1974 in the United Kingdom
|1974 in the United Kingdom:|
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|Individual countries of the United Kingdom|
|England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales|
|Sport, Television and music|
Events from the year 1974 in the United Kingdom. The year is marked by the Three-Day Week, two General Elections, one change of national government, a state of emergency in Northern Ireland, extensive Provisional Irish Republican Army bombing of the British mainland, several large company collapses and major local government reorganisation.
- Monarch – Elizabeth II
- Prime Minister – Edward Heath (until 4 March) (Conservative), Harold Wilson (Labour) (starting 4 March)
- January – Britain enters its first postwar recession after statistics show that the economy contracted during the third and fourth quarters of last year. 
- 1 January
- 1 January–7 March – The Three-Day Week was introduced by the Conservative Government as a measure to conserve electricity during the period of industrial action by coal miners.
- 4 February – M62 coach bombing: 12 people were killed when a bomb planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army exploded on a coach on the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire. Eight of the dead were off-duty British Army soldiers, and two were children. 12 other people were seriously injured.
- 7 February
- The Prime Minister, Edward Heath, called a General Election for 28 February in an attempt to end the dispute over the miners' strike. During the campaign, the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress agree a 'Social Contract' intended to produce wage restraint.
- Grenada became independent of the United Kingdom.
- 8 February – The M62 motorway bombing death toll reached 12 with the death in hospital of an 18-year-old soldier who had been seriously injured in the bombing.
- 12 February – BBC2 first aired the children's television series Bagpuss, made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate's Smallfilms in stop motion animation.
- 14 February
- 27 February – Enoch Powell, the controversial Conservative MP who was dismissed from the shadow cabinet in 1968 for his "Rivers of Blood" speech opposing mass immigration, announced his resignation from the party, in protest against Edward Heath's decision to take Britain into the EEC.
- 28 February – The General Election resulted in the first hung parliament since 1929, with the Conservative government having 297 seats - four fewer than Labour, who have 301 - and the largest number of votes. Prime Minister Ted Heath hoped to form a coalition with the Liberal Party in order to remain in power.
- 4 March – Ted Heath failed to convince the Liberals to form a coalition and announced his resignation as Prime Minister, paving the way for Harold Wilson to become Prime Minister for the second time as Labour formed a minority government.
- 6 March – The miners' strike came to an end due an improved pay offer by the new Labour government.
- 10 March – Ten miners died in a methane gas explosion at Golborne Colliery near Wigan, Lancashire.
- 11 March – Convicted armed robbers Kenneth Littlejohn and his brother Keith, who claimed to be British spies in the Republic of Ireland, escaped from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin.
- 15 March – Architect John Poulson was jailed for five years for corruption.
- 18 March – Oil embargo crisis: Most OPEC nations ended a 5-month oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan.
- 20 March – Ian Ball failed in his attempt to kidnap HRH Princess Anne and her husband Captain Mark Phillips in The Mall, outside Buckingham Palace.
- 29 March – The government re-established direct rule over Northern Ireland after declaring a state of emergency.
- April – The Soviet car maker Lada, founded four years ago as a result of an enterprise by Italian automotive giant Fiat, began selling cars in the United Kingdom; its 1200 four-door saloon was based on the Fiat 124 and retailed for £999.
- 1 April – The Local Government Act 1972 came into effect in England and Wales, creating six new metropolitan counties and comprehensively redrawing the administrative map. Newport and Monmouthshire are legally transferred from England to Wales.
- 6 April – The 19th Eurovision Song Contest is held at the Dome in Brighton, produced and transmitted by the BBC. Katie Boyle hosts the event for the fourth time. Sweden wins the contest with the song "Waterloo", performed by ABBA, who become the first group to win the Contest. They go on to achieve huge international success.
- 24 April – Leeds United won their second Football League First Division title.
- 27 April – Manchester United were relegated from the Football League First Division where they have played continuously since 1938. Their relegation was confirmed when they lose 1-0 at home to their neighbours City in the penultimate game of the league season and the only goal of the game came from former United striker Denis Law.
- 1 May – Alf Ramsey, who guided England to World Cup glory in 1966, was dismissed by the Football Association after 11 years in charge.
- 2 May – The fascist far-right National Front gained more than 10% of the vote in several parts of London in council elections, but failed to net any councillors.
- 4 May – Liverpool won the FA Cup for the second time, beating Newcastle United 3-0 in the Wembley final, with Kevin Keegan scoring twice and Steve Heighway scoring the other goal.
- 6 May – Inauguration of full electric service on British Rail's West Coast Main Line through to Glasgow.
- 17 May – The Loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force carried out the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the Republic of Ireland.
- 28 May – Power-sharing in the Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed following a strike by unionists.
- 1 June – Flixborough disaster: An explosion at a chemical plant in Flixborough, South Humberside, killed 28 people.
- 8 June – Jon Pertwee left Doctor Who in the final episode of Planet of the Spiders citing the death of his close acting friend Roger Delgado (who played 'The Master') the previous year as the reason. He was replaced by Tom Baker.
- 15 June – The Red Lion Square disorders saw members of the fascist National Front clash with counter-protesters in London's West End; 21-year-old Kevin Gateley, a university student, is killed.
- 17 June – A bomb exploded at the Houses of Parliament in London, damaging Westminster Hall. The Irish Republican Army claimed responsibility for planting the bomb.
- 24 June – The government admitted testing a nuclear weapon in the United States causing a rift in the Labour Party.
- 3 July – Don Revie, the manager of Football League champions Leeds United since 1961, accepted the Football Association's £200,000-a-year deal to become the new England manager.
- 12 July – Bill Shankly, manager of FA Cup holders Liverpool, stunned the club by announcing his retirement after 15 years as manager. Shankly, 60, had arrived at Liverpool when they were in the Football League Second Division and transformed them into one of the world's top club sides with three top division titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup triumph.
- 17 July – A bomb planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) exploded in the White Tower at the Tower of London, killing one person and injuring 41. Another bomb exploded outside a government building in South London.
- 20 July – Leeds United appointed the Brighton & Hove Albion manager Brian Clough, formerly of Derby County as their new manager.
- 21 July – 10,000 Greek-Cypriots protested in London against the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
- 26 July – Liverpool appointed 55-year-old first team coach Bob Paisley as their new manager.
- 15 August – collapse of Court Line and its subsidiaries Clarksons and Horizon Holidays leaves 100,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.
- 29 August – Thames Valley Police broke up the Windsor Free Festival.
- 12 September – Brian Clough was dismissed after less than two months as manager of Leeds United following a disappointing start to the Football League season.
- 23 September – Ceefax was started by the BBC - one of the first public service information systems.
- 30 September – With the year's second General Election 10 days away, opinion polls showed Labour in the lead with Harold Wilson well placed to gain the overall majority that no party had achieved in the election held seven months earlier.
- October – Five previously all-male Colleges of the University of Oxford admitted women undergraduates for the first time.
- 5 October – The Guildford pub bombings at The Horse and Groom and The Seven Stars killed five people.
- 10 October – The second General Election of the year resulted in a narrow victory for Harold Wilson, giving Labour a majority of three seats. It was widely expected that Edward Heath's leadership of the Conservative Party would soon be ended, as he had now lost three of the four General Elections that he had contested in almost a decade as leader. The Scottish National Party secured its highest to date Westminster party representation with 11 seats. Enoch Powell was elected to parliament in Northern Ireland for the Ulster Unionist Party. Powell, who was dismissed from the Tory shadow cabinet in April 1968 following his controversial Rivers of Blood speech on immigration, had left the Conservative Party at 28 February Election and had recently rejected an offer to stand as a candidate for the National Front.
- 12 October – The first UK McDonalds opens in Woolwich, Southeast London.
- 16 October – Rioting prisoners set fire to the Maze Prison in Belfast.
- 22 October – The Provisional IRA bombed Brooks's club in London.
- 28 October – The wife and son of Sports Minister Denis Howell survived a Provisional IRA bomb attack on their car.
- 4 November – Judith Ward was sentenced to life imprisonment for the M62 coach bombing.
- 7 November
- 11 November – The New Covent Garden Market in Nine Elms was opened.
- 21 November – Birmingham pub bombings: In Birmingham, two pubs were bombed, killing 21 people and injuring many others.
- 24 November – The Birmingham Six were charged with the Birmingham pub bombings.
- 25 November – Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announced the government's intention to outlaw the IRA in the UK.
- 27 November – The Prevention of Terrorism Act was passed.
- 5 December – Party Political Broadcast, the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, was broadcast on BBC2.
- 10 December
- Friedrich Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Prize in Economics with ideological rival Gunnar Myrdal "for their pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena.".
- Martin Ryle and Antony Hewish won the Nobel Prize in Physics "for their pioneering research in radio astrophysics: Ryle for his observations and inventions, in particular of the aperture synthesis technique, and Hewish for his decisive role in the discovery of pulsars".
- 15 December – New speed limits were introduced on Britain's roads in an attempt to save fuel at a time of Arab fuel embargoes following the Yom Kippur War.
- 18 December – The government paid £42,000 to families of victims of Bloody Sunday riots in Northern Ireland.
- 22 December – The London home of Conservative Party leader and former Prime Minister Edward Heath was bombed in a suspected Provisional IRA attack. He had been away from home when the bomb exploded, but returned just 10 minutes afterwards.
- 24 December – Former government minister John Stonehouse was found living in Australia having faked his own death. He was quickly arrested by Australian police, who initially believed that he was Lord Lucan.
- Inflation soars to a 34-year high of 17.2%.
- Last production in the UK of steel by the Bessemer process, at Workington.
- China gives two giant pandas, Ching-Ching and Chia-Chia, to Britain.
- The Campaign for Real Ale's first Good Beer Guide.
- Linton Kwesi Johnson's first poetry collection Voices of the Living and the Dead.
- Philip Larkin's poetry collection High Windows.
- John le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, first in The Quest for Karla trilogy featuring George Smiley.
- Stanley Middleton's novel Holiday.
- Nikolaus Pevsner's guidebook Staffordshire, last in the Buildings of England series begun in 1951.
- F. W. Winterbotham's account The Ultra Secret: the inside story of Operation Ultra, Bletchley Park and Enigma.
- 12 January – Melanie Chisholm, English singer ((Spice Girls))
- 16 January – Kate Moss, English model
- 30 January – Christian Bale, English actor
- 31 January – Ian Huntley, English murderer
- 11 February – Nick Barmby. English footballer
- 13 February – Robbie Williams, English singer
- 14 February – Lynden David Hall, British singer (died 2006)
- 22 February
- 28 March
- 17 April – Victoria Beckham, English singer (Spice Girls)
- 24 April – Dave Vitty, aka Comedy Dave, British television host
- 27 May – Denise van Outen, English actress, TV presenter, singer
- 21 June – Natasha Desborough, British radio personality
- 14 July – David Mitchell, English comedian and actor
- 28 July – Justin Lee Collins, English comedian, actor, and author
- 31 July – Emilia Fox, English actress
- 23 August – Ray Park, Scottish actor
- 2 September – Lisa Snowdon, English television presenter
- 6 September – Tim Henman, English tennis player
- 13 September – Adam Ruckwood, English backstroke swimmer
- 18 September – Sol Campbell, English footballer
- 17 October – Matthew Macfadyen, English actor
- 29 October – Michael Vaughan, English cricketer
- 2 November – David Smith, English hammer thrower
- 4 November – Louise Redknapp, English singer ((Eternal))
- 13 December
- 29 December – Jenny Barker, British radio presenter
- 12 January – Princess Patricia of Connaught (born 1886)
- 29 January – H. E. Bates, novelist (born 1905)
- 4 July – Georgette Heyer, English novelist (born 1902)
- 13 July – Patrick Blackett, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1897)
- 24 July – James Chadwick, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (born 1891)
- 1 August – James Henry Govier, British artist (born 1910)
- 22 August – Jacob Bronowski, Polish-born mathematician and television presenter (born 1908)
- 29 August – Judith Furse, actress (born 1912)
- 28 October – David Jones, poet and artist (born 1895)
- 25 November – Nick Drake, British musician (born 1948)
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