1959 in the United Kingdom
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|1959 in the United Kingdom|
|1957 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1961|
|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, television and music|
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister – Harold Macmillan (Conservative)
- Parliament – 41st (until 18 September), 42nd (starting 20 October)
- 15 January – Tyne Tees Television, the ITV franchise for North East England, goes on air.
- 22 January – racing driver Mike Hawthorn is killed after his Jaguar 3.4-litre car collides with a tree on the A3 near Guildford.
- 29 January – dense fog brings chaos to Britain.
- 19 February – the United Kingdom grants Cyprus independence.
- 23 February – Prime Minister Harold Macmillan holds talks with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev on a visit to the USSR.
- 7 March – independence movement leader Kanyama Chiume, wanted in the British territory of Nyasaland, flees to London and goes into hiding.
- 10 March – comedy film Carlton-Browne of the F.O. released.
- 30 March – 20,000 demonstrators attend a CND rally in Trafalgar Square.
- 1 April – the official name of the administrative county of Hampshire is changed from "County of Southampton" to "County of Hampshire".
- 2 April – United Dairies merges with Cow & Gate Ltd (of Guildford) to form Unigate Dairies.
- 22 April – ballerina Margot Fonteyn is released from prison in Panama having been suspected of involvement in a planned coup against the government of President Ernesto de la Guardia.
- 30 April – Icelandic gunboat fires on British trawlers in the first of the "Cod Wars" over fishing rights.
- May – first Ten Tors event held on Dartmoor.
- 2 May
- 7 May – scientist and novelist C. P. Snow delivers an influential Rede Lecture on The Two Cultures, concerning a perceived breakdown of communication between the sciences and humanities, in the Senate House, University of Cambridge. It is subsequently published as The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution.
- 24 May – British Empire Day becomes Commonwealth Day.
- 28 May – Mermaid Theatre opens in the City of London.
- June – import tariffs lifted in the United Kingdom.
- 1 June – first showing on BBC Television of Juke Box Jury chaired by David Jacobs.
- 3 June – Singapore is granted self-governing status.
- 11 June – Christopher Cockerell's invention the hovercraft officially launched.
- 22 June – Harrods enters talks with Debenhams over a possible £34,000,000 merger.
- 23 June – Klaus Fuchs released from Wakefield prison having served over nine years for giving British nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union.
- July – Cliff Richard and The Drifters release a recording of the song "Living Doll" written by Lionel Bart.
- 28 July – UK postcodes are introduced for the first time, as an experiment, in the city of Norwich.
- 29 July
- 4 August – Barclays become the first bank to install a computer.
- 24 August – House of Fraser wins the bidding war for Harrods in a £37,000,000 deal.
- 26 August – BMC launches the Mini, a two-door, 10-foot long mini-car with an 848cc four-cylinder transverse engine and a top speed of 70mph, designed to carry the driver and three passengers and their luggage in comfort. Its designer is Alec Issigonis, who also designed the Morris Minor.
- 31 August – Harold Macmillan and US president Dwight Eisenhower make a joint television broadcast from Downing Street.
- 18 September – Auchengeich mining disaster: 47 miners die as the result of an underground fire at Auchengeich Colliery, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
- 7 October – 300 people need to be rescued when a fire breaks out on Southend Pier.
- 8 October – general election results in a record third successive Conservative victory, with the slogan "Life's better with the Conservatives", following a heated election campaign by the Tories and the Labour opposition, who contested their first general election until the leadership of Hugh Gaitskell. Harold Macmillan increases the Conservative majority to 100 seats. Among the new members of parliament is Margaret Thatcher, who turns 34 on 13 October and represents Finchley in North London.
- 12 October – large-scale diamond robbery in London.
- 21 October – Mau Mau leader Dedan Kimathi is arrested in Nyeri, Kenya.
- 30 October – Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club opens in the Soho district of London.
- 2 November – the first section of the M1 motorway is opened between Watford and Rugby. It is set to be extended over the next few years, southwards to Edgware and northwards to Leeds.
- 5 November – Philip John Noel-Baker wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
- 11 November – London Transport introduces the production AEC Routemaster double-decker bus into public service.
- 14 November – the nuclear Dounreay Fast Reactor in Scotland achieves criticality.
- 17 November – Prestwick and Renfrew Airports become the first in the UK with duty-free shops.
- 20 November – Britain becomes a founder member of the European Free Trade Association.
- December – health enthusiast Dr. Barbara Moore walks from Edinburgh to London.
- 6 December – Aberdeen trawler George Robb runs aground at Duncansby Head in Scotland in a severe gale with the loss of all 12 crew.
- 8 December – Broughty Ferry life-boat Mona capsizes on service to North Carr Lightship in Scotland: all eight lifeboat crew are lost.
- 28 December – Associated-Rediffusion first airs the children's television series Ivor the Engine, made by Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin's Smallfilms in stop motion animation using cardboard cut-outs.
- London County Council completes first portion of Alton Estate in Roehampton, southwest London, considered a model of post-war public housing.
- "Aluminium War": concluding the first hostile takeover of a public company in the UK, Tube Investments (under its chairman Ivan Stedeford), allied with Reynolds Metals of the United States and advised by Siegmund Warburg of S. G. Warburg & Co., secure control of British Aluminium.
- The iconic Bush TR82 transistor radio, by Ogle Design, is launched.
- North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board's Sloy-Awe Hydro-Electric Power Scheme becomes fully operational.
- Car ownership in Britain now exceeds 30% of households.
- Economic growth for the year is a very strong 7.2% while the Retail Price Index shows a zero percentage change over the year.
- Noise Abatement Society established.
- Approximate date – Ballads and Blues folk club founded by Ewan MacColl and others in a London pub in Soho as part of the second British folk revival.
- Agatha Christie's novel Cat Among the Pigeons.
- Ian Fleming's novel Goldfinger.
- Colin MacInnes' novel Absolute Beginners.
- Spike Milligan's collection Silly Verse for Kids.
- Iona and Peter Opie's study The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren.
- Mervyn Peake's novel Titus Alone, last completed of the Gormenghast series.
- Alan Sillitoe's story The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
- Keith Waterhouse's novel Billy Liar.
January – February
- 5 January – David Eastwood, English historian and academic
- 7 January – Angela Evans Smith, British Labour Co-operative politician and MP for Basildon
- 16 January – Sade Adu, Nigerian-born British singer, composer, songwriter and record producer
- 30 January – Alex Hyde-White, English actor
- 3 February – Lol Tolhurst, cofounder and former drummer/keyboardist of The Cure
- 23 February – Richard Dodds, British field hockey player
- 27 February – Simon Critchley, British philosopher
March – April
- 1 March – Nick Griffin, British politician and chairman of the British National Party (BNP)
- 9 March – Mark Carwardine, British zoologist
- 15 March – Ben Okri, Nigerian-born poet and novelist.
- 20 March – Steve McFadden, British actor
- 21 March – Colin Jones, Welsh boxer
- 5 April – Ian Pearson, British Labour politician and MP for Dudley South
- 15 April – Emma Thompson, English actress, comedian, and screenwriter.
- 16 April – Alison Ramsay, Scottish field hockey player
- 17 April - Peter Doig, British painter
- 21 April – Robert Smith, British musician (The Cure)
- 25 April – Adrian Sanders, British Liberal Democrat politician and MP for Torbay
- 27 April – Sheena Easton, Scottish singer
May – June
- 3 May – Ben Elton, British comedian and writer
- 5 May – Ian McCulloch, English singer (Echo & the Bunnymen)
- 12 May
- 15 May – Andrew Eldritch, musician (The Sisters of Mercy)
- 16 May – Tracy Hyde, English actress and model
- 17 May
- 22 May – Morrissey, singer
- 29 May
- 1 June
- 6 June – Lindsay Posner, English director and manager
- 11 June – Hugh Laurie, English actor, comedian and writer
- 19 June – Sophie Grigson, British cookery writer and celebrity chef
- 21 June – John Baron, British Conservative politician and MP for Billericay
- 26 June – Lucy Kellaway, British columnist at the Financial Times
- 27 June – Clint Boon, British musician (Inspiral Carpets)
- 29 June – Richard Vranch, British comedian, actor, and TV panel show participant
July – August
- 3 July
- 13 July – Richard Leman, field hockey player
- 31 July – Kim Newman, journalist, film critic and fiction writer
- 1 August – Joe Elliott, singer (Def Leppard)
- 5 August – Pete Burns, pop singer (died 2016)
- 20 August – Andrew Pelling, Conservative politician and MP for Croydon Central
- 24 August – Meg Munn, Labour Co-operative politician and MP for Sheffield Heeley
- 27 August – Jeanette Winterson, novelist
September – October
- 18 September – Ian Arkwright, English footballer
- 23 September – Karen Pierce, British diplomat
- 7 October – Simon Cowell, English music producer and television talent show judge
- 10 October
- 15 October
- 16 October
- 20 October – Niamh Cusack, Irish-born actress
- 26 October – Brian Bovell, British actor
November – December
- 1 November – Susanna Clarke, British writer
- 2 November – Peter Mullan, Scottish actor
- 9 November – Frances O'Grady, British trades union leader
- 14 November – Paul McGann, British actor
- 18 November – Jimmy Quinn, Irish footballer and football manager
- 25 November – Charles Kennedy, Scottish Liberal Democrat politician (died 2015)
- 30 November – Lorraine Kelly, British presenter and journalist
- 2 December – Gwyneth Strong, British actress
- 6 December – Stephen Hepburn, British Labour politician and MP for Jarrow
- 10 December – Kevin Ash, journalist and author (d. 2013)
- 12 December – Jasper Conran, English fashion designer
- 28 December – Andy McNab, British soldier turned novelist
- 29 November – Richard Borcherds, mathematician
- 30 December – Tracey Ullman, English comedian, actress, singer, dancer, screenwriter and author
- Dilly Braimoh, African-British television presenter and producer
- Amanda Craig, British novelist
- Mick Hume, British journalist and former organiser of the Revolutionary Communist Party
- Mick Manning, British children's author and illustrator
- Jasper Morrison, English product and furniture designer
- 22 January – Mike Hawthorn, English race car driver (car crash) (born 1929)
- 15 February – Owen Willans Richardson, British physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1879)
- 21 February – Kathleen Freeman, classical scholar (born 1897)
- 11 July – Charlie Parker, English cricketer (born 1882)
- 5 August – Edgar Guest, English poet (born 1881)
- 19 August
- 6 September – Kay Kendall, English actress (born 1926) (leukaemia)
- 21 September – Agnes Nicholls, operatic soprano (born 1877)
- 25 September
- 15 November – Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, Scottish physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1869)
- 26 November – Albert Ketèlbey, pianist, conductor and composer (born 1875)
- 14 December – Stanley Spencer, painter (born 1891)
- "1959: Fog brings transport chaos". BBC News. 29 January 1959. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "1959: Macmillan and Khrushchev talk peace". BBC News. 23 February 1959. Archived from the original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "1959: African activist flees to UK". BBC News. 7 March 1959. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Cow & Gate Limited". The Times. 1 April 1959.
- "1959: Dame Margot Fonteyn released from jail". BBC News. 22 April 1959. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
- "FA Cup Final Results". FA Cup Finals. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "June anniversaries". The BBC Story. BBC. Archived from the original on 28 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- "1959: Hovercraft marks new era in transport". BBC News. 11 June 1959. Archived from the original on 6 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "Norwich to use postal codes – Experimenting in automation", The Times, 29 July 1959
- "1959". Those were the days. Wolverhampton: Express & Star. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "1959: Harrods in £34m merger talks". BBC News. 22 June 1959. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "1959: Anglo-US TV debate makes history". BBC News. 31 August 1959. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "Community pays tribute to Auchengeich mining disaster victims". Kirkintilloch Herald. 11 September 2007. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- "1959: Southend Pier fire traps hundreds". BBC News. 7 October 1959. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "1959: 'Supermac' leads Tories to victory". BBC News. 9 October 1959. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- Rees, Nigel (1987). Sayings of the Century. London: Unwin Paperbacks. ISBN 0-04-440080-2.
- "1959 General election results summary". UK Political Info. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "History of Baroness Margaret Thatcher". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
- "The Nobel Peace Prize 1959". Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- The Hutchinson Factfinder. Helicon. 1999. ISBN 1-85986-000-1.
- "Chronology of Scottish History". A Timeline of Scottish History. Rampant Scotland. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "MFV George Robb (A406)". WreckSite. 2012. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Harwood, Elain (2003). England: a Guide to Post-War Listed Buildings (rev. ed.). London: Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8818-2.
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- Boyes, Georgina (1993). The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology, and the English Folk Revival. Manchester University Press. p. 231. ISBN 0-7190-2914-7.