By Tim Lambert
1901 Queen Victoria dies. Her son becomes Edward VII.
1904 Britain signs the Entente Cordiale (friendly understanding) with France
1906 The first dreadnought, a new and powerful battleship is launched
1908 Kenneth Grahame published The Wind In The Willows
1909 The first old-age pensions are paid
1910 Edward VII dies. George V becomes king.
The National Insurance Act is passed. Some workers are allowed unemployment benefit and sickness benefit is created.
The Parliament Act greatly reduces the power of the House of Lords
1914 In August the First World War begins
The Battle of the Somme is fought. Tanks are used in battle for the first time.
Conscription is introduced
Battle of Jutland
1917 The Battle of Passchendaele is fought
The First World War ends in November
Women over 30 are allowed to vote if they meet a property qualification
The school leaving age is raised to 14
1922 The BBC is founded
Workers hold a General Strike but they are defeated
A. A. Milne publishes Winnie The Pooh
1928 Universal suffrage is introduced. (Everyone over the age of 21 is allowed to vote).
Frank Whittle invents the jet engine
Following the Wall Street Crash, the depression bites and unemployment rises sharply
1932 Unemployment reaches 22.8%
1933 Unemployment starts to fall. Britain starts to recover from the depression
In January unemployment in 13.9%. It continues to slowly fall.
George V dies. Edward VIII becomes king but soon abdicates. George VI becomes king.
Television begins in Britain
The Jarrow March is held
The writer G K Chesterton dies
Second World War begins
All workers are given one weeks annual paid holiday
About 10% of households in Britain now own a car
The British army is evacuated from Dunkirk
Battle of Britain
The Germans begin bombing British cities
The Dieppe Raid is carried out. It is a failure.
The Battle of El Alamein is fought. The British army crushes the Germans and Italians.
The Beveridge Report is published. It proposes a new welfare state.
In May German forces in North Africa surrender
In July the allies invade Sicily
Allied invasion of France
The Germans fire V I flying bombs from June and V II missiles from September
The Butler Education Act is passed
Second World War ends
George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm is published
Labour win the general election
1947 The school leaving age is raised to 15
1948 The National Health Service is founded
1949 George Orwell’s novel 1984 is published
1950 George Orwell dies
The Festival of Britain is held
Conservatives win a general election.
1952 George VI dies. Elizabeth becomes queen.
Coronation of Elizabeth II
T.V. becomes increasingly common. (Many people buy a TV. to watch the coronation). By the end of 1953, approximately 25% of households in Britain have a TV.
1954 Food rationing ends
ITV begins broadcasting
The Conservatives win a second general election
The Suez crisis in Egypt. Britain sends troops but is soon forced to withdraw. The event proves that Britain is no longer a great power.
The first nuclear power station opens at Calder Hall
The Conservatives win a 3rd election victory
Cars are becoming increasingly common. A survey shows 32% of households own one.
1960 Britain is becoming increasingly affluent. A survey shows 44% of households own a washing machine.
1962 The Beatles release their first single ‘Love Me Do’
Doctor Who is broadcast for the first time
Dr Beeching axes minor railways
The Labour Party wins a general election. Harold Wilson becomes prime minister.
A survey shows 90% of households in Britain own a TV. It is now the main form of entertainment in Britain.
The last executions in Britain are carried out
1965 Capital punishment is abolished for an experimental period of 5 years
1966 Labour wins a second general election
1967 Color TV. begins
1969 Capital punishment is abolished permanently
Conservatives under Edward Heath win the general election
The minimum age for voting is lowered from 21 to 18
1971 Britain switches to decimal currency
1972 The school leaving age is raised to 16
Britain joins the EEC (forerunner of the EU)
Unemployment stands at 3%
The Sex Discrimination Act is passed
Unemployment passed one million. It is over 5% for the first time since 1945.
Harold Wilson resigns
In June and July, a heatwave creates a very hot summer and water shortages
1978 The first test-tube baby is born
1979 The Conservatives win a general election. Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first woman prime minister.
1980 Britain enters a recession. Unemployment rises sharply and reaches 2 million.
The Falklands War is fought against Argentina
The Mary Rose is raised from the sea bed
Channel 4 begins
The Conservatives win a second general election with a large majority
1984 The miners strike begins
1985 The miners strike ends. The miners are defeated.
1986 Unemployment reaches a peak. The ‘official’ figure reaches 14.1%
1987 Corporal punishment ends in state schools
Margaret Thatcher falls from power. She is replaced by John Major.
Britain enters a recession. Unemployment starts to rise rapidly.
Conservatives win a 4th general election
Britain starts to recover from the recession. Unemployment starts to fall.
The Channel Tunnel opens
The National Lottery begins
Labour wins the general election