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1978 in the United Kingdom

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Title: 1978 in the United Kingdom  
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Subject: 1978 in the United Kingdom, 1980 in the United Kingdom, 1979 in the United Kingdom, 1977 in the United Kingdom, 1976 in the United Kingdom
Collection: 1978 by Country, 1978 in Europe, 1978 in the United Kingdom
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1978 in the United Kingdom

1978 in the United Kingdom:
Other years
1976 | 1977 | 1978 (1978) | 1979 | 1980
Individual countries of the United Kingdom
England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales
Sport, Television and music

Events from the year 1978 in the United Kingdom.


  • Incumbents 1
  • Events 2
    • January 2.1
    • February 2.2
    • March 2.3
    • April 2.4
    • May 2.5
    • June 2.6
    • July 2.7
    • August 2.8
    • September 2.9
    • October 2.10
    • November 2.11
    • December 2.12
    • Undated 2.13
  • Publications 3
  • Births 4
  • Deaths 5
  • References 6
  • See also 7




  • 11 January – A vicious sea storm ruins four piers in the UK: Herne Bay, Margate, Hunstanton and Skegness.
  • 16 January – The firefighters strike ends after three months when fire crews accept an offer of a 10% pay rise and reduced working hours.
  • 18 January – The European Court of Human Rights finds the United Kingdom government guilty of mistreating prisoners in Northern Ireland, but not guilty of torture.
  • 30 January – Opposition leader Margaret Thatcher says that many Britons fear being "swamped by people with a different culture".
  • 31 January – 18-year-old prostitute Helen Rytka is murdered in Huddersfield; she is believed to be the eighth victim of the Yorkshire Ripper.[1]


  • 9 February – Gordon McQueen, 25-year-old Scotland central defender, becomes Britain's first £500,000 footballer in a transfer from Leeds United to Manchester United.[2]
  • 13 February –
    • - Anna Ford becomes the first female newsreader on ITN.[3]
    • - An opinion poll conducted for the Daily Mail shows the Conservative opposition 11 points ahead of the Labour government, with an election due by October next year. The turnaround in fortunes for the Conservatives, who last month were narrowly behind Labour, is largely blamed on Margaret Thatcher's recent comments on immigration.[4]
  • 17 February – Inflation has fallen to 9.9% – the first time since 1973 that it has been in single figures.
  • 18 February – Twenty suspects arrested in connection with the Provisional Irish Republican Army La Mon restaurant bombing in County Down which had killed 12 people and injured 30.[5]
  • 20 February – Severe blizzards hit the south west of England.




  • 1 May – May Day becomes a bank holiday for the first time.[6]
  • 6 May – Ipswich Town win the FA Cup for the first time by beating Arsenal 1–0 in the Wembley final.
  • 10 May – Liverpool F.C. retain the European Cup with a 1–0 win over Club Brugge K.V., the Belgian champions, at Wembley Stadium.
  • 16 May – 40-year-old prostitute Vera Millward is found stabbed to death in the grounds of the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital; she is believed to have been the tenth woman to die at the hands of the Yorkshire Ripper. Both of the victims killed outside Yorkshire have been killed in Manchester.[13]
  • 25 May – Liberal Party leader David Steel announces that the Lib-Lab pact will be dissolved at the end of the current Parliamentary session by mutual consent, leaving Britain with a minority Labour government.[10]
  • 31 May – Labour wins the Hamilton by-election, retaining it in the face of a strong challenge from the Scottish National Party in that seat.


  • 1 June – William Stern is declared bankrupt with debts of £118 million, the largest bankruptcy in British history at the time.[14][15]
  • 3 June – Freddie Laker is knighted.
  • 8 June – Naomi James becomes the first woman to sail around the world single-handedly.[16]
  • 17 June - Media reports suggest that a general election will be held this autumn as the minority government led by James Callaghan and Labour appears to be nearing the end of its duration. Callaghan's chances of an election win are now looking brighter than they were four months ago, as the 11-point Conservative lead has evaporated.[17]
  • 19 June – Cricketer Ian Botham becomes the first man in the history of the game to score a century and take eight wickets in one innings of a Test match.[18]
  • 21 June



  • 20 August – Gunmen open fire on an Israeli El Al airline bus in London.
  • 25 August – U.S. Army Sergeant Walter Robinson "walks" across the English Channel in 11 hours 30 minutes, using homemade water shoes.


  • 7 September
    • Prime Minister James Callaghan announces that he will not call a general election for this autumn, and faces accusations from Tory leader Margaret Thatcher and Liberal leader David Steel of "running scared", in spite of many opinion polls showing that Labour (currently a minority government) could win an election now with a majority. Callaghan also announces that the Lib-Lab pact, formed 18 months ago when the government lost its majority, has reached its end.[23]
    • Waterloo Bridge, London, probably on orders of Bulgarian intelligence; he dies 4 days later.[24]
  • 15 September – German terrorist Astrid Proll arrested in London.[25]
  • 19 September – British Police launch a massive murder hunt, following the discovery of the dead body of newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater (13) at a farmhouse near Kingswinford in the West Midlands. Carl is believed to have been shot dead after disturbing a burglary at the property.[26]
  • 26 September – 23 Ford car plants are closed across Britain due to strikes.


  • 17 October – A cull of Grey seals in the Orkney and Western Islands reduced after a public outcry.[27]
  • 23 October – The government announces plans for a new single exam to replace O Levels and CSEs.
  • 25 October – A ceremony marks the completion of Liverpool Cathedral, for which the foundation stone was laid in 1904.
  • 27 October – Four people die and four others are wounded in a shooting spree which began in a residential street in West Bromwich and ends at a petrol station some 20 miles away in Nuneaton.[28]
  • 28 October – Barry Williams, aged 36, is arrested in Derbyshire and charged with yesterday's shootings following a high-speed police chase.[29]


  • 3 November – Dominica gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 4 November – Many British bakeries impose bread rationing after a baker's strike led to panic buying of bread.[30]
  • 5 November – Rioters sack the British Embassy in Tehran.
  • 10 November – Panic buying of bread stops as most bakers go back to work.
  • 18 November - The British leg of the 1978 Kangaroo tour concludes with Australia winning the Ashes series by defeating Great Britain in the third and deciding Test match in Leeds.
  • 20 November – Buckingham Palace announces that The Prince Andrew is to join the Royal Navy.
  • 23 November – Pollyanna's nightclub in Birmingham is forced to lift its ban on black and Chinese revellers, after a one-year investigation by the Commission for Racial Equality concludes that the nightclub's entry policy was racist.
  • 29 November – Viv Anderson, the 22-year-old Nottingham Forest defender, becomes England's first black international footballer when he appears in 1–0 friendly win over Czechoslovakia at Wembley Stadium – six months after he became the first black player to feature in an English league championship winning team and was also on the winning side in the final of the Football League Cup.[31]
  • 30 November – An industrial dispute closes down The Times newspaper (until 12 November 1979).[16]


  • 10 December – Peter D. Mitchell wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory".[32]
  • 14 December – The Labour minority government survives a vote of confidence.






  1. ^ The Attacks And Murders – Helen Rytka
  2. ^ "£500,000 McQueen".  
  3. ^ "1978: Ford makes her ITN debut". BBC News. 13 February 1978. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "1978: Belfast bomb suspects rounded up". BBC News. 18 February 1978. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c Penguin Pocket On This Day. Penguin Reference Library. 2006.  
  7. ^ The Attacks And Murders – Yvonne Pearson
  8. ^ "1978: Tories recruit advertisers to win votes". BBC News. 30 March 1978. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  9. ^ "Hastings Country Park: The Chronicle". The Hastings Chronicle. 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Significant events of 1978".  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ "Clough does it again". Glasgow Herald. 10 February 1978. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  13. ^ The Attacks And Murders – Vera Millward
  14. ^ Charles, James (25 June 2008). "The 10 worst property investments ever". The Times. UK. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Stern declared bankrupt".  
  16. ^ a b Palmer, Alan; Veronica (1992). The Chronology of British History. London: Century Ltd. pp. 441–442.  
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ "1978: Botham bowls into cricket history". BBC News. 19 June 1978. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  19. ^ "1978: Four dead in post office shootings". BBC News. 21 June 1978. Archived from the original on 6 January 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  20. ^ "1978: Eleven die in sleeper train inferno". BBC News. 6 July 1978. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  21. ^ "1978: First 'test tube baby' born". BBC News. 25 July 1978. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "1978: Motability gets moving in the UK". BBC News. 25 July 1978. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  23. ^ BBC ON THIS DAY | 7 | 1978: Callaghan accused of running scared
  24. ^ "1978: Umbrella stab victim dies". BBC News. 11 September 1978. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  25. ^ "1978: German terror suspect arrested in UK". BBC News. 15 September 1978. Archived from the original on 15 February 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  26. ^ "1978: Police hunt Bridgewater killers". BBC News. 20 September 1978. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  27. ^ "1978: Grey seal cull dramatically reduced". BBC News. 17 October 1978. Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  28. ^ BBC ON THIS DAY | 27 | 1978: Gunman runs amok in West Midlands
  29. ^
  30. ^ Those were the days
  31. ^ "Viv Anderson – England International Footballer". 
  32. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1978". Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  33. ^ Inflation: the Value of the Pound 1750-1998, Research paper 99/20,  
  34. ^ King, Ruth (30 June 2011). "Andrew Roberts: Republicans and the Thatcher legacy". Ruthfully Yours. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 

See also

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