but are forced to withdraw under American pressure.
Elvis Presley has his first hit in the UK, Heartbreak Hotel.
Lonnie Donegan has his first hit, Rock Island Line.

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1957
The Gold Coast becomes the first African state to become independent of Britain; it is renamed Ghana.
Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb.
Malayan Independence follows a successful war (called a emergency for insurance purposes) against communist-led insurgents.
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1958
Britain's first motorway opens - the Preston by-pass, now a section of the M6.
Michael Bond publishes A Bear Called Paddington.
Foundation of CND - the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
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1959
The first Mini motor car rolls off the production line.
In a wider context – the first integrated circuit is patented in the US.
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1960
Cyprus gains independence - following a conflict since 1955 against EOKA who wanted union with Greece and the Turkish Resistance Organisation, which opposed it.
The end of National Service (conscription); the last conscripts left the services in 1963.
Penguin Books is found not guilty under the Obscene Publications Act for publishing D H Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.
The TV soap, Coronation Street, is broadcast for the first time.
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1961
The Pill - the oral contraceptive pill - becomes available in Britain.
In a wider context - the GDR (German Democratic Republic of East Germany) constructs the Berlin Wall.
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1962
The Beatles release their first single, Love Me Do, which gets to No 17 in the charts.
Dr No, the first James Bond film, is released.
In a wider context – the Cuban Missile Crisis brings the world to the brink of nuclear war.
It is announced that Britain will buy Polaris nuclear missiles from the US.
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1963
The Profumo Affair - a scandal erupts after it emerges that a government minister, John Profumo, has shared the affections of a girl, Christine Keeler, with a Soviet diplomat.
Kim Philby, MI6 agent - the so-called 'Third Man' defects to the Soviet Union.  The fourth man, Anthony Blunt, is identified but the fact is kept secret until 1979.
In a wider context – John F Kennedy, 35th President of the USA, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
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1964
The Rolling Stones have their first No 1, It's All Over Now.
Fittingly, the last judicial hangings in Britain took place simultaneously on 13th August when Gwynne Evans was executed at Strangeways Prison, Manchester, and Peter Allen was executed in Walton, Liverpool, both for the murder of John West.
The Labour Party wins the General Election.
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1965
Abolition of the death penalty.
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1966
Time magazine publishes an article about Swinging London.  The model Twiggy is named "The Face of 1966".
Britain's first credit card, Barclaycard, is launched.
Aberfan disaster - the Welsh village of Aberfan was engulfed in tons of coal slag, killing 48 adults and 116 children, many in their classrooms.
England win the Football World Cup (and won't let anyone else forget it).
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1967
Donald Campbell perishes attempting the World Water Speed Record on Coniston Water, driving Bluebird K7.
The Government nationalises the British Steel Industry.
The Beatles release Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Homosexual acts in private between consenting men over the age of 21 are decriminalised in England and Wales.
Abortion becomes legal in the UK (except for Northern Ireland).
The BBC launches Radio 1 to win listeners from the popular pirate radio stations (which the Government has declared illegal anyway) and Radio Luxembourg.
The People's Republic of South Yemen (Aden) is declared following the withdrawal of British troops and a conflict which had lasted since 1963.
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1968
Thousands demonstrate in London against US involvement in Vietnam.
The first Isle of Wight Festival.
The voting age is lowered to 18.
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1969
Drilling for North Sea Oil begins.
Concorde makes its maiden flight.
Troops are sent to Northern Ireland to restore order amidst increasing sectarian violence.
The first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
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1970
The first Glastonbury Festival.
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1971
The first British soldier is killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland.
Decimal currency is introduced, replacing pounds, shillings and pence.
In a wider context - the first commercially available microprocessor is launched by Intel
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1972
Bloody Sunday – British paratroopers kill 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march in Londonderry.
The IRA explodes a bomb in Aldershot, killing 7 people, the first of many Irish republican terrorist attacks on mainland Britain.
Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expels Ugandan Asians; many obtain refuge in Britain.
Philips launched their Model 1500 Video Cassette Recorder (VCR).
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1973
The United Kingdom joins the European Economic Community.
Pink Floyd release Dark Side of the Moon.
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1976
Financial crisis forces the Labour Government to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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1977
More than 20 million tune in to watch Morecambe and Wise's Christmas Show.
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1978-79
The Winter of Discontent - strikes by petrol tanker and truck drivers, hospital staff, refuse collectors, health workers.  Rats swarm round uncollected rubbish and in Liverpool the dead go unburied.
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1978
The world's first in vitro baby is born in Oldham.
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1979
The Conservatives win the General Election and Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female Prime Minister.
The IRA murders Lord Louis Mountbatten.
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1980
The Housing Act of 1980 gives council house tenants the right to buy the houses they rent.
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1981
Arrival of the first IBM personal computer.
The BBC demonstrates the new compact disc (CD).
Racial and other social tensions lead to riots in many of Britain's towns, especially Brixton (south London), Toxteth (Liverpool) and Moss Side (Manchester).
RAF Greenham Common - women begin a protest against the deployment of US cruise missiles in Britain; the protest lasted 19 years.
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1982
The Falklands War – Britain retakes the Falkland Islands following Argentinean invasion.
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1984
Mass coal miners' strike sees more violence in Britain.
The IRA tries to murder the Cabinet by planting a bomb in the Grand Hotel, Brighton; five people are killed.
Unemployment exceeds 3 million.
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1985
First mobile phone in Britain.  On New Year’s Day 1985, Sir Ernest Harrison, chairman of Racal Vodafone, was called by his son Michael, who said: “Hi, it’s Mike. Happy New Year. This is the first-ever call on a UK mobile network.”
Live Aid Concerts - massive global fund-raising music concerts organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in aid of Ethiopian famine relief.
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1986
The City of London's Big Bang - the deregulation of the securities market lead to a revolution in the financial services sector, significantly increasing London's status as a global financial centre.
The Government starts privatising nationalised companies, a policy designed to help create a property-owning democracy, produce capital to help reduce government expenditure and bring an end to subsidies.
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1987
Barclays introduce Britain's first debit card.
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1989
Tim Berners-Lee invents the world wide web.
In a wider context - the fall of the Berlin Wall and, in theory, the end of the Cold War.
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1990
Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party.
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1991
Operation Desert Storm - the First Gulf War, the liberation of Kuwait following invasion by Iraq.
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1992
British troops sent to Yugoslavia as part of the UN Protection Force.
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1993
The Treaty of Maastricht creates the European Union from the European Economic Union.
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1994
The Channel Tunnel opens.
The Church of England ordains women priests.
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1996
Dolly the Sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, is born in Edinburgh.
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1997
Tony Blair leads Labour to victory in the General Election after 18 years of Conservative government.
Britain hands Hong Kong back to China.
Diana, Princess of Wales, is killed in a car crash in Paris.
Scotland and Wales vote in favour of national assemblies.
JK Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
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1998
The Good Friday agreement provides a basis for peace in Northern Ireland.
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1999
Kosovo Crisis - RAF contributes to NATO bombing campaign and sends troops as part of a peace-keeping force.
Former Warsaw Pact members, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, join NATO.
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2000
A new millennium and the predicted end of the world didn’t happen.