1956 in the United Kingdom
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|1956 in the United Kingdom:|
|1954 | 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958|
|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, Television and music|
Events from the year 1956 in the United Kingdom. The year is dominated by the Suez Crisis.
- 1 January – Possession of heroin becomes fully criminalised.
- 5 January - Eight months after winning the general election and barely a year after becoming prime minister, Anthony Eden's position is looking under threat as opinion polls show Labour (now led by Hugh Gaitskell) in the lead.
- 24 January – Plans are announced for the construction of thousands of new homes in the Barbican area of London, devastated by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.
- 26 January–5 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Winter Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, but do not win any medals.
- February – Release of Shirley Bassey's first single, Burn My Candle (At Both Ends).
- 5 February – First showing of documentary films by the Free Cinema movement, at the National Film Theatre, London.
- 11 February – Two of the "Cambridge spies", Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean appear in Moscow after vanishing as diplomats in mysterious circumstances in 1951.
- 12 February – Double yellow lines to prohibit parking introduced in Slough.
- 23 February – A fire at Eastwood Mills, Keighley, West Yorkshire, kills eight employees.
- 24 March – In the Grand National, Devon Loch, owned by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and ridden by Dick Francis, is in a clear lead when he inexplicably collapses 50 yards (45 m) from the finish, giving victory to E.S.B. at 100/7, ridden by Dave Dick and trained by Fred Rimell. Stan Mellor is the second placed jockey.
- 7 April – Manchester United, with an average team age of just 24, win the Football League First Division title.
- 17 April – In his Budget speech, Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan announces the launch of Premium Bonds, which will go on sale on 1 November, with a £1,000 prize available from the first draw in June next year.
- 20 April – Humphrey Lyttelton and his band record his trad jazz composition Bad Penny Blues in London with sound engineer Joe Meek. This will be the first British jazz record to get into the Top Twenty.
- 27 April - Doubts about the future of Anthony Eden as prime minister continue as his personal ratings in opinion polls remain low.
- 3 May – Granada Television launched.
- 5 May – Manchester City win the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium. German-born goalkeeper Bert Trautmann plays through the game despite an injury 15 minutes from time diagnosed on 9 May as a broken neck.
- 7 May – Minister of Health Robin Turton, rejects a call for the government to lead an anti-smoking campaign arguing that no ill-effects had yet been proven.
- 8 May – First performance of John Osborne's play Look Back in Anger by the newly formed English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre. Alan Bates has his first major role as Cliff.
- 9 May
- Anthony Eden makes a statement refusing to reveal any details surrounding the mystery of the disappearance of the frogman Lionel Crabb, who vanished after diving near the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze during a state visit by Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin.
- The Gower Peninsula becomes the first area in the British Isles to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- 3 June – Third class accommodation on British Railways trains redesignated as Second class (also applies on Great Northern Railway in Northern Ireland).
- 3 July – Prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru of India and Sidney Holland of New Zealand are made Freemen of the City of London.
- 4 July – The National Library of Scotland's first purpose-built premises are opened on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh.
- 5 July – Parliament passes the Clean Air Act in response to the Great Smog of 1952.
- 9 July – Mettoy introduce Corgi Toys model cars, manufactured in South Wales.
- 26 July – Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser announces the nationalisation of the Suez Canal triggering the Suez Crisis.
- 9 August–9 September – Art exhibition This Is Tomorrow, featuring principally the interdisciplinary ICA Independent Group, at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Among the exhibits is Richard Hamilton's collage Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?, considered to be one of the earliest works of pop art.
- 17 August – Scotland Yard are called to Eastbourne to investigate the activities of society doctor John Bodkin Adams. The case is reported around the world and press reports claim up to 400 patients may have been murdered.
- 10 September – Guy Mollet visits London and proposes a merger of France and the United Kingdom. However, the idea is rejected by Anthony Eden.
- 12 September - Manchester United become the first English team to compete in the European Cup, a competition for the champions of domestic leagues across Europe, when they play the first leg of the premilinary round in Belgium and beat R.S.C. Anderlecht 2-0.
- 25 September – The TAT-1 transatlantic telephone cable between the UK and North America inaugurated.
- 26 September - Manchester United qualify for the first round of the European Cup in style with a 10-0 win over R.S.C. Anderlecht at Maine Road in the second leg of the premilinary round.
- 28 September – Eden considers allowing France to join the Commonwealth of Nations, but this idea is also rejected.
- 15 October – The RAF retires its last Lancaster bomber.
- 17 October – The Queen opens the world's first commercial nuclear power station at Calder Hall.
- 24 October – Protocol of Sèvres, a secret agreement between the UK, France and Israel allowing the latter to invade Sinai with the support of the two former governments. Eden subsequently denies existence of an agreement.
- 5 November – Long-running television programme What the Papers Say airs for the first time.
- 6 November – British and French forces seize control of two major ports in the Suez Canal in Egypt before declaring a ceasefire.
- 15 November - The Manchester Guardian calls for the resignation of Anthony Eden as prime minister, despite his improvement in opinion poll showings.
- 22 November–8 December – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, and win 6 gold, 7 silver and 11 bronze medals.
- 29 November – Petrol rationing introduced because of petrol blockades from the Middle East due to the Suez Crisis.
- 10 December – Cyril Norman Hinshelwood wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Nikolay Semyonov "for their researches into the mechanism of chemical reactions".
- 12 December – The Irish Republican Army launches its Border Campaign in Northern Ireland with co-ordinated attacks on official premises.
- 19 December
- 21 December – The Government of Northern Ireland under Basil Brooke uses the Special Powers Act to intern several hundred republican suspects without trial.
- 23 December – British and French troops withdraw from Suez under United Nations and United States pressure.
- 25 December – PG Tips launches its long-running ITV advertising campaign using a chimpanzees' tea party.
- Opening of the first Welsh-medium secondary school in Wales – Ysgol Glan Clwyd, Rhyl.
- Pietro Annigoni's portrait of the Queen is unveiled.
- Tesco opens its first self-service stores in St Albans and Maldon.
- DIDO heavy water enriched uranium nuclear reactor begins operation at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, Oxfordshire.
- The Collared Dove first breeds in the UK.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel Dead Man's Folly.
- Anthony Crosland's book The Future of Socialism.
- Gerald Durrell's memoir My Family and Other Animals.
- Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Diamonds Are Forever.
- William Golding's novel Pincher Martin.
- C. S. Lewis' novel The Last Battle.
- Rose Macaulay's novel The Towers of Trebizond.
- Nancy Mitford's book Noblesse Oblige: an Enquiry Into the Identifiable Characteristics of the English Aristocracy, illustrated by Osbert Lancaster.
- Samuel Selvon's novel The Lonely Londoners.
- Dodie Smith's children's novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
- Angus Wilson's novel Anglo-Saxon Attitudes.
- Colin Wilson's study The Outsider.
- The Movement's poetry anthology New Lines edited by Robert Conquest.
- 4 January – Bernard Sumner, guitarist (Joy Division and New Order)
- 6 January
- 9 January – Imelda Staunton, actress
- 17 January – Paul Young, musician
- 31 January – Johnny Rotten, singer (Sex Pistols)
- 13 February – Peter Hook, bass guitar player (Joy Division and New Order)
- 25 February – Davie Cooper, Scottish footballer (died 1995)
- 12 March – Steve Harris, bass player, founding member of Iron Maiden
- 20 March – Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, politician
- 19 April – Sue Barker, tennis player and television presenter
- 25 April – Greg Richards, decathlete
- 26 April – Koo Stark, actress
- 14 May – Hazel Blears, politician
- 15 May – Kjartan Poskitt, author
- 18 May – John Godber, dramatist
- 15 July – Ian Curtis, musician (Joy Division) (died 1980)
- 14 September – Ray Wilkins, footballer and coach
- 29 September – Sebastian Coe, athlete, co-ordinator of London 2012 Olympic Games
- 27 October – Hazell Dean, singer
- 30 October – Juliet Stevenson, actress
- 28 November – Lucy Gutteridge, actress
- 23 December – Dave Murray, guitarist
- 28 December – Nigel Kennedy, violinist
- 31 January – A. A. Milne, author (born 1882)
- 25 March – Robert Newton, film actor (born 1905)
- 30 March – Edmund Clerihew Bentley, writer (born 1875)
- 17 May – Austin Osman Spare, magician (born 1886)
- 18 May – Maurice Tate, cricketer (born 1895)
- 20 May – Max Beerbohm, theatre critic (born 1872)
- 22 June – Walter de la Mare, poet, short story writer and novelist (born 1873)
- 20 August – Bernard William Griffin, English Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church; Archbishop of Westminster from 1943 until his death (born 1873)
- 22 September – Frederick Soddy, chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1877)
- 16 December – Nina Hamnett, artist (born 1890)
- Goodchild, Sophie. "Half a Century Since Heroin Banned". Society Today. ESRC. Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- "Plans unveiled for homes in Barbican". On This Day. BBC. 24 January 1956. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- Free Cinema at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- "Cambridge spies' surface in Moscow". On This Day. BBC. 11 February 1956. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "Mills & Work Places". Vale and Dale Keighley. 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- Philip, Robert (5 April 2002). "Grand National: Devon Loch's place in history". Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- Hayler, Will (14 February 2010). "Scars of Devon Loch’s Grand National never healed for Dick Francis". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-06-30.
- "Manchester United Clinches First Division Soccer Title". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. 9 April 1956. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 410–411. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
- Robertson, Patrick (1974). The Shell Book of Firsts. London: Ebury Press. p. 243. ISBN 0-7181-1279-2.
- "Macmillan unveils premium bond scheme". BBC News. 18 April 1956. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- [dead link]
- "Bert Trautmann". football-england.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- "Minister rejects anti-smoking lobby". On This Day. BBC. 7 May 1956. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- The Hutchinson Factfinder. Helicon. 1999. ISBN 1-85986-000-1.
- "Mystery of missing frogman deepens". On This Day. BBC. 9 May 1956. Archived from the original on 12 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Gower national park status call". BBC News. 9 May 2006. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "Commonwealth heads honoured". On This Day. BBC. 3 July 1956. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- "Bute Collection for Scotland: Library Opening by The Queen". The Times (53575). 5 July 1956. p. 12.
- Weinreb, Ben; Christopher Hibbert (1995). The London Encyclopaedia. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-57688-8.
- "Corgi History". Retrieved 2010-08-17.
- "Egypt seizes Suez Canal". On This Day. BBC. 26 July 1956. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Livingstone, Marco (1990). Pop Art: a Continuing History. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
- Cullen, Pamela V. (2006). A Stranger in Blood: the Case Files on Dr John Bodkin Adams. London: Elliott & Thompson. ISBN 1-904027-19-9.
- "France and UK considered 1950s 'merger'". The Guardian (London). 16 January 2007. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Sellafield Sites, Site history". Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Black, Ian (11 July 2006). "Secrets and lies at the heart of Britain's Middle Eastern folly". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-05-27.
- "Allied forces take control of Suez". On This Day. BBC. 6 November 1956. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Motorists panic as petrol rations loom". On This Day. BBC. 29 November 1956. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1956". Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- Hanley, Brian; Miller, Scott (2009). The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party. Dublin: Penguin Ireland. p. 14.
- "Thick fog causes death on roads". On This Day. BBC. 19 December 1956. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Jubilation as allied troops leave Suez". On This Day. BBC. 23 December 1956. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-04.
- "Tesco Plc: Overview". Archived from the original on 30 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- "Tesco: Our History". www.tescocorporate.com. Tesco plc. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic (Concise ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-854099-X.
- Hagemeijer, W. J. M.; Blair, M. J. (eds.) (1997). The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds. London: Poyser. ISBN 0-85661-091-7.
- Jeffreys, Kevin (March 2006). "Tony Crosland, The Future of Socialism and New Labour". History Review: 37–38. Retrieved 17 July 2009.