1742 in Great Britain
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Events from the year 1742 in Great Britain.
- Monarch - George II
- Prime Minister - Robert Walpole (Whig) (until 11 February), Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington (Whig) (from 11 February)
- January - The House of Commons votes on the alleged rigging of the Chippenham by-election. It becomes a motion of no confidence which leads to the resignation of Robert Walpole.
- 9 January - Robert Walpole made Earl of Orford and resigns as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. On his formally relinquishing office five days later, he will have served 20 years and 314 days as Prime Minister, the longest single term ever, and also longer than the accumulated terms of any other British Prime Minister.
- 12 February - John Carteret, 2nd Lord Carteret becomes Secretary of State for the Northern Department.
- 16 February - Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington becomes Prime Minister of Great Britain.
- 18 February - British attack La Guayra.
- 13 April - George Frideric Handel's oratorio The Messiah is first performed in Dublin.
- 28 May - Opening in London of first known British bagnio to offer a swimming pool.
- 7 July - War of Jenkins' Ear: British troops defeat those of Spain in the Battle of Bloody Marsh in the Province of Georgia.
- 14 July - William Pulteney is created 1st Earl of Bath.
- September - Construction starts on the Foundling Hospital in London.
- Henry Fielding's novel Joseph Andrews.
- Charles Jervas' translation of Don Quixote (published posthumously under the name "Jarvis").
- Edward Young's poetry The Complaint, or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality (first three parts; published anonymously).
- 1 January - Isaac Reed, Shakespearean editor (died 1807)
- 8 January - Philip Astley, circus organiser (died 1814)
- 15 March (bapt.) - John Stackhouse, Cornish-born botanist (died 1819)
- 25 March - William Combe, born William Combes, writer, poet and adventurer (died 1823)
- 28 April - Henry Dundas, statesman (died 1811)
- 26 December (bapt.) - George Chalmers, Scottish-born antiquarian (died 1825)
- 1 January - Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, statesman (born 1686)
- 14 January - Edmond Halley, astronomer (born 1656)
- 22 February - Charles Rivington, publisher (born 1688)
- 2 April - James Douglas, physician and anatomist (born 1675)
- 18 June - John Aislabie, politician (born 1670)
- 27 June - Nathan Bailey, philologist and lexicographer (year of birth unknown)
- 9 July - John Oldmixon, historian (born 1673)
- 14 July - Richard Bentley, scholar and critic (born 1662)
- 19 July - William Somervile, poet (born 1675)
- "A dozen Downing Street departures". BBC News. 2007-05-09. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- Williams, Hywel (2005). Cassell's Chronology of World History. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 309. ISBN 0-304-35730-8.
- "Earl of Wilmington, PMs in history". Archived from the original on 5 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- Gordon, Ian; Inglis, Simon (2009). Great Lengths: the historic indoor swimming pools of Britain. Swindon: English Heritage. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-90562-452-2.
- Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher (1995). The London Encyclopaedia. Macmillan. pp. 300–301. ISBN 0-333-57688-8.
- Cox, Michael, ed. (2004). The Concise Oxford Chronology of English Literature. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860634-6.
- Birley, Robert (1962). Sunk without Trace: some forgotten masterpieces reconsidered. London: Rupert Hart-Davis.