1988 in the United Kingdom

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United Kingdom 1988 in the United Kingdom United Kingdom
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Events from the year 1988 in the United Kingdom. The year sees the merger in March of the SDP and the Liberals to form the Liberal Democrats. There were also two notable disasters this year: the Piper Alpha oil rig explosion and the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.





  • 1 February – Victor Miller, a 33-year-old warehouse worker from Wolverhampton, confesses to the murder of 14-year-old Stuart Gough, who was found dead in Worcestershire last month.
  • 3 February – Nurses throughout the UK strike for higher pay and more funding for the National Health Service.[4]
  • 4 February – Nearly 7,000 ferry workers go on strike in Britain, paralysing the nation's seaports.
  • 5 February – The first BBC Red Nose Day raises £15,000,000 for charity.[5]
  • 7 February – It is reported that more than 50% of men and 80% of women working full-time in London, are earning less than the lowest sum needed to buy the cheapest houses in the capital.
  • 13 – 28 February – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but do not win any medals.
  • 15 February – Norman Fowler, Secretary of State for Employment, announces plans for a new training scheme which the government hopes will give jobs to up to 600,000 people who are currently unemployed.
  • 16 February – Thousands of nurses and co-workers form picket lines outside British hospitals as they go on strike in protest against what they see as inadequate NHS funding.
  • 26 February – Multiple rapist and murderer John Duffy is sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he should never be released.



  • 9 April – The house price boom is reported to have boosted wealth in London and the South-East by £39,000,000,000 over the last four years, compared with an £18,000,000,000 slump in Scotland and the North-West of England.
  • 10 April – Golfer Sandy Lyle becomes the first British winner of the US Masters.
  • 21 April – The government announces that nurses will receive a 15% pay rise, at a cost of £794,000,000 which will be funded by the Treasury.
  • 24 April – Luton Town FC beat Arsenal in the Littlewoods Cup final at Wembley 3–2. The match was won in the 92nd minute with a goal by Brian Stein after Luton had come back from being 2–1 down and goalkeeper Andy Dibble saving a penalty in the 79th minute. Luton scorers Brian Stein (2) and Danny Wilson. 96,000 fans were in attendance.



  • 2 June – U.S. President Ronald Reagan makes a visit to the UK.
  • 11 June – Some 80,000 people attend a concert at Wembley Stadium in honour of Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid campaigner who turned seventy on that day, and has been imprisoned since 1964.
  • 15 June – Five British soldiers are killed by the IRA in Lisburn.
  • 16 June – More than one hundred English football fans are arrested in West Germany in connection with incidents of football hooliganism during the European Championships.
  • 18 June – England's participation in the European Football Champions ended when they finished bottom of their group having lost all three games.
  • 23 June – Three gay rights activists invade the BBC television studios during the six o'clock bulletin of the BBC News.




  • 3 September – Economic experts warn that the recent economic upturn for most of the developed world is almost over, and that these countries – including Britain – face a recession in the near future.
  • 9 September – The England cricket team's tour to India is cancelled, after Captain Graham Gooch and seven other players are refused visas because of involvement in South African cricket during the apartheid boycott.[5]
  • 10 September – Teenager Lee Boxell disappears in South London, whilst out shopping with a friend. To this day, he has never been found.
  • 13 September – Royal Mail managers and Union of Communication Workers representatives agree a settlement to end the postal workers strike.[19]
  • 17 September – Great Britain and Northern Ireland compete at the Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, and win 5 gold, 10 silver and 9 bronze medals.
  • 19 September – Actor Roy Kinnear is seriously injured after falling off his horse during filming in Spain. He dies of his injuries the following day.
  • 20 September – Margaret Thatcher gives her "Bruges Speech" on European integration.[20]
  • 24 September – The house price boom is reported to be slowing as a result of increased mortgage rates.
  • 30 September – A Gibraltar jury decides that the IRA members killed in March were killed "lawfully".[21]



  • 2 November – Victor Miller is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 14-year-old Stuart Gough in Worcestershire earlier this year, with a recommendation by the trial judge that he is not considered for parole for at least thirty years.
  • 4 November – Margaret Thatcher presses for freedom for the people of Poland on her visit to Gdańsk.
  • 9 November – The government unveils plans for a new identity card scheme in an attempt to clamp down on football hooliganism.
  • 15 November
  • 30 November
    • A government report reveals that up to 50,000 people in Britain may be HIV positive, and that by the end of 1992, up to 17,000 people may have died from AIDS.
    • A bronze statue of former Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee (1883–1967) is unveiled outside Limehouse Library in London by another former Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson.[24]


  • 3 December – Health Minister Edwina Currie provokes outrage by stating that most of Britain's egg production is infected with the salmonella bacteria, causing an immediate nationwide decrease in egg sales.[25]
  • 6 December – The last shipbuilding facilities on Wearside, once the largest shipbuilding area in the world, are to close with the loss of 2,400 jobs.
  • 10 December – James W. Black wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Gertrude B. Elion and George H. Hitchings "for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment".[26]
  • 12 December – 35 people are killed in the Clapham Junction rail crash.
  • 15 December – Unemployment is now only just over 2,100,000 – the lowest level for almost eight years.
  • 16 December
    • Edwina Currie resigns as Health Minister.[5]
    • M25 Three: a series of burglaries take place, and a man is murdered during the early hours around the M25 motorway.
  • 19 December
    • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors publishes its house price survey, revealing a deep recession in the housing market.
    • PC Gavin Carlton, 29, is shot dead in Coventry in a siege by two armed bank robbers. His colleague DC Leonard Jakeman is also shot but survives. One of the gunmen gives himself up to police, while the other shoots himself dead.
  • 20 December – The three-month-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York is christened Beatrice Elizabeth Mary.[27]
  • 21 December – Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over the town of Lockerbie, killing a total of 270 people – 11 on the ground and all 259 who were on board.[28]


  • Inflation remains low for the seventh year running, now standing at 4.9%.[29]
  • Diggers of the foundations of the new Art Gallery at the Guildhall in the City of London accidentally discover the remains of a Roman amphitheatre, now on public display.[30]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Sanders, John (2000). Forensic Casebook of Crime. London: True Crime Library/Forum Press. ISBN 1-874358-36-2.
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ "Nurses protest for better pay". BBC News. 3 February 1988. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  5. ^ a b c d e Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006. ISBN 0-14-102715-0.
  6. ^ Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 454–455. ISBN 0-7126-5616-2.
  7. ^ "IRA gang shot dead in Gibraltar". BBC News. 7 March 1988. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  8. ^ "Avalanche hits royal ski party". BBC News. 10 March 1988. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  9. ^ "Three shot dead at Milltown Cemetery". BBC News. 16 March 1988. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  10. ^ "Judges free man jailed over IRA funeral murders". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 6 September 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  11. ^ "1984: O-Levels to be replaced by GCSEs". BBC News. 20 June 1984. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  12. ^ "Hick makes cricketing history". BBC News. 6 May 1988. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  14. ^ "Piper Alpha oil rig ablaze". BBC News. 6 July 1988. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  15. ^ "Ashdown to lead Britain's third party". BBC News. 28 July 1988. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  16. ^ "Tony Cottee". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  17. ^ "Glanford Park". Scunthorpe United Football Club. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  18. ^ "Ian Rush". Soccerbase. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
  19. ^ a b "Britain's Postal Strike Ends With a Settlement". The New York Times. 13 September 1988. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  20. ^ https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/107332
  21. ^ "'SAS killed lawfully' – Gibraltar jury". BBC News. 30 September 1988. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  22. ^ "Government loses Spycatcher battle". BBC News. 13 October 1988. Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ "Limehouse Library". Postcard of the Month. East London Postcard Co. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
  25. ^ "Egg industry fury over salmonella claim". BBC News. 3 December 1988. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  26. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1988". Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 2011-01-21.
  28. ^ "Jumbo jet crashes onto Lockerbie". BBC News. 21 December 1988. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 February 2006. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  30. ^ "London Roman Amphitheatre". Historvius. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  31. ^ Marr, Andrew (2007). A History of Modern Britain. London: Macmillan. p. 515. ISBN 978-1-4050-0538-8.

External links[edit]