Puneet Varma (Editor)

1951 in the United Kingdom

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1951 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1951 in the United Kingdom. This is the year of the Festival of Britain and a general election bringing a change of government.



  • Monarch – George VI
  • Prime Minister – Clement Attlee (Labour) (until 26 October); Winston Churchill (Conservative) (starting 26 October)
  • Events

  • January
  • British Board of Film Censors introduces X rating for films "Suitable for those aged 16 and over".
  • Ford Consul car introduced.
  • 1 January – Production run of the series The Archers begins on the BBC Light Programme. It will still be on the air 65 years later.
  • 9 January – The government announces abandonment of the Tanganyika groundnut scheme, writing off £36.5M.
  • February – Ferranti deliver their first Mark 1 computer to the University of Manchester, the world's first commercially available general-purpose electronic computer.
  • 21 February – An English Electric Canberra (with Rolls-Royce Avon engines) becomes the first jet to make an unrefuelled Transatlantic flight, taking 4 hours 37 minutes from RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland to Gander in Newfoundland.
  • 26 February – Film noir Pool of London is released, the first British film with a major role for a black actor, Bermuda-born Earl Cameron.
  • 13 March – Pineapple Poll, a Gilbert and Sullivan-inspired comic ballet, created by choreographer John Cranko with arranger Sir Charles Mackerras, is premiered at Sadler's Wells Theatre by the Sadler's Wells Ballet.
  • March – The character Dennis the Menace first appears in The Beano comic.
  • 11 April – The Stone of Scone is located in Forfar, having been stolen by Scottish Nationalists.
  • 17 April
  • The submarine HMS Affray sinks, killing its 75 crew.
  • Seven unofficial dockers' leaders are acquitted of offences under a wartime regulation intended to prevent industrial disputes.
  • The Peak District is established as the first of the national parks of England and Wales. The Lake District is so designated in May, and designations of Snowdonia and Dartmoor come into effect on 20 November.
  • 22–25 April – Korean War: Battle of the Imjin River: The 29th Infantry Brigade of the British Army serving with the United Nations put up brave but ultimately unsuccessful resistance to the Chinese advance, with 141 UN troops killed. The last stand of the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment (the "Glorious Glosters") at Hill 235 rapidly becomes part of modern military tradition.
  • 23 April – Aneurin Bevan, recently appointed as Minister of Labour and National Service, together with John Freeman and Harold Wilson, resign from the government in protest at Hugh Gaitskell's announcement in the Budget of 10 April of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles (in order to meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War).
  • 28 April – Newcastle United win the FA Cup for the fourth time with a 2–0 win over Blackpool at Wembley Stadium. Jackie Milburn scores both goals in front of a 100,000 crowd.
  • 3 May – George VI opens the Festival of Britain in London, including the Royal Festival Hall, Dome of Discovery and Skylon. This will be last major public event attended by the King and Queen together. The Lansbury Estate in Poplar is begun this year as a housing showcase.
  • 4 May – 6 October – Festival Ship Campania cruises the seaports.
  • 28 May
  • First broadcast of The Goon Show radio series.
  • The Princess Elizabeth opens the Exhibition of Industrial Power – the latest part of the Festival of Britain – in Glasgow.
  • 29 May
  • The Easington Colliery explosion leaves 83 dead.
  • Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean defect to the Soviet Union.
  • 2 June – Workington F.C. are elected to the Football League in place of New Brighton A.F.C., and will compete in the Football League Third Division North for the 1951-52 season.
  • 26 June – Ealing Comedy film The Lavender Hill Mob released.
  • 10 July – Boxer Randy Turpin beats the American Sugar Ray Robinson in a fight in London to become world middleweight champion.
  • 17 July – New Port Talbot Steelworks opened at Margam, South Wales.
  • 15 August – The first Miss World beauty pageant is held as part of the Festival of Britain.
  • 14 September – Clement Attlee opens the largest oil refinery in Europe at Fawley on Southampton Water.
  • 23 September – George VI has an operation to remove part of his lung.
  • 26 September – Rock and Ice Club formed by a group of climbers in Manchester.
  • 30 September – Festival of Britain ends.
  • 5 October – With three weeks to go before the second general election in less than two years, opinion polls suggest that the Conservative Party will oust Clement Attlee's Labour government from power after six years, with a majority of 75 to 100 seats and a share of the vote of up to 50%.
  • 17 October – Austin A30 car introduced.
  • 26 October – Conservative Party under Winston Churchill wins the general election, regaining (a month before his 77th birthday) the position of Prime Minister that he lost six years previously, with a majority of 17 seats, though slightly fewer votes than Labour.
  • 31 October – Zebra crossings, a type of pedestrian crossing, introduced.
  • 2 November – 6,000 British troops are sent to Egypt to deal with anti-British disturbances at Fayid in the Suez Canal Zone.
  • 3 November – Express Dairies, owned by 28-year-old Patrick Galvani, open Britain's first full-size supermarket in Streatham Hill, London.
  • 7 November – UK Bank Rate, maintained at 2% since 26 October 1939, is raised.
  • 20 November
  • More than 1,000 families of British servicemen begin to move out of the Suez Canal Zone of Egypt after a shooting which claimed the lives of five British soldiers as well as nine Egyptian civilians.
  • The Prime Minister's Resignation Honours are announced, to mark the resignation of Prime Minister Clement Attlee.
  • 24 November – Beinn Eighe in Scotland becomes Britain's first national nature reserve.
  • 29 November – LEO becomes the world's first computer to run a full commercial business application, for the bakers J. Lyons and Co.
  • 1 December – Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd is premiered at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
  • 10 December – John Cockcroft wins the Nobel Prize in Physics jointly with Ernest Walton "for their pioneer work on the transmutation of atomic nuclei by artificially accelerated atomic particles".
  • 25 December – King George VI makes the Christmas Speech to the Commonwealth, but it has been pre-recorded as he is still struggling to recover from his operation three months ago.
  • 31 December – Prime Minister Winston Churchill sets off to the United States of America for talks with president Harry S. Truman.
  • Undated

  • Trade union membership reaches an all-time peak, with 9.3 million members.
  • GCE Ordinary Level examinations introduced, together with Advanced Levels replacing the Higher School Certificate.
  • First residential tower block in Britain, a 10-storey point block, The Lawn, in Harlow New Town in Essex, is constructed to the design of Sir Frederick Gibberd.
  • Performance of medieval mystery plays revived at York and Chester.
  • George Perry-Smith opens the innovative Hole in the Wall restaurant in Bath.
  • Publications

  • Agatha Christie's novel They Came to Baghdad.
  • Graham Greene's novel The End of the Affair.
  • C. S. Lewis' novel Prince Caspian.
  • Nicholas Monsarrat's novel The Cruel Sea.
  • Iona and Peter Opie's reference work The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes.
  • Nikolaus Pevsner's guidebooks Cornwall, Nottinghamshire and Middlesex, first in the Buildings of England series.
  • Anthony Powell's novel A Question of Upbringing, first in the 12-volume cycle A Dance to the Music of Time.
  • Ronald Ridout's First English Workbook, a textbook which sells five million copies.
  • John Wyndham's novel The Day of the Triffids
  • First edition of The Good Food Guide edited by Raymond Postgate.
  • Births

  • 5 January – Steve Arnold, footballer
  • 19 January
  • Graham James, bishop
  • Arthur Taxier, Scottish-American actor
  • 26 January – Anne Mills, English economist and academic
  • 30 January – Phil Collins, musician and producer
  • 14 February – Kevin Keegan, footballer and football manager
  • 15 February – Jane Seymour, actress
  • 20 February – Gordon Brown, Prime Minister
  • 27 February – Steve Harley, musician (Cockney Rebel)
  • 1 March – Mike Read, television presenter and radio disc jockey
  • 4 March
  • Kenny Dalglish, footballer and manager
  • Chris Rea, singer and musician
  • 13 April – Peter Davison, actor
  • 14 April – Julian Lloyd Webber, cellist and composer
  • 20 April – Louise Jameson, actress
  • 25 April – Ian McCartney, politician
  • 27 May – John Conteh, light heavyweight boxer
  • 7 June – Ralph Palmer, 12th Baron Lucas, accountant and politician
  • 8 June – Bonnie Tyler, singer
  • 14 June – Paul Boateng, politician
  • 28 June – Lalla Ward, actress
  • 24 July – Chris Smith, politician
  • 28 July – Barbara Stocking, civil servant and academic
  • 17 August – Jonathan Ruffer, investor and philanthropist
  • 19 August – John Deacon, bassist (Queen)
  • 14 September – Duncan Haldane, English-born condensed-matter physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics
  • 22 September – David Coverdale, singer
  • 26 September – Stuart Tosh, musician
  • 27 September – Paul Craig, professor of law
  • 2 October – Sting, musician
  • 15 November – Alamgir Hashmi, poet
  • 19 November – Lord Falconer of Thoroton, politician
  • 8 December – Bill Bryson, American-born British topographical author
  • 10 December – Doug Allder, footballer
  • 20 December
  • Peter May, novelist and television dramatist
  • Nuala O'Loan, Baroness O'Loan, lawyer
  • Denise Deegan, author and playwright
  • 21 December – Nick Gilder, English-Canadian singer-songwriter
  • Deaths

  • 25 February – Percy Malcolm Stewart, industrialist (born 1872)
  • 6 March – Ivor Novello, actor, musician, and composer (born 1893)
  • 6 April – Robert Broom, paleontologist (born 1866)
  • 14 April – Ernest Bevin, labour leader, politician, and statesman (born 1881)
  • 22 April – Horace Donisthorpe, myrmecologist (born 1870)
  • 24 April – Joseph Paton Maclay, 1st Baron Maclay, Glasgow shipowner and Minister of Shipping, 1916-1921 (born 1857)
  • 11 June – W. C. Sellar, humourist (born 1898)
  • 3 July – Gwendoline Davies, philanthropist (born 1882)
  • 21 August – Constant Lambert, composer (born 1905)
  • 27 September – Robert Thomas, politician (born 1873)
  • 29 September – Evan Roberts, preacher (born 1878)
  • 11 October – Donald Cameron of Lochiel, Scottish chieftain (born 1876)
  • References

    1951 in the United Kingdom Wikipedia

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