Happy Birthday ma’am! What’s happened in the last 90 years?

June 14, 2016

The longest reigning monarch in British history has enjoyed a remarkable and long life. And during those 90 years, rather a lot has happened so we’ve put together some of the highlights – and the quirky – which are now part and parcel of life in the UK.

  • April 1926 – At a time when doctors used maggots to clean patients’ wounds and when free healthcare was a concept people only dreamed of.
  • May 1926 – General Strike is declared after miners reject the Samuel Report – the lack of widespread public support for the strikers meant it was called off after nine days.
  • May 1928 – All women over the age of 21 get the vote
  • September 1928 – Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin – and the antibiotic is believed to have saved more than 100 million lives to date.
    July 1935 – First Penguin paperbacks go on sale, bringing literature to the masses.
  • January 1936 – King George V died.
  • December 1936 – King Edward VIII abdicated and the then Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI.
  • October 1936 – Jarrow men march to London to highlight local poverty and unemployment
  • September 1939 – Britain declares war on Germany in response to the invasion of Poland.
  • November 1942 – ‘Beveridge Report’ lays the foundations for the Welfare State.
  • April 1944 – Princess Elizabeth begins a life-long love for Corgis – she has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign and her first one, Susan, was an 18th birthday present.
  • May 1944 – Butler Act creates free secondary education.
  • 1945 – Princess Elizabeth joined the army and worked as a mechanic.
  • May 1945 – Britain celebrates the end of war on Victory in Europe Day.
  • August 1945 – Victory over Japan Day marks the end of World War Two.
  • Jan 1947 – Britain’s coal industry is nationalised.
  • November 1947 – Queen Elizabeth married her distant cousin Prince Philip – she collected coupons for her wedding dress.
  • June 1948 – Post-war immigration from the Commonwealth begins.
  • July 1948 – National Health Service is established.
  • April 1952 – On the death of her father, George VI, Princess Elizabeth became Queen at the age of 25.
  • April 1953 – Watson and Crick publish their discovery of the structure of DNA.
  • September 1955 – Commercial television starts with the first ITV broadcast.
  • July 1956 – Worsening pollution prompts the passing of the Clean Air Act.
  • December 1958 – Motorway system opens with the M6 Preston bypass.
  • January 1963 – France vetoes Britain’s entry to the European Common Market.
  • October 1963 – New universities open and students get state support.
  • 1964 – Abolition of Resale Price Maintenance prompts the rise of supermarkets.
  • July 1965 – Comprehensive education system is initiated.
  • 1967 – Abortion and homosexuality are legalised.
  • February 1971 – Decimalised currency replaces ‘pounds, shillings and pence’.
  • August 1971 – North Sea oil concessions are auctioned.
  • August 1972 – Idi Amin expels Uganda’s Asians and many settle in Britain.
  • January 1973 – Britain joins the European Economic Community.
  • September 1976 – Britain is forced to borrow money from the International Monetary Fund.
  • 1976 – The Queen sent her first email.
  • July 1978 – The first ‘test tube’ baby Louise Brown was born via IVF in Oldham.
  • Winter 1978-9 – Strikes paralyse Britain during the so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’.
  • March 1979 – Scotland and Wales reject devolution.
  • April 1981 – Racial tensions spark riots in Brixton and other areas.
  • January 1982 – Economic recession leads to high unemployment.
  • March 1984 – 12-month ‘Miners’ Strike’ over pit closures begins.
  • December 1986 – Major national industries are privatised.
  • 1989 – Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.
  • March 1990 – Introduction of new local taxes sparks ‘poll tax’ riots in London.
  • September 1992 – ‘Black Wednesday’ forces withdrawal of sterling from the ERM.
  • 1994 – First women priests are ordained by the Church of England.
  • July 1996 – Dolly the Sheep was cloned.
  • September 1997 – Scotland and Wales vote in favour of devolution.
  • January 1999 – Britain decides not to join the European Single Currency.
  • March 2000 – Global stock markets tumble as the ‘dotcom bubble’ bursts.
  • 2001 – Foot-and-mouth disease wreaks havoc on rural Britain.
  • September 2001 – Islamic terrorists crash aircraft on targets in New York and Washington.
  • May 2004 – Ten new states join the European Union.
  • December 2005 – Civil partnerships give same-sex couples legal rights.
  • October 2006 – Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is published by the UK government.
  • September 2007 – Northern Rock bank sought and received a liquidity support facility from the Bank of England.
  • February 2008 – Northern Rock was nationalised by the British government.
  • October 2008 – Office for National Statistics revealed that Britain’s economy shrunk by 0.5% in the quarter from July to September – The first quarterly detraction since 1992.
  • May 2014 – Longest recession for 100 years ends at last as output finally returns to 2008 levels.
  • 2016 – Charbonnel et Walker, the Queen’s ‘favourite’ chocolatier, creates a £90 box of treats, weighing 1kg, to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday…mmmmmm. And the price of the average British home has ballooned by 47,000 per cent since Queen Elizabeth II was born.

So let’s raise a glass to HRM The Queen – Happy 90th Birthday, ma’am.

Thanks to www.bbc.co.uk/history for some of the observations here.

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