1963 in the United Kingdom
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|1963 in the United Kingdom|
|1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965|
|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, television and music|
Events from the year 1963 in the United Kingdom. This year sees changes in the leadership of both main political parties, the Profumo affair and the rise of the Beatles as well as the launch of the long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who.
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister – Harold Macmillan (Conservative) (until 19 October), Alec Douglas-Home (Conservative) (starting 19 October)
- Parliament – 42nd
- January–April – Winter of 1963: The UK experiences the worst winter since 1946–1947. Low temperatures keep snow lying around until early-April in some areas.
- 7 January – Granada Television first broadcasts World in Action, its influential investigative current affairs series, which will run for thirty-five years.
- 11 January – Musical film Summer Holiday starring Cliff Richard premieres in London.
- 16 January – The Macmillan-led Conservative government announces that a new town will be developed in Shropshire. Dawley New Town will incorporate existing communities including Dawley, Ironbridge and Madeley, and will largely be used as an overspill town for Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
- 18 January – The Labour Party leader, Hugh Gaitskell, dies suddenly aged 56.
- 23 January – Double agent Kim Philby disappears from Beirut having defected to the Soviet Union.
- 29 January – Charles de Gaulle, President of France, vetoes the UK's entry into the European Economic Community.
- 14 February – The Labour Party elects 46-year-old Huyton MP, Harold Wilson as it's new leader and Leader of the Opposition. Missing out in the leadership contest is Cardiff South East MP James Callaghan. Opinion polls are currently showing strong support for the Labour Party, with a general election due before the end of next year.
- 16 February – Opinion polls indicate that Labour would defeat the Conservatives at a general election, who have governed since 1951.
- March – The divorce case of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll takes place.
- 15 March – Ridge v. Baldwin, a landmark case in the law of judicial review, is decided on appeal: a public official is held to be wrongfully dismissed because he had no notice of the grounds on which the decision was made, and no opportunity to be heard in his own defence.
- 22 March – The Beatles release their debut album, Please Please Me.
- 27 March – Chairman of British Railways Dr. Richard Beeching issues a report calling for huge cuts to the UK's rail network. This is expected to result in the closure of more than 2,000 railway stations as well as the scrapping of some 8,000 coaches and the loss of up to 68,000 jobs.
- 6 April – Polaris Sales Agreement with the United States, leading to commencement of construction of nuclear submarine facilities at Faslane Naval Base.
- 15 April – 70,000 protesters arrive in London, who have marched all the way from Aldermarston to demonstrate against nuclear weapons.
- 24 April – Princess Alexandra of Kent marries the Hon. Angus Ogilvy at Westminster Abbey.
- 2 May
- The Beatles reach #1 in the Singles chart for the first time with, "From Me To You".
- The Duke of Edinburgh opens the Rootes Group's new car plant at the town of Linwood, Renfrewshire, for the production of its new rear-engined mini-car – the Hillman Imp – to compete against BMC's Mini. It has an economical 875cc engine, and is expected to be developed into luxury Singer and sporty Sunbeam variants in the near future. It is the first new car to be produced in Scotland for thirty years.
- 7–13 May – The last servicemen are released from conscription as National Service ends.
- 11 May
- 15 May – Tottenham Hotspur become the first British football team to win a European trophy when a 5–1 win over Atlético Madrid in Rotterdam gives them the European Cup Winners' Cup.
- 25 May – Manchester United beat Leicester City 3-1 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium with two goals from David Herd and another from Denis Law. It is Manchester United's first major trophy since eight of their players died in the Munich air disaster five years earlier.
- 5 June – Profumo affair: John Profumo, Secretary of State for War, admits to misleading Parliament and resigns over his affair with Christine Keeler.
- 8 June – Profumo affair: Stephen Ward charged with living on immoral earnings.
- 17 June – The Profumo affair has done the Conservative government no favours in the opinion polls, which continue to show that a Labour victory would be inevitable in a general election.
- 1 July – Kim Philby named as the "Third Man" in the Burgess and Maclean spy ring.
- 12 July – Pauline Reade, 16, is reported missing on her way to a dance in Gorton, Manchester, the first victim of the Moors murders.
- 31 July – Water Resources Act provides for the regulation of water abstraction, principally through the establishment of regional river authorities.
- August – Race riots in Dudley.
- 5 August – The United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union sign a nuclear test ban treaty.
- 8 August – the Great Train Robbery takes place in Buckinghamshire.
- 20 August – The Royal Shakespeare Company introduces its performance cycle of Shakespeare's history plays under the title The War of the Roses, adapted and directed by John Barton and Peter Hall, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon.
- 5 September – Christine Keeler is arrested for perjury. On 6 December she is sentenced to nine months in prison.
- 7 September – Geophysicists Fred Vine and Drummond Matthews publish proof of seafloor spreading on the Atlantic Ocean floor.
- 12 September – The Beatles reach #1 for the second time, with the single "She Loves You" (released on 23 August).
- 17 September – RAF Fylingdales radar station on the North York Moors begins operation as part of the United States Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.
- 18 September – Rioters burn down the British Embassy in Jakarta to protest against the formation of Malaysia.
- 23 September – The Robbins Report (the report of the Committee on Higher Education, chaired by Lord Robbins) is published. It recommends immediate expansion of universities, and that university places "should be available to all who were qualified for them by ability and attainment". Its conclusions are accepted by the government on 24 October.
- 25 September – The Denning Report on the Profumo affair is published.
- 26 September – Vauxhall launches the new Viva, a small family saloon, similar in size to BMC's 1100 and the Ford Anglia.
- 29 September
- 2 October – Ford Motor Company begins production of its Ford Anglia car at their new Halewood Body & Assembly plant on Merseyside.
- 10 October – Prime Minister Harold Macmillan announces his resignation after nearly seven years in office, at the age of 69, on the grounds of ill health.
- 17 October – In Stockholm, two British scientists (Alan Lloyd Hodgkin and Andrew Fielding Huxley) and an Australian (John Carew Eccles) are announced as winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane".
- 18 October – Macmillan resigns as Prime Minister.
- 19 October – Alec Douglas-Home replaces Macmillan as UK Prime Minister, renouncing his peerage.
- 22 October – The National Theatre Company, newly formed under artistic director Laurence Olivier, gives its first performance, with Peter O'Toole as Hamlet.
- November – Publication of Traffic in Towns, a report on urban transport planning policy produced for the Department of Transport by a team headed by Colin Buchanan.
- 18 November – The Dartford Tunnel opens.
- 22 November – C. S. Lewis, the author most famous for the Narnia books (1950–1955), dies aged sixty-five years old in Oxford. However, media coverage of his death (as also that of Aldous Huxley in the United States on the same day) is overshadowed by the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy, news of which reaches the UK just after 18:30 UTC.
- 23 November
- 25 November – The Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Leader of the Opposition Harold Wilson attend the funeral of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Washington, D.C.
- 30 November – After an unbroken 30-week spell at the top of the UK Albums Chart, The Beatles album Please Please Me is knocked off the top of the charts by the group's latest album With the Beatles (released on 22 November).
- 12 December
- 19 December – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom, as a constitutional monarchy under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah.
- 21 December – First episode of the seven-part serial The Daleks broadcast in the Doctor Who series, introducing the alien Daleks (revealed fully in the following week's episode).
- BMC's new Rover P6 luxury saloon is the first winner of the prestigious European Car of the Year award.
- S. Hille & Co market the Polypropylene stacking chair designed by Robin Day.
- The launch of the Astro or lava lamp by the founder of Mathmos, Edward Craven-Walker.
- Engineering Building at the University of Leicester is completed, the first major work by James Stirling with James Gowan, and a leading example of Brutalist architecture.
- The motorway network continues to grow with the opening of the first section of the M4 in Berkshire, the M6 between Warrington and Preston in Lancashire, and the M2 in Kent.
- Economic growth for the year reaches a postwar high of 7.5% (slightly above the previous record of 7.2% in 1959), with GDP reaching 4.3% in the second quarter of the year.
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel The Clocks.
- Margaret Drabble's first novel A Summer Bird Cage.
- Ian Fleming's James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- John Fowles' novel The Collector.
- The Group's poetry collection A Group Anthology edited by Edward Lucie-Smith and Philip Hobsbaum.
- John le Carré's novel The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
- Alistair MacLean's thriller Ice Station Zebra.
- Sylvia Plath's only novel The Bell Jar (under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas).
- Bishop John A.T. Robinson's controversial religious book Honest to God.
- C. P. Snow's novel Corridors of Power.
- E. P. Thompson's social history The Making of the English Working Class.
January – April
- 3 January – Matthew Taylor, Liberal Democrat politician and MP for Truro and St Austell
- 16 January – James May, English motoring journalist and television
- 18 January – Ian Crook, English footballer
- 19 January
- 22 January – Huw Irranca-Davies, Welsh Labour politician and MP for Ogmore
- 26 January – Andrew Ridgeley, English musician
- 27 January – George Monbiot, British journalist and weekly columnist for The Guardian
- 10 February – Philip Glenister, actor
- 13 February – John King, English long jumper
- 17 February – Alison Hargreaves, British mountain climber (died 1995)
- 19 February – Seal, singer
- 22 February – Andrew Adonis, Baron Adonis, English journalist and politician, Secretary of State for Transport
- 11 March – Alex Kingston, English actress
- 14 March – Michael John Foster, English Labour politician and MP for Worcester
- 16 March – Jerome Flynn, British actor
- 20 March – David Thewlis, English actor
- 6 April – Andrew Weatherall, English disc jockey
- 7 April – Nick Herbert, British Conservative politician and MP for Arundel and South Downs
- 8 April – Julian Lennon, musician son of John Lennon
- 13 April – Mo Johnston, Scottish footballer
May – August
- May – Inga Beale, insurance executive
- 9 May – Barry Douglas Lamb, musician, author and preacher
- 11 May – Natasha Richardson, actress (died 2009)
- 6 June
- 23 June – Colin Montgomerie, Scottish golfer
- 25 June – George Michael, pop singer (died 2016)
- 27 June – Meera Syal, comedian, writer, singer and actress
- 29 June – Errol Christie, boxer (died 2017)
- 2 July – Mark Kermode, British film critic
- 3 July – Tracey Emin, artist
- 6 July – Stuart Garrard, English guitarist
- 25 July – Julian Hodgson, English chess grandmaster
- 31 July
- 1 August – Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform rabbi
- 3 August – Tasmin Archer, English singer
- 4 August – Gary King, disc jockey
- 30 August
September – December
- 19 September
- 26 September – Lysette Anthony, English actress
- 12 October – Alan McDonald, Northern Irish footballer
- 31 October – Sanjeev Bhaskar, comic actor
- 1 November
- 3 November – Ian Wright, English footballer and radio/TV personality
- 4 November – Lena Zavaroni, Scottish entertainer (died 1999)
- 10 November – Hugh Bonneville, actor
- 14 November – Keith Curle, English footballer, football manager and football coach
- 19 November – Jon Potter, British field hockey player
- 20 November – William Timothy Gowers, British mathematician
- 21 November – Nicollette Sheridan, English actress
- 26 November – Joe Lydon, English international Rugby League player
- 5 December – Eddie 'the Eagle' Edwards, English ski jumper
- 7 December – Mark Bowen, Welsh footballer
- 8 December – Brian McClair, Scottish footballer and football coach
- 22 December – Bryan Gunn, Scottish footballer and football coach
- 24 December – Caroline Aherne, comic television actress/writer (died 2016)
- 29 December – Dave McKean, English artist and filmmaker
- 18 January
- 22 January – Lily Montagu, pioneer of reform Judaism (born 1873)
- 16 March – William Beveridge, economist and social reformer (born 1879)
- 17 June – John Cowper Powys, novelist, lecturer and philosopher (born 1872)
- 16 August – Joan Eardley, painter (born 1921)
- 22 August – William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, founder of Morris Motors and philanthropist (born 1877)
- 3 September – Louis MacNeice, poet and playwright (born 1907)
- 20 September – Peter Craven, English motorcycle racer (born 1934)
- 22 November
- December – Andy Kennedy, Northern Irish footballer (born 1897)
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