Home Decades 1950s 1953



01 – The Maldive Islands become a republic.

01 – Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris is knighted in the New Year Honours list.

01 – Hank Williams dies.

02 – The RAFs first supersonic fighters, 400 US-designed Sabres, arrive at RAF Abingdon.

03 – Winston Churchill visits President Eisenhower.

10 – Pat Benatar born.

14 – Marshal Tito is elected first President of the Yugoslav republic.

16 – Egypt dissolves all political parties.

20 – Dwight D Eisenhower is inaugurated as US President.

31 – A tidal surge floods large parts of the Netherlands, killing 2,000 people.

31 – Irish car ferry Princess Victoria sinks with the loss of 128 lives.


03 – Hurricanes and flooding bring disaster to Britain’s East Coast with a death toll of nearly 300 people.

05 – Rationing of sweets ends in Britain.

05 – Walt Disney’s animated film Peter Pan is released.

10 – General Neguib takes dictatorial powers in Egypt.

12 – Agreement on Sudan reached by Britain and Egypt.

12 – USSR breaks off relations with Israel.

23 – British WWII deserters are granted amnesty.

28 – Scientists Francis Crick and James Watson announce that they have discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.


01 – Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia sign a friendship treaty.

05 – Josef Stalin dies of a stroke at the age of 73.

05 – Death of Russian composer Prokofiev.

06 – Malenkov succeeds Stalin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers in the USSR.

19 – First coast-to-coast televised “Oscars” coverage in the US. The ceremony runs too long and is cut off by NBC before it has ended.

20 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes Secretary of the USSR Communist Party.

23 – Death of French artist Raoul Dufy.

23 – The low-cost disposable Bic ballpoint pen is launched in France. Developed by Baron Bich, the pen costs 50 centimes.

24 – In Britain, Queen Mary dies.

26 – Salk vaccine is successful in tests against Polio in the US.

28 – Death of US athlete Jim Thorpe.

31 – John Christie is arrested and charged with murdering his wife following one of London’s biggest manhunts.


06 – German Chancellor Adenauer visits New York.

07 – Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden is elected Secretary General of the UN.

08 – An underground train crashes in the UK killing 8 people.

08 – In Kenya Jomo Kenyatta and five others are convicted of being involved with the terrorist organisation Mau Mau.

15 – John Christie is charged with the murder of three more women in London. Murders for which a man has already been hanged.

16 – The royal yacht Britannia is launched in Britain.

17 – Charlie Chaplin surrenders his re-entry permit to the US under threat of proceedings due to alleged Communist links. He refuses to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and instead relocates to Switzerland.

20 – Allied and Communist sick and wounded POW’s are swapped in Korea.


02 – Blackpool beats Bolton in the ‘Stanley Matthews’ Cup Final.

04 – Duke of Edinburgh receives his pilot’s wings.

04 – Ernest Hemingway wins a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea and Picnic.

12 – General Gruenther is made Supreme Commander in Europe.

18 – Jacqueline Cochrane becomes the first woman to fly faster than the speed of sound while piloting a North American F-86 Sabre in the USA.

29 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Norgay Tenzing conquer Mount Everest.


01 – Gordon Richards is the first British jockey to be knighted.

02 – Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.

04 – The largest atomic explosion yet is detonated in Nevada, USA.

06 – Gordon Richards wins the Derby after 28 attempts.

07 – Edmund Hillary and Colonel John Hunt are knighted.

07 – The Christian Democrats win a majority in the Italian general election.

17 – Riots take place in East Berlin against the Communist government. The Soviet Union send troops in to put down the uprising.

18 – 18-month-old King Faud is deposed and Egypt becomes a republic with General Naguib as president.

20 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in the USA for conspiring to pass atomic secrets to Russia in World War II.


04 – International Confederation of Free Trade Unions meets.

04 – There are riots in Poland as coal miners go on strike.

05 – Hungarian Ministry formed by new PM Imre Nagy.

12 – Martial law is lifted in East Berlin.

15 – British murderer John Christie is hanged.

15 – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe, premieres in New York.

20 – USSR and Israel restore diplomatic relations.

26 – Fidel Castro leads a failed attack on Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.

27 – An armistice is signed at Panmunjom, ending the Korean War.


08 – The Soviet Union announces that it has developed a hydrogen bomb.

18 – The Kinsey Report is published in the US. It is the most extensive report on sexual habits ever written.

20 – In Morocco, the Sultan is deposed by France.

20 – Iranian Prime Minister Dr Mussadiq is arrested.

21 – Lobotomy is banned in the USSR.

29 – The USSR explodes their first hydrogen bomb.

30 – Yugoslavia and Hungary resume relations.


06 – Christian Democrats win election in West Germany.

12 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party in the USSR.

12 – John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island.



09 – Welsh poet Dylan Thomas dies in a New York hotel, aged 39.

09 – Death of Saudi Arabian King Abd el-Aziz III Ibn Saud.

09 – Cambodia wins independence from France.

12 – ‘Samaritans’ helpline is founded by Reverend Chad Varah at St Stephen’s church in Walbrook, UK.

21 – ‘Piltdown Man’ (discovered in 1912) is proved to have been a forgery by W. Le Gros Clark and others at the British Museum.

27 – Death of US playwright Eugene O’Neill.

28 – US Army scientist Captain Frank Olson plunges to his death from the window of his 13th-floor room at the Hotel Statler in New York City, where he is staying under the supervision of a CIA doctor. Olson had been dosed with LSD – without his knowledge – at a three-day CIA retreat, nine days before his death. While the official report said he jumped to his death, some believe Olson was murdered by the CIA because he’d expressed concerns about the biological warfare experiments he was working on.

30 – Iran restores diplomatic relations with Britain.


04 – A large oilfield is struck in Australia.

10 – Sir Winston Churchill wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.

23 – Lavrentiy Beria, former Soviet minister for internal affairs and head of Stalin’s secret police, is executed for high treason along with six others.

 Also This Year . . .

  • L Ron Hubbard founds the Scientology movement in the USA.
  • Ian Fleming introduces James Bond in the book Casino Royale.
  • Christian Dior brings the bosom back into women’s clothes with the ‘sweater girl’ bra.
  • Hugh Hefner launches Playboy.
  • To combat smog in the UK, 6½d mouth-masks can be bought from chemists.
  • The cost of a 3 bedroom semi-detached house in Britain is just over £2,000.00.
  • Over 100,000 Londoners are waiting to have telephones installed.
  • The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama announces that, for the second year in a row, there were no lynchings in the US.