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1950s


Key Events of the Period
Date Event
26th May 1950 Fuel rationing ends.
1951 The first national parks are founded in Britain to conserve their natural beauty. They include: the Peak District, the Lake District and Snowdonia.
3rd May 1951 The Festival of Britain opens.
30th September 1951 The Festival of Britain closes.
26th October 1951 Winston Churchill becomes the prime minister of Britain for the second time.
6th February 1952 King George VI dies and his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, becomes the new Queen.
2nd May 1952 The Comet jet aeroplane begins regular passenger service.
9th September 1952 Four days of dense fog - nicknamed 'the Great Smog' in London ends, caused by heavy pollution from coal power stations and little wind.
5th February 1953 Sweet rationing ends in Britain.
16th April 1953 Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia is launched.
2nd June 1953 The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
6th May 1954 The 'four minute mile' is completed by Roger Bannister who ran a mile in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.
24th February 1955 The 'Big Freeze' - deep snow covers much of Britain leaving many parts of the country cut off from essential supplies.
22nd September 1955 Independent Television Authority (later named ITV) begins broadcasting its television channel.
26th September 1955 Cod fish fingers, produced in Great Yarmouth, are introduced in Britain.
19th November 1955 'Rock Around the Clock' reaches no. 1 in the UK music chart.
22nd April 1956 2i's Coffee Bar, where many rock 'n' roll stars were discovered, opens in London.
5th July 1956 The 1956 Clean Air Act is introduced reducing the amount of smoke pollution factories and power stations can give out.
26th July 1956 Egypt nationalises the Suez Canal Company.
7th August 1956 The world's first nuclear power station, Calder Hall, is opened.
31st October 1956 British and French forces start military action against Egypt.
7th November 1956 The first United Nations Emergency Force is set up to try and bring peace in Egypt.
30th November 1956 30,000 people attend an anti-war rally in Trafalgar Square, protesting against British military action in Egypt.
23rd December 1956 Celebrations take place in Port Said in Egypt following the withdrawl of British and French troops.
9th January 1957 British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, resigns due to ill health.
15th May 1957 Britain explodes its first hydrogen (nuclear) bomb in a test in the Pacific Ocean.
8th June 1957 The Tommy Steele Story album becomes the first UK-based act to reach no. 1 in the UK.
20th July 1957 The British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, says that "most of our people have never had it so good".
December 1957 Wee Willie Harris releases his debut single, 'Rockin at the 2i's'.
25th December 1957 The Queen's Christmas message is broadcast on television for the first time.
2nd March 1958 Sir Vivian Fuchs completes the first overland crossing of Antarctica as leader of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
5th December 1958 The first section of motorway in Great Britain, the M6 Preston Bypass, is opened.
25th July 1959 The SR.N1 hovercraft successfully cross the English Channel.
26th August 1959 The first Mini Cooper car is produced.
2nd November 1959 The first section of the M6 motorway is opened, along with Watford Gap service station.