Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

List of Historical Anniversaries

I often wonder what significant anniversaries are due at some point in the future as some of them might be of interest as triggers for blog posts or visits somewhere. However, it is often difficult to find out quickly what events have significant anniversaries - hence this section on the website.

By "significant anniversaries", I mean dates that are not, for example, the 73rd anniversary of something, but the 50th, 100th, 200th etc.

It should help to flag up interesting events.

Anniversaries during December 2023

Note: This page lists ALL anniversaries, not just the key dates.
For that more useful list, click here.

603rd Henry V of England enters Paris. (1st Dec 1420)
104th Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom (she had been elected to that position on November 28). (1st Dec 1919)
98th World War I aftermath: The final Locarno Treaty is signed in London, establishing post-war territorial settlements. (1st Dec 1925)
156th At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States. (1st Dec 1867)
130th Arthur Conan Doyle surprises the reading public by revealing in the story The Adventure of the Final Problem, published in this month's Strand Magazine, that his character Sherlock Holmes had apparently died at the Reichenbach Falls on 4 May 1891. (1st Dec 1893)
110th Extension of London Underground Bakerloo Line between Baker Street and Paddington opens. (1st Dec 1913)
110th Bakerloo Line extension from Edgware Road to Paddington opens. (1st Dec 1913)
47th Punk rock band the Sex Pistols achieve public notoriety as they unleash several swearwords live on Bill Grundy's TV show. (1st Dec 1976)
13th Heavy snow and freezing temperatures now affect most of the country, with road, rail and air services disrupted and thousands of schools shut. Gatwick and Edinburgh Airports are both closed. (1st Dec 2010)
80th (date uncertain) construction of prototype Mark I Colossus computer, the world's first totally electronic programmable computing device, at the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill, to assist in cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park, is completed. (1st Dec 1943)
180th the world's first Christmas cards, commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London from the artist John Callcott Horsley, are sent. (1st Dec 1843)
1st Ian Blackford announces he is stepping down as head of the SNP in Westminster. He will be succeeded by Stephen Flynn. (1st Dec 2022)
1st 2022 City of Chester by-election: Labour hold the City of Chester with a 61% vote share in the first by-election of Rishi Sunak's premiership. Samantha Dixon is elected with a 10,974 majority, Labour's best ever result in the seat. (1st Dec 2022)
2nd The British Armed Forces announces that it will now allow those with HIV and taking antiretrovirals to serve, with those diagnosed to be allowed without restrictions from spring 2022, ending a barrier for such individuals. Medications will also be freely available for such patients. (1st Dec 2021)
268th The second Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed by fire. (2nd Dec 1755)
68th Barnes rail crash, Barnes, South London: collision due to signal error and consequent fire: 13 killed, 35 injured. (2nd Dec 1955)
97th The Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin ends the martial law that had been declared due to General Strike. (2nd Dec 1926)
207th Spa Fields riots: a mass meeting of conspirators dispersed by the police. (2nd Dec 1816)
80th First "Bevin Boys" selected from conscripts to work in the coal mines. (2nd Dec 1943)
80th Pigeons White Vision, Winkie and Tyke become the first recipients of the Dickin Medal, instituted to honour the work of animals in war. (2nd Dec 1943)
1st The UK Health Security Agency reports a string of recent deaths among children who caught Group A streptococcal infection, with five children confirmed to have died in England and one in Wales. Three further deaths are reported on 5 (2nd Dec 2022)
79th World War II: The Home Guard is stood down. (3rd Dec 1944)
97th Agatha Christie disappears from her home in Surrey for 11 days. The reason for the disappearance has never been explained. (3rd Dec 1926)
13th The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal returns to Portsmouth for the last time before being decommissioned. The amphibious warfare ship HMS Albion is announced as her successor as the Royal Navy's flagship. (3rd Dec 2010)
2nd Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes are jailed over the torture and killing of Hughes' six-year-old son, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. Hughes, found guilty of his manslaughter, is jailed for 21 years. His partner Tustin, found guilty of murdering the boy, receives a minimum of 29 years. (3rd Dec 2021)
278th Charles Edward Stewart's army reaches Derby, its furthest point during the second Jacobite Rising. (4th Dec 1745)
232nd The first edition of The Observer, the world's first Sunday newspaper, is published. (4th Dec 1791)
52nd McGurk's Bar bombing: An Ulster Volunteer Force bomb kills 15 civilians and wounds 17 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (4th Dec 1971)
52nd Fifteen people are killed and seventeen others injured in a bomb attack that destroys McGurk's Bar in Belfast. (4th Dec 1971)
8th The Forth Road Bridge in Scotland is closed due to structural defects, and the Scottish Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, declares that it will not be reopened until January 2016. (4th Dec 2015)
15th Lapland New Forest, a Christmas themed park in Dorset closed after scores of complaints about the poor quality of its attractions. (4th Dec 2008)
5th The 100,000 Genomes Project is completed by scientists in Cambridge. (5th Dec 2018)
257th In London, James Christie holds his first sale. (5th Dec 1766)
71st Great Smog of 1952: A cold fog descends upon London, combining with air pollution and killing at least 12,000 in the weeks and months that follow. (5th Dec 1952)
65th Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh. (5th Dec 1958)
65th The Preston bypass, the UK's first stretch of motorway, opens to traffic for the first time. It is now part of the M6 and M55 motorways (5th Dec 1958)
9th Scotland reduces its drink-drive limit from 80 mg to 50mg, bringing the country's legal limit into line with much of mainland Europe. (5th Dec 2014)
49th Party Political Broadcast, the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, was broadcast on BBC 2. (5th Dec 1974)
2nd Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng visits North East England where thousands of homes remain without power, more than a week after Storm Arwen. The Army and Royal Marines continue to deliver supplies to affected residents, as power firms work to repair the last outages. (5th Dec 2021)
375th Colonel Pride of the New Model Army purges the Long Parliament of MPs sympathetic to King Charles I of England, in order for the King's trial to go ahead; came to be known as "Pride's Purge". (6th Dec 1648)
126th London becomes the world's first city to host licenced taxicabs. (6th Dec 1897)
102nd The Anglo-Irish Treaty is signed in London by British and Irish representatives. (6th Dec 1921)
101st One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence. (6th Dec 1922)
82nd World War II: The United Kingdom declares war on Finland in support of the Soviet Union during the Continuation War. (6th Dec 1941)
48th An IRA Active Service Unit takes a couple hostage in Balcombe Street, London. (6th Dec 1975)
100th General election is won by the Conservative Party under Stanley Baldwin but without enough seats to form a majority. (6th Dec 1923)
48th Balcombe Street Siege: IRA members on the run from police broke into a London flat taking the residents hostage. The siege ended after six days with the gunmen giving themselves up to the police. (6th Dec 1975)
18th David Cameron, 39-year-old MP for Witney in Oxfordshire, is elected as Leader of the Conservative Party, defeating David Davis. (6th Dec 2005)
291st The Royal Opera House opens at Covent Garden, London. (7th Dec 1732)
212th The first of the Ratcliff Highway murders, in homes half a mile apart near Wapping in London. (7th Dec 1811)
7th HMS Illustrious, the last Invincible-class aircraft carrier, makes its final voyage out of Portsmouth Harbour to a ship recycling company in Turkey. (7th Dec 2016)
135th John Boyd Dunlop patents the pneumatic bicycle tyre. (7th Dec 1888)
68th Clement Attlee resigns as leader of the Labour Party after twenty years. (7th Dec 1955)
4th Virgin Trains cease operations on the West Coast Main Line after running trains on the line since 9 March 1997. They are replaced the following day by Avanti West Coast. (7th Dec 2019)
17th A tornado hits London. (7th Dec 2006)
1st The government approves Woodhouse Colliery, the UK's first new coal mine in decades, despite concerns about the climate impact. (7th Dec 2022)
2nd Severe weather warnings are issued for most of the UK as Storm Barra makes landfall. (7th Dec 2021)
363rd Margaret Hughes becomes the first actress to appear on an English public stage, playing the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare's play Othello. (8th Dec 1660)
109th World War I: The Battle of the Falkland Islands results in a decisive British victory over the German fleet. (8th Dec 1914)
159th The Clifton Suspension Bridge across the Bristol Avon, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed as a memorial to him, opens to traffic. (8th Dec 1864)
159th James Clerk Maxwell presents his paper A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field to the Royal Society, treating light as an electromagnetic wave. (8th Dec 1864)
2nd COVID-19 in the UK: "Plan B" is announced by Boris Johnson, which introduces further restrictions on social gatherings. This includes a requirement to work from home wherever possible, the use of face coverings extended to include more venues, and the NHS Covid Pass or a negative lateral flow test for entry to crowded events (subject to parliamentary approval). (8th Dec 2021)
2nd Former Downing Street Press Secretary Allegra Stratton resigns as government spokesperson for COP26, after footage emerges of her and colleagues during a mock press conference on 22 December 2020, making joking references to an alleged Christmas gathering in 10 Downing Street four days earlier. Boris Johnson apologises for the video in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions, with opposition parties criticising him. An investigation is launched by Simon Case. (8th Dec 2021)
63rd The first episode of the world's longest-running television soap opera Coronation Street is broadcast. (9th Dec 1960)
62nd Tanganyika becomes independent from Britain. (9th Dec 1961)
50th The Sunningdale Agreement was signed by British and Irish politicians. (9th Dec 1973)
11th University College Falmouth, Cornwall, is granted full university status as Falmouth University, a creative arts institution. (9th Dec 2012)
13th The coalition government wins a vote in the House of Commons to raise the cap on university tuition fees in England to £9,000 with a majority of 21. (9th Dec 2010)
20th The M6 Toll motorway opens, giving the United Kingdom its first toll motorway and providing a northern by-pass for the congested section of the M6 motorway through the West Midlands conurbation. (9th Dec 2003)
18th The last Routemaster buses in regular service in London run, on route 159. (9th Dec 2005)
1st Royal Mail workers begin a wave of strikes in the run-up to Christmas, with more than 115,000 staff walking out in a dispute over pay and conditions. (9th Dec 2022)
1st Santander are fined £107.8m by the Financial Conduct Authority over "serious and persistent gaps" in its anti-money laundering controls which enabled "financial crime". (9th Dec 2022)
1st Jeremy Hunt announces the Edinburgh Reforms, the biggest overhaul of financial regulation since the Big Bang of the 1980s, a package of more than 30 actions designed to "cut red tape" and "turbocharge growth". Critics warn that the measures risk a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. (9th Dec 2022)
1st The government announces a collaboration between the UK, Italy and Japan to develop the Tempest, a new fighter jet using artificial intelligence. It will replace the Typhoon and enter service in 2035. (9th Dec 2022)
1st COVID-19 in the UK: The latest Office for National Statistics data indicates 1.1 million tested positive for COVID-19 in the week up to 26 November, roughly 1.7% of the population. The data also shows the number of cases has increased slightly in England and Northern Ireland, but not in Scotland and Wales. (9th Dec 2022)
2nd The Conservative Party is fined £17,800 by the Electoral Commission after failing to accurately report a donation that paid for Johnson's flat refurbishment, and for failing to keep a proper accounting record. (9th Dec 2021)
2nd Longannet power station, the last remaining coal-fired power station in Scotland, is demolished. (9th Dec 2021)
482nd Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham are executed for having affairs with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII. (10th Dec 1541)
339th Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, is read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley. (10th Dec 1684)
116th The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London, when 1,000 medical students clash with 400 police officers over the existence of a memorial for animals who have been vivisected. (10th Dec 1907)
87th Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication. (10th Dec 1936)
70th Winston Churchill wins the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values". (10th Dec 1953)
155th Whitaker's Almanack first published. (10th Dec 1868)
155th The world's first traffic lights are installed in Parliament Square in London. (10th Dec 1868)
255th Royal Academy founded in London, with Joshua Reynolds as its first President. (10th Dec 1768)
22nd Timothy Hunt and Paul Nurse win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with Leland H. Hartwell "for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle". (10th Dec 2001)
20th The official inflation target measure is changed to the Consumer Price Index figure from RPIX. (10th Dec 2003)
1st Ten people are killed by a gas explosion in St Helier, Jersey. (10th Dec 2022)
2nd The High Court rules that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited from the UK to the US. (10th Dec 2021)
741st Llywelyn the Last, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales. (11th Dec 1282)
92nd The British Parliament enacts the Statute of Westminster 1931, establishing legislative equality between the self-governing dominions of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of Canada, the Irish Free State, Dominion of Newfoundland, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa. (11th Dec 1931)
87th Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII's abdication as King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India becomes effective. (11th Dec 1936)
18th Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal fire: explosions tear through Buncefield oil storage facility located near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. (11th Dec 2005)
1st Four boys aged 6, 8, 10 and 11, are taken to hospital in critical condition after being rescued when they fell through ice at Babbs Mill Lake in Birmingham, but are unable to be revived. (11th Dec 2022)
1st The UK experiences its coldest night of the year so far, with heavy snowfall in many places, and temperatures as low as 15.6C in Scotland. (11th Dec 2022)
112th King George V and Mary of Teck are enthroned as Emperor and Empress of India. (12th Dec 1911)
84th HMS Duchess (H64) sinks after a collision with HMS Barham off the coast of Scotland with the loss of 124 men (12th Dec 1939)
83rd World War II: Approximately 70 people are killed in the Marples Hotel, Fitzalan Square, Sheffield as a result of a German air raid. (12th Dec 1940)
82nd World War II: UK declares war on Bulgaria. (12th Dec 1941)
446th Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage. (12th Dec 1577)
92nd The Abbey Road Studios in London are opened by Sir Edward Elgar. (12th Dec 1931)
9th Disruption is caused at airports across the country due to a computer system failure at the UK's air traffic control centre, causing hundreds of delays and over eighty cancellations at Heathrow. Delays and cancellations continue the following day. (12th Dec 2014)
68th Christopher Cockerell patents his design of hovercraft. (12th Dec 1955)
88th Opening of The De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill on Sea in East Sussex, designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff in the International style. (12th Dec 1935)
57th Harry Roberts, John Whitney and John Duddy are sentenced to life imprisonment (each with a recommended minimum of thirty years) for the murder of three West London policemen in August. (12th Dec 1966)
157th The Oaks explosion in the Barnsley seam in Yorkshire kills 361 coal miners; a subsidiary explosion the following day kills 27 rescuers. (12th Dec 1866)
4th In the general election, the Conservative Party, led by Boris Johnson, achieves a majority of 80 seats in the House of Commons, while the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, suffers major losses resulting in their lowest proportion of seats since 1935. The Scottish National Party wins a landslide in Scotland, winning 48 of the 59 seats. (12th Dec 2019)
20th Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones receives a knighthood from Charles, Prince of Wales. (12th Dec 2003)
1st The UK's coldest day since December 2010 is provisionally recorded by the Met Office, with Braemar in Aberdeenshire remaining consistently below 9.3C (15F). (12th Dec 2022)
2nd The Daily Mirror publishes a leaked photo of Johnson at a virtual Christmas quiz in Downing Street on 15 December 2020, sat in-person with two colleagues, when London was under COVID-19 lockdown rules that banned household mixing. (12th Dec 2021)
2nd In a televised address, Johnson warns of "a tidal wave of Omicron coming" as he brings forward a target to give all over-18s a booster jab by one month to the end of December. This will mean the booster jab rollout needing to increase to a million a day, he explains, nearly doubling the current 530,000 daily figure. (12th Dec 2021)
380th English Civil War: The Battle of Alton takes place in Hampshire. (13th Dec 1643)
254th Dartmouth College is founded by the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, with a Royal Charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal Governor John Wentworth. (13th Dec 1769)
156th Fenian bomb explodes in Clerkenwell, London, killing six. (13th Dec 1867)
13th Mark Weston, the first person to face a second murder trial in the United Kingdom following the abolition of the double jeopardy rule in England and Wales, is convicted of killing a woman in Oxfordshire in 1995. He is sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 13 years. (13th Dec 2010)
1st The latest in a series of train strikes is held, after members of the RMT union reject a new pay offer. Additional strikes are planned for 14, 16, and 17 December. (13th Dec 2022)
1st The Newborn Genomes Programme is announced by the government. It will conduct whole genome sequencing of 100,000 newborns, the largest study of its kind in the world, to aid research into the diagnosis and treatment of rare genetic conditions. (13th Dec 2022)
2nd The first UK death from the Omicron variant is reported. (13th Dec 2021)
481st Princess Mary Stuart becomes Mary, Queen of Scots. (14th Dec 1542)
127th The Glasgow Underground Railway is opened by the Glasgow District Subway Company. (14th Dec 1896)
105th general election polling held. It is the first national election in the United Kingdom at which women are entitled to vote or stand, and the male franchise is extended. This is known as the "Coupon election" from the letter of endorsement given to candidates of the official (and victorious) Coalition by Bonar Law and Lloyd George. (14th Dec 1918)
19th Millau Viaduct in France, designed by British architect Norman Foster, is opened. (14th Dec 2004)
1st Four people die and more than 40 are rescued after a small boat carrying migrants begins sinking in ice-cold waters off the coast of Dungeness in the middle of the night. (14th Dec 2022)
1st At the Old Bailey, Jordan McSweeney is jailed for a minimum of 38 years for the murder and sexual assault of Zara Aleena in Ilford, East London. (14th Dec 2022)
117th The London Underground's Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway opens. (15th Dec 1906)
312th Occasional Conformity Act bars noncomformists and Roman Catholics from public office. (15th Dec 1711)
8th British astronaut Tim Peake becomes the first Briton under the banner of the European Space Agency to set foot on the International Space Station. (15th Dec 2015)
49th 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. (15th Dec 1974)
47th Denis Healey secures a £2.3 billion loan for Britain from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on condition that £2.5 billion is cut from public expenditure. (15th Dec 1976)
97th Legitimacy Act 1926 permits the legitimisation of a child born to unmarried parents by their subsequent marriage to each other. (15th Dec 1926)
14th Paedophile nursery worker Vanessa George is jailed indefinitely after previously admitting to seven sexual assaults and six counts of making and distributing indecent pictures of children. (15th Dec 2009)
1st Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland hold the biggest strike in NHS history, as they demand a 19% pay increase. A second strike is planned for 20 December. (15th Dec 2022)
1st 2022 Stretford and Urmston by-election: Labour hold the constituency with a 69.6% vote share, their best ever result in the seat, but turnout is just 25.8%. Andrew Western is the newly elected MP. (15th Dec 2022)
1st The Bank of England raises its baseline interest rate from 3% to 3.5%, the highest level in 14 years. (15th Dec 2022)
2nd A leaked photo emerges of former London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey and 23 colleagues holding a gathering at the Conservative headquarters in London, during the COVID-19 restrictions of December 2020, provoking allegations that the restrictions had been broken. However, on 11 November 2022, the police cleared Bailey, and all others in attendance at the gathering, of any wrongdoing. (15th Dec 2021)
5th Tolls for crossing the Severn Estuary between England and Wales are scrapped, 800 years after they were first introduced. (16th Dec 2018)
592nd Henry VI of England is crowned King of France at Notre Dame in Paris. (16th Dec 1431)
370th Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. (16th Dec 1653)
334th Convention Parliament: The Declaration of Right is embodied in the Bill of Rights. (16th Dec 1689)
109th World War I: German battleships under Franz von Hipper bombard the English ports of Hartlepool and Scarborough. (16th Dec 1914)
7th A riot occurs at HMP Birmingham, described as the worst since the Strangeways prison riot and protest of 1990. Authorities regain control of all four wings after more than 12 hours of disorder involving 600 inmates. (16th Dec 2016)
68th The Queen opens a new terminal at London Airport. (16th Dec 1955)
98th Construction of the Queensway Tunnel beneath the River Mersey begins. (16th Dec 1925)
85th aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (91) (launched by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead in 1937 under the 1934 build plan) is commissioned into the Royal Navy. (16th Dec 1938)
130th establishment, in Yorkshire, of the Bronte Society, possibly the oldest literary society of this nature, dedicated to establishing what will become the Bronte Parsonage Museum. (16th Dec 1893)
20th The Government announces plans to build a new runway at Stansted Airport in Essex and a short-haul runway at Heathrow Airport sparking anger from environmentalist groups. (16th Dec 2003)
1st A rapid surge in flu is reported, with hospital admissions from the virus overtaking those of COVID-19. (16th Dec 2022)
2nd The Bank of England raises interest rates for the first time in more than three years, from 0.1% to 0.25%, in response to surging inflation. (16th Dec 2021)
485th Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England. (17th Dec 1538)
446th Francis Drake sails from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for English Queen Elizabeth I. (17th Dec 1577)
305th Great Britain declares war on Spain. (17th Dec 1718)
135th The Lyric Theatre (London) opens. (17th Dec 1888)
9th Libby Lane becomes the new Bishop of Stockport and the first woman to become a bishop of the Church of England since the change to canon law just a month ago. (17th Dec 2014)
55th Mary Bell, an 11-year-old girl from Newcastle upon Tyne, is sentenced to life detention for the manslaughter of two small boys. (17th Dec 1968)
55th Official opening of first phase of the Royal Mint's new Llantrisant plant in South Wales. (17th Dec 1968)
1st A woman dies and two others remain critically injured following a crowd crush at London's Brixton Academy two days previously. (17th Dec 2022)
111th The Piltdown Man, later discovered to be a hoax, is found in the Piltdown Gravel Pit, by Charles Dawson. (18th Dec 1912)
54th Home Secretary James Callaghan's motion to make permanent the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965, which had temporarily suspended capital punishment in England, Wales and Scotland for murder (but not for all crimes) for a period of five years. (18th Dec 1969)
82nd National Service Act passed: All men and women aged 18-60 are now liable to some form of national service. (18th Dec 1941)
17th A man is arrested near Felixstowe on suspicion of murdering five Ipswich prostitutes. (18th Dec 2006)
16th Nick Clegg won the Liberal Democrats leadership election. (18th Dec 2007)
14th After 27 years, Sir Terry Wogan presents his final breakfast show on BBC Radio 2. (18th Dec 2009)
2nd COVID-19 in the UK: London Mayor Sadiq Khan declares a major incident in the capital, due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. (18th Dec 2021)
2nd David Frost resigns as Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, citing "concerns about the current direction of travel" of the government. (18th Dec 2021)
5th Tens of thousands of passengers at Gatwick Airport experience flight disruption due to reported drone sightings over the airfield. Police were still hunting for the drone operator the following day. Two days later, the runway reopens for passengers. (19th Dec 2018)
869th Henry II of England is crowned at Westminster Abbey. (19th Dec 1154)
417th The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery depart England carrying settlers who found, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States. (19th Dec 1606)
99th The last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost is sold in London. (19th Dec 1924)
91st BBC World Service begins broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service (19th Dec 1932)
60th Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah. (19th Dec 1963)
9th A High Court judge orders the winding up of Hereford United football club following a petition from the Inland Revenue over unpaid tax debts. (19th Dec 2014)
10th Part of the ornate ceiling of the Apollo Theatre in London collapses during a performance, injuring at least 81 people in the audience. (19th Dec 2013)
18th The Civil Partnership Act 2004 comes into force, granting same-sex couples similar legal rights to those of married heterosexuals. The first civil partnership in the United Kingdom under the normal application of the new rules is registered at Belfast City Hall between Shannon Sickles and Grainne Close. The first partnerships in Scotland are registered on 20 December and in England on 21 December. (19th Dec 2005)
15th MFI ceases trading, closing all 111 of its stores and leaving its 1,400 workforce redundant. The furniture retailer had been in business since 1964, and had used the MFI name since 1971. (19th Dec 2008)
1st Rwanda asylum plan: The High Court rules that the British government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their application is ongoing is lawful. (19th Dec 2022)
1st The Independent Press Standards Organisation receives more than 20,000 complaints following an article by Jeremy Clarkson in The Sun. (19th Dec 2022)
2nd Piers Corbyn is arrested by the Met Police after a video emerges of him urging people to "hammer to death those scum, those scum who have decided to go ahead with introducing new fascism", as well as suggesting that the offices of MPs who had voted for COVID-19 restrictions should be burned down. (19th Dec 2021)
2nd The Guardian publishes a photo of Boris Johnson, his wife, and 17 staff members in the Downing Street garden with cheese and wine in May 2020, at a time when large social gatherings were prohibited due to COVID-19. Johnson's spokesman tells the newspaper that the photo shows a work meeting, not a social event. (19th Dec 2021)
831st Richard the Lion-Heart is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade. (20th Dec 1192)
68th Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales. (20th Dec 1955)
110th Serious fire at Portsmouth Dockyard destroys the semaphore tower. (20th Dec 1913)
68th Cardiff becomes the official capital of Wales. (20th Dec 1955)
95th the first Harry Ramsden's fish and chip shop opens in Yorkshire. (20th Dec 1928)
1st The Bank of England unveils a new look to the Series G banknotes featuring King Charles III. No additional changes will be made to the existing designs of £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes, which will enter circulation from mid-2024. (20th Dec 2022)
2nd Hornsea Two Wind Farm, the world's largest offshore array, is reported to be generating power for the first time. (20th Dec 2021)
179th The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement. (21st Dec 1844)
151st HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sails from Portsmouth. (21st Dec 1872)
60th 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). (21st Dec 1963)
67th The Government of Northern Ireland under Basil Brooke uses the Special Powers Act to intern several hundred republican suspects without trial. (21st Dec 1956)
1st Ambulance workers go on strike across much of England and Wales. (21st Dec 2022)
58th A 70 mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit. (22nd Dec 1965)
49th The house of former British Prime Minister Ted Heath is attacked by members of the Provisional IRA. (22nd Dec 1974)
335th As part of the Glorious Revolution, King James II of England flees England to Paris after being deposed in favour of his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary. (22nd Dec 1688)
58th A 70 mph speed limit is imposed on British roads. (22nd Dec 1965)
107th The Sopwith Camel biplane fighter aircraft makes its maiden flight at Brooklands. (22nd Dec 1916)
22nd British-born terrorist, Richard Reid, attempts to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to Miami International Airport, using explosives hidden in his shoes. (22nd Dec 2001)
2nd Preliminary studies of the Omicron variant suggest that it could be milder than Delta, with a 30% to 70% reduction in those needing hospital treatment; however, the increased transmissibility may still overwhelm hospitals, through the sheer number of cases. (22nd Dec 2021)
104th Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 becomes law in the UK. (23rd Dec 1919)
86th First flight of the Vickers Wellington bomber. (23rd Dec 1937)
59th Richard Beeching announces his intention to resign as Chairman of the British Railways Board after three-and-a-half years, during which he proposed the closure of many smaller and financially non-viable railway lines. (23rd Dec 1964)
10th World War II computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing, who had been chemically castrated in 1952 following his conviction for homosexuality, is given a posthumous royal pardon. (23rd Dec 2013)
1st Border Force staff, who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), go on strike for eight days until 31 December, except on 27 December. (23rd Dec 2022)
1st The first male European bison joins an all-female herd as part of the Wilder Blean project in Kent, an effort to reintroduce the animals in Britain after 12,000 years. (23rd Dec 2022)
957th William the Conqueror is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London. (24th Dec 1066)
99th Air crash at Croydon air field - 8 dead. (24th Dec 1924)
109th Britain is bombed for the first time when a German aircraft drops a bomb over Dover. (24th Dec 1914)
209th Treaty of Ghent signed by the United Kingdom and the United States ending the War of 1812, however due to the time it takes for news to reach America, fighting continues for weeks. (24th Dec 1814)
58th A meteorite shower falls on Barwell, Leicestershire. (24th Dec 1965)
65th 1958 Bristol Britannia 312 crash: a BOAC Bristol Britannia airliner crashes near Winkton in Hampshire on a routine test flight. (24th Dec 1958)
95th first Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols to be broadcast from King's College, Cambridge, by BBC Radio. (24th Dec 1928)
1st Wallasey pub shooting: Five people are shot at a pub in Merseyside, resulting in the death of a 26-year-old woman and four men injured, one critically. A man and a woman are arrested three days later in connection with the shooting. (24th Dec 2022)
73rd The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students. It later turns up in Scotland on April 11, 1951. (25th Dec 1950)
8th Storm Eva causes more intensive flooding in northern England, with homes evacuated in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and rivers overflowing in Manchester and Leeds. (25th Dec 2015)
9th Parcel delivery firm City Link announces that it has gone into administration after substantial losses. The general secretary of the RMT union calls the timing of the announcement a "disgrace". (25th Dec 2014)
67th PG Tips launches its long-running TV advertising campaign using a chimpanzees' tea party. (25th Dec 1956)
87th Princess Alexandra of Kent, daughter of The Duke and Duchess of Kent, is born in London. This will be the last royal birth attended by the Home Secretary. (25th Dec 1936)
1st King Charles praises "wonderfully kind people" helping those in need and sympathises with struggling families in his first Christmas broadcast. (25th Dec 2022)
888th Coronation of King Stephen of England. (26th Dec 1135)
163rd The first ever inter-club football match takes place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at the Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield, England. (26th Dec 1860)
77th David Lean's film of Great Expectations released. (26th Dec 1946)
75th the first series of Reith Lectures, Bertrand Russell on Authority and the Individual, begins broadcasting on the BBC Home Service. (26th Dec 1948)
320th Portugal and England sign the Methuen Treaty which gives preference to Portuguese imported wines into England. (27th Dec 1703)
192nd Charles Darwin embarks on his journey aboard the HMS Beagle, during which he will begin to formulate the theory of evolution. (27th Dec 1831)
187th The worst ever avalanche in England occurs at Lewes, Sussex, killing 8 people. (27th Dec 1836)
210th A thick fog blankets London causing the Prince Regent to turn back from a trip to Hatfield House and the Birmingham mail coach to take 7 hours to reach Uxbridge. (27th Dec 1813)
58th The British oil platform Sea Gem collapses in the North Sea, killing 13 of the 32 men on it. (27th Dec 1965)
15th The first wave of Woolworths store closures sees 200 stores shut their doors, with the closure to be completed in the new year unless a buyer for the company is found in the next few days. (27th Dec 2008)
958th Westminster Abbey is consecrated. (28th Dec 1065)
144th The Tay Bridge Disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75. (28th Dec 1879)
73rd The Peak District becomes the United Kingdom's first National Park. (28th Dec 1950)
105th Countess Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway Prison, becomes the first woman MP elected to (but not to take her seat in) the British House of Commons. (28th Dec 1918)
5th HMV goes into administration for the second time (the first was in 2013). (28th Dec 2018)
853rd Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is assassinated inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II. (29th Dec 1170)
163rd The first British seagoing iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior is launched. (29th Dec 1860)
83rd In The Second Great Fire of London, the Luftwaffe fire-bombs London, killing almost 200 civilians. (29th Dec 1940)
9th The Scottish government confirms a case of Ebola being treated in a Glasgow hospital. The victim is a healthcare worker who had travelled back from Sierra Leone the previous day. (29th Dec 2014)
48th Two new laws, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Equal Pay Act 1970, came into force aiming to end unequal pay of men and women in the workplace. (29th Dec 1975)
13th Greater Gabbard wind farm first generates electricity. (29th Dec 2010)
105th the Sunday Express newspaper published for the first time. (29th Dec 1918)
17th The British government pays off the Anglo-American loan made in 1946. (29th Dec 2006)
14th Akmal Shaikh becomes the first EU native to be executed in China in 50 years. Gordon Brown releases a statement indicating that he is appalled. (29th Dec 2009)
1st COVID-19 in the UK: Following China's recent decision to end its zero-COVID policy, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says the possibility of imposing restrictions on visitors from the country is 'under review'. The following day, it is confirmed that passengers arriving in England from China will have to provide a negative test before they board a flight. (29th Dec 2022)
563rd Wars of the Roses: Battle of Wakefield. (30th Dec 1460)
170th A dinner party is held inside a life-size model of an Iguanodon created by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Sir Richard Owen in south London. (30th Dec 1853)
104th Lincoln's Inn in London admits its first female bar student. (30th Dec 1919)
12th 2011 was the second warmest year on record for the UK, according to the Met Office. Only 2006, with an average temperature of 9.73C (49.5F), was warmer than 2011's average temperature of 9.62C (49.3F). (30th Dec 2011)
2nd A 16-year-old boy dies after being stabbed in Hillingdon, West London, making him the 30th teenage homicide in the capital during 2021, surpassing the previous record high of 29 in 2008. (30th Dec 2021)
423rd The British East India Company is chartered. (31st Dec 1600)
363rd James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France. (31st Dec 1660)
328th A window tax is imposed in England, causing many householders to brick up windows to avoid the tax. (31st Dec 1695)
100th The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC. (31st Dec 1923)
63rd The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender in the United Kingdom. (31st Dec 1960)
50th As a result of coal shortages caused by industrial action, the electricity consumption reduction measure - the Three-Day Week, announced on 17 December - came into force at midnight. (31st Dec 1973)
78th Britain receives its first shipment of bananas since the beginning of the war. (31st Dec 1945)
57th Thieves steal millions of pounds worth of paintings from Dulwich Art Gallery in London. (31st Dec 1966)
4th The first opposite-sex couples are granted civil partnerships in England and Wales by amended legislation under the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act of 26 March. (31st Dec 2019)
2nd The newly-restored clock face of Big Ben is revealed in time for the new year, following a renovation that began in 2017. (31st Dec 2021)


Return to key anniversaries for this month.

Or... select a different date below:

Previous Month

Next Month