1955 in the United Kingdom
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|1955 in the United Kingdom:|
|1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957|
|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, Television and music|
Events from the year 1955 in the United Kingdom. The year is marked by changes of leadership for both principal political parties.
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister – Winston Churchill (until 5 April; Conservative), Anthony Eden (from 6 April; Conservative)
- 23 January – Sutton Coldfield rail crash: an express train takes a sharp curve too fast and derails at Sutton Coldfield railway station: 17 killed, 43 injured.
- 24 February – A big freeze across Britain results in more than 70 roads being blocked with snow, and in some parts of the country rail services have been cancelled for several days. The Royal Air Force works to deliver food and medical supplies to the worst affected areas.
- 25 February – Aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal completed.
- 29 March – Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen calls a strike which continues until 14 June, leading to a state of emergency being declared on 31 May.
- 1 April – EOKA A starts a terrorist campaign against British rule in the Crown colony of Cyprus, leading to a state of emergency being declared by the Governor on 26 November.
- 2 April – Duncan Edwards, the 18-year-old Manchester United left-half, becomes the youngest full England international in a 7-2 win over Scotland at Wembley. Dudley-born Edwards is already being tipped by many observers to become the next England captain upon the eventual retirement of Billy Wright.
- 5 April – Resignation of Winston Churchill as Prime Minister due to ill-health at the age of 80.
- 6 April – Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden is named as the new Prime Minister.
- 16 April – Release of Laurence Olivier's film of Shakespeare's Richard III.
- 21 April – National newspapers published for the first time after a month-long strike by maintenance workers.
- 23 April – Chelsea F.C. are Football League First Division champions for the first time in their history.
- 4–6 May – A severe gale strips topsoil across Norfolk.
- 5 May – American virologist Dr Jonas Salk promotes a polio vaccine in Britain, with the 500,000th person receiving a vaccine against the disease.
- 7 May – Newcastle United secure the FA Cup for the sixth time with a 3-1 win over Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
- 24 May
- 25 May – Joe Brown and George Band are the first to attain the summit of Kanchenjunga, as part of a British team led by Charles Evans.
- 27 May – Anthony Eden wins the general election for the Conservative Party with a majority of 31 seats, an improvement on the 17-seat majority gained by his predecessor Sir Winston Churchill four years ago.
- 6 June – Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act comes into effect, with intention of protecting children from horror comics.
- 16 June – Submarine HMS Sidon sinks in Portland Harbour with the loss of thirteen crew following an explosion caused by a faulty torpedo on board.
- July - Unemployment stands at a modern low of just over 215,000, meaning that a mere 1% of the workforce is currently jobless.
- 9 July – Bertrand Russell issues the Russell-Einstein Manifesto highlighting the dangers posed by nuclear weapons.
- 13 July – Ruth Ellis becomes the last woman to be hanged in the UK.
- 17 July – Stirling Moss becomes the first English winner of the British Grand Prix.
- 18 July – Winterborne St Martin enters the UK Weather Records with the highest 24-hour total rainfall at 279 mm – a record which stands until November 2009.
- 25–27 July – 'Operation Sandcastle': The first load of deteriorating captured Nazi German bombs filled with Tabun (nerve agent) is shipped from Cairnryan on the SS Empire Claire for scuttling in the Atlantic Ocean.
- 30 July – Philip Larkin makes a train journey from Hull to Grantham which inspires his poem The Whitsun Weddings.
- 3 August – English language premiere of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot, directed by Peter Hall, opens at the Arts Theatre, London.
- 26 August – Hammer Film Productions' The Quatermass Xperiment released.
- 27 August – Guinness Book of Records first published.
- 4 September – Richard Baker and Kenneth Kendall become the first BBC Television newsreaders to be seen reading the news.
- 14 September – Airfix produce their first scale model aircraft kit, of the Supermarine Spitfire at 1/72 scale.
- 18 September – United Kingdom annexes Rockall.
- 22 September – First ITV franchises of Independent Television Authority begin broadcasting the UK's first commercial television ending the 18-year monopoly of the BBC. The first advertisement shown is for Gibbs SR toothpaste. On the same day, the popular BBC Radio serial The Archers kills off the character Christine Archer.
- 26 September – Clarence Birdseye begins selling fish fingers in Britain.
- October – Dame Evelyn Sharp appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, the first woman Civil Servant to attain this most senior position within a UK Ministry.
- 31 October – Princess Margaret calls off her proposed marriage to Group Captain Peter Townsend.
- 19 November – C. Northcote Parkinson first articulates "Parkinson's Law", the semi-serious adage Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
- 20 November – Milton rail crash: an excursion train takes a crossover too fast and derails at Milton, near Didcot: 11 killed, 157 injured.
- 2 December – Barnes rail crash, Barnes, South London: collision due to signal error and consequent fire: 13 killed, 35 injured.
- 7 December – Clement Attlee resigns as leader of the Labour Party after twenty years.
- 8 December – Ealing Comedy film The Ladykillers released.
- 9 December – Cumbernauld, Scotland, designated as a New town.
- 12 December – Christopher Cockerell patents his design of hovercraft.
- 14 December – Hugh Gaitskell becomes leader of the Labour Party.
- 16 December – The Queen opens a new terminal at London Airport.
- 20 December – Cardiff becomes the official capital of Wales.
- Summer heat wave and associated drought.
- Ministry of Housing and Local Government issues Circular 42/55 inviting local planning authorities to establish green belts.
- Meld wins the Fillies Triple Crown by finishing first in the 1,000 Guineas Stakes, Epsom Oaks and St. Leger Stakes.
- Lonnie Donegan's 1954 skiffle recording of Rock Island Line is released: it becomes a major hit in 1956.
- Kingsley Amis's comic novel That Uncertain Feeling.
- Henry Cecil's comic novel Brothers in Law.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel Hickory Dickory Dock.
- G. R. Elton's study England Under the Tudors.
- Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Moonraker.
- Graham Greene's novel The Quiet American.
- W. G. Hoskins' study The Making of the English Landscape.
- Aldous Huxley's novel The Genius and the Goddess.
- Philip Larkin's poetry collection The Less Deceived.
- C. S. Lewis' novel The Magician's Nephew and spiritual autobiography Surprised by Joy.
- Alistair MacLean's novel HMS Ulysses.
- J. J. Marric's novel Gideon's Day.
- J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King, third and final part of The Lord of the Rings.
- A. Wainwright's first hand-drawn guidebook A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells, Book 1: The Eastern Fells.
- Evelyn Waugh's novel Officers and Gentlemen, second of the Sword of Honour trilogy.
- John Wyndham's novel The Chrysalids.
- 6 January – Rowan Atkinson, comedian and actor
- 15 January – Nigel Benson, author and illustrator
- 19 January – Simon Rattle, conductor
- 25 January – Terry Chimes, drummer (The Clash)
- 27 January – Alexander Stuart, author
- 3 February – Kirsty Wark, television presenter
- 10 February – Chris Adams, professional wrestler (died 2001)
- 23 February – Howard Jones, musician
- 5 April – Janice Long, radio disc jockey
- 23 April – Tony Miles, chess player (died 2001)
- 2 May – Willie Miller, footballer
- 6 May – John Hutton, politician
- 16 May – Hazel O'Connor, singer
- 21 May – Paul Barber, field hockey player
- 30 May – Topper Headon, drummer (The Clash)
- 8 June – Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
- 12 June – Paul O'Grady, talk show host and comedian
- 14 June – Gillian Bailey, actor
- 26 June – Mick Jones, guitarist (The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite)
- 29 July – Stephen Timms, politician
- 1 September – Bruce Foxton, musician
- 3 September – Steve Jones, guitarist (Sex Pistols)
- 5 September – John Bentley, rugby football player
- 9 October – Steve Ovett, athlete
- 15 October – Kulbir Bhaura, field hockey player
- 18 October – Timmy Mallett, television presenter
- 9 November – Karen Dotrice, actress
- 24 November – Ian Botham, cricketer
- 30 November – Billy Idol, singer
- 15 December – Paul Simonon, bassist (The Clash)
- 23 December – Carol Ann Duffy, poet
- 29 January – Sir Rhys Rhys-Williams, Welsh politician (born 1865)
- 11 March – Sir Alexander Fleming, Scottish-born bacteriologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (born 1881)
- 22 April – Herbert MacNair, Scottish artist (born 1868)
- 27 April – Ambrose Bebb, author (born 1894)
- 11 May – Gilbert Jessop, cricketer (born 1874)
- 13 July – Ruth Ellis, Welsh-born murderer (born 1926)
- 18 July – Billy McCandless, Irish footballer (born 1894)
- 16 September – Leo Amery, politician (born 1873)
- 28 September – Lionel Rees, Welsh airman, Victoria Cross recipient (born 1883)
- 11 October – Hector McNeil, Scottish politician (born 1907)
- 14 October – Harry Parr-Davies, Welsh songwriter (born 1914)
- 15 October – Thomas Jones (T. J.), Welsh educationalist (born 1870)
- 27 December – Alfred Carpenter, soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (born 1881)
- date unknown – Jacob Moritz Blumberg, surgeon, gynaecologist and radium therapist (born 1873 in Germany)
- "Express train crashes killing 14". BBC News. 23 January 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Britain's big freeze". BBC News. 24 February 1955. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "Duncan Edwards: A prodigious talent cut down in his prime". Mirror Football. Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Sir Winston Churchill resigns". BBC News. 5 April 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Anthony Eden 1955". The Cabinet Papers 1915-1981. Kew: The National Archives. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
- "Fleet Street papers back after strike". BBC News. 21 April 1955. Archived from the original on 22 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Trophy - 1955 League Title". chelseaafc.com. Chelsea Football Club. 11 July 2002. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Simons, Paul (2008). Since Records Began. London: Collins. pp. 36–8. ISBN 978-0-00-728463-4.
- "Dr Salk promotes polio vaccine in UK". BBC News. 5 May 1955. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
- "1955". The FA Cup. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- "British Public Opinion Polls Predict Conservative Victory". The Palm Beach Post (Florida). 24 May 1955. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "Election victory for Tories under Eden". BBC News. 27 May 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "1951 General election results summary". UK Political Info. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Whatever happened to full employment?". BBC News. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- "The Lost Decade Timeline, BBC". Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Moss claims first Grand Prix victory". BBC News. 17 July 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Contrary to his later recollection of the event. Burnett, Archie, ed. (2012). The Complete Poems of Philip Larkin. London: Faber. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-571-24006-7.
- Pietrobon, Steven S. (24 June 2005). "Airfix’s First Aircraft Kit: The Spitfire BTK". Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- "Britain claims Rockall". BBC News. 21 September 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "New TV channel ends BBC monopoly". BBC News. 22 September 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Baroness Sharp" (Obituaries). The Times (London). 4 September 1985. Issue 62234, col F, p. 14.
- "Princess Margaret cancels wedding". BBC News. 31 October 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Parkinson, C. Northcote (19 November 1955). "Parkinson's Law". The Economist. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
- "Attlee steps down as Labour leader". BBC News. 7 December 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Boothroyd, David (2005). "Leaders of the Labour Party". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- "Ladykillers, The (1955)". screenonline.org.uk. BFI. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- "Cumbernauld Town Centre". Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- "Gaitskell elected Labour leader". BBC News. 14 December 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "1955: Queen opens London Airport terminal". BBC News. 16 December 1955. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Capital claims – A city's struggle". BBC News. 22 April 2003. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Severe droughts in Yorkshire". 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- Craig, Dennis (1964). Breeding Racehorses from Cluster Mares. London: J.A. Allen.