Home Decades 1950s 1958



01 – Albanian fighters shoot down a British freight plane that allegedly strayed into Albanian airspace.

01 – The European Economic Community (the “common market”) comes into being. The UK is not included.

01 – West German forces join NATO.

01 – A BOAC Britannia sets a world record airline flight of 7 hours 57 minutes for London-New York.

03 – Sir Edmund Hillary reaches the South Pole – the first overland explorer to do so since Captain Robert F Scott’s expedition in 1912. The New Zealander and his team arrive safely after travelling 70 miles (113km) through mist and poor weather conditions.

03 – The British West Indies Federation is created.

04Sputnik I disintegrates as it enters the earth’s atmosphere.

13 – The last Communist newspaper in America – The Daily Worker – ceases publication.

20 – Members of the team attempting the first surface crossing of the Antarctic meet up at the South Pole. New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary – who has already conquered Mount Everest – arrived with his team 17 days ago. Early this afternoon Sir Edmund welcomed the British team led by Dr Vivian “Bunny” Fuchs to the South Pole.

24 – A civilian junta now rules Venezuela after a coup which ousted dictator Marcos Perez Jimenez.

24 – Jools Holland (Squeeze) is born.

26 – Moshe Dayan resigns as Israel’s Army Chief of Staff.

28 – 100 Turks are hurt and 2 killed in anti-British riots in Cyprus (pictured below).


31 – The USA launches Explorer 1, its first space satellite. The satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral by Juno I ballistic missile.


01 – America finally follows Russia into space by putting a 30lb satellite called Explorer into orbit.

01 – Egypt and Syria form the United Arab Republic. Nasser is nominated as president.

03 – Benelux economic pact signed.

06 – Munich air crash kills 23, including eight Manchester United players. The team are flying back home in the BEA aircraft from a European Cup match in Belgrade. 21 passengers survive, including Matt Busby (MUFC Manager, pictured below in an oxygen tent) and Bobby Charlton.


10 – US broadcaster Walter Cronkite reports that Iran and Egypt have banned rock ‘n’ roll on moral and religious grounds.

11 – French warships no longer permitted to use Bizerta, Tunis.

14 – Jordan and Iraq sign an agreement for the union of the two kingdoms.

17Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND) launched in Britain by philosopher Bertrand Russell.

19 – Anglo-Spanish trade agreement.

20 – An Atlas rocket explodes at Cape Canaveral, the fifth failed launch out of seven attempts.

20 – The UK government announces the closure of Sheerness Docks on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent – one of the oldest naval dockyards in Britain. All 2,500 jobs at the facility are in jeopardy.

21 – Manchester United and England star Duncan Edwards dies from the injuries he sustained in the 6 February air crash.

23 – Argentinean racing driver Juan Manuel Fangio is kidnapped by Cuban rebels. He is released the next day.

23 – David Sylvian (Japan) is born David Batt.

27 – 35 people are killed in a plane crash near Bolton, England.

28 – 28 die when a school bus plunges off the road into a river in Tennessee, USA.


01 – Doctors report that Eisenhower is now fully recovered from his stroke.

02 – Constantine Karamanlis resigns as Greek premier.

02 – Dr Vivian Fuchs completes first overland crossing of Antarctica.

04 – The US nuclear submarine Nautilus travels under the North Polar ice-cap.

05Andy Gibb is born.

07 – British comedy actor Rik Mayall (The Young Ones, Comic Strip Presents etc) is born.

08Gary Numan (Tubeway Army) is born.

09 – Martin Fry (ABC vocalist) is born.

10 – Actress Sharon Stone is born in Pennsylvania.

11 – Unemployment in the USA reaches 5,200,000.

14 – British suffragette Christabel Pankhurst dies (b. 22/9/1880).

14 – Prince Albert of Monaco is born to Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.

16 – The Bishop of Woolwich (London) says mothers who work full time are the enemies of family life.

17 – US launches Vanguard 1 satellite into orbit. The 6.4 inch aluminium sphere goes into wider orbit than any previous man-made satellite.

21 – China and Hungary sign economic treaty.

21 – British actor Gary Oldman is born in London.

24 – Elvis Presley starts his two-year military service.

25 – US Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson wins world middleweight title for fifth time by beating Carmen Basilio in Chicago.

26 – The first parking tickets are issued by new ‘Traffic Wardens’ in England.

27Khrushchev becomes chairman of the Council of Ministers in the USSR replacing Marshal Bulganin as Soviet premier.

29 – ‘Mr What’ wins the Grand National.


02 – US embargoes arms shipments to Cuba.

04 – Cheryl Crane, Lana Turner’s 14-year-old daughter, is arrested for the stabbing murder of gangster Johnny Stompanato, Turner’s boyfriend. Crane claims she heard Stompanato threatening her mother and the jury rules it a “justifiable homicide”.

04 – The British CND organisation launches the first of its annual Aldermaston marches to ban the bomb.

05Castro begins ‘total war’ against Cuban dictator Batista.

11 – Stuart Adamson (Big Country) is born.

17 – Nationalists win third big victory in South African elections.

17 – King Baudouin opens the World’s Fair in Belgium.

18 – Treason charges against poet Ezra Pound, who broadcast from Italy during the war, are dropped in the US

21 – 49 people die when two planes collide over Nevada in the US.

21 – Maltese Premier Dom Mintoff resigns in protest at Britain’s decision to limit aid to £5 million.

22 – Princess Margaret opens the Parliament of the new British West Indies in Trinidad.

27 – The Comet IV makes its maiden flight in the UK.

29 – Egypt agrees to pay £29 million compensation to the shareholders of the Suez Canal Company.

29 – The Broadway musical My Fair Lady opens for its first night in London, to a rapturous reception. The show, playing at the Drury Lane theatre, stars Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins and Julie Andrews playing Eliza Doolittle.

30 – US Vice President Nixon is booed, stoned and spat upon during a goodwill tour of Latin America.


02 – State of Emergency declared in Aden by Governor Sir William Luce.

03 – Manchester United lose the FA Cup Final 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers.

03President Eisenhower proposes demilitarised Antarctic.

07 – Major H Johnson of the USAAF sets an altitude record of 91,248 feet in a Lockheed Starfighter aircraft.

09 – Pakistani Premier Dr Khan Sahib is assassinated by a minor official.

13 – Rioting by French settlers in Algeria leads to the French army seizing power.

16 – Captain W Irwin of the USAAF sets a world speed record of 1,404.18 mph in a Lockheed Starfighter.

20 – The British Motor Corporation unveils its new car, the Austin Healey Sprite.

21 – Postmaster General Ernest Marples announces Subscriber Trunk Dialling. The automated telephone connection will make calls easier and cheaper when it is introduced in December this year.

23 – A new kind of vehicle that rides just above the ground on a cushion of air has been invented by Suffolk boatbuilder Christopher Cockerell. it has been named the Hovercraft.

24 – Questions are asked in the UK parliament after Jerry Lee Lewis arrives in England. He is sent home after the discovery that his wife is only 13.

27 – State of Emergency declared in Sri Lanka.

27 – US rocker Jerry Lee Lewis cuts short his five-week British tour after only two concerts and leaves the country with his 13-year-old wife.

29 – General de Gaulle is voted into power in France. He accepts on the condition that he can rewrite the Constitution.


01 – France’s General Charles de Gaulle is invited back to the helm 12 years after relinquishing power. President Rene Coty has asked the general to form a new government – a decision which is endorsed today by the National Assembly which votes by 329 votes to 224 to have him as prime minister.

01 – Iceland extends fishing limit to 12 miles.

04 – ‘Hard Ridden’ wins the Derby.

08 – Four die and 70 are hurt in riots in Cyprus.

09 – The Queen opens Gatwick, London’s second airport, built on the Surrey-Sussex border at a cost of £7 million.

16 – The anti-Soviet former prime minister of Hungary, Imre Nagy, is hanged for treason after a secret trial. The US slams the execution as a “shocking act of cruelty”.

23 – Yugoslavia and Poland protest at the execution of Imre Nagy.

28 – France orders the release of 30 Algerian political prisoners in a move aimed at winning Muslim support over French plans for the colony’s future.

29 – Brazil beats Sweden 5-2 in the final to win their first World Cup.

30 – Tamils call for an independent state in Ceylon.


05 – Ashley Cooper beats Neale Fraser for the men’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon. Althea Gibson beats Angela Mortimer in the women’s singles final.

06 – Mike Hawthorn wins the French Grand Prix.

07 – Alaska statehood bill is signed by President Eisenhower.

08 – American actor Kevin Bacon is born in Philadelphia.

10 – The first parking meters are installed in London. There are 625 in all. Two hours parking costs sixpence(2½p) and a further two hours, 10 shillings (50p).

11 – 31 die in a week of widespread violence in Cyprus.

14 – King Feisal II, Crown Prince Abdulillah and Iraq’s Prime Minister General Nuri el-Said are assassinated in a Nasserite Army coup. The country is proclaimed a republic under Abdul Kassem.

15 – 1,700 US Marines of the US Sixth Fleet wade ashore at Beirut. They are greeted by bikini-clad Lebanese girls handing out ice creams. Meanwhile, the US concentrates 44 warships off the Lebanese coast.

17 – RAF Beverly and Hastings transport aircraft land 2,000 British paratroops at Amman in Jordan in response to a request for help from King Hussein.

18 – Prince Philip opens the Empire Games in Cardiff.

24 – The first Life Peerages are announced in Britain.

26 – Prince Charles is made Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester by The Queen.

29 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is formed to further the USA’s space program.

31Khrushchev visits Britain.

31 – An attempted coup by the exiled Haitian leaders Louis Dejoie and Paul Magloire is crushed by President Francois Duvalier, known as ‘Papa Doc’.


01 – Britain recognises the new regime in Iraq.

02 – King Hussein dissolves the Iraq-Jordan union.

04 – Syria seals its border with Jordan.

05 – The US submarine Nautilus surfaces after passing under the North Pole.

07 – Washington’s Court of Appeals quashes playwright Arthur Miller’s conviction for contempt of Congress after a two-year legal battle.

09 – US reaffirms refusal to recognise Red China.

14 – 99 people are feared dead when a Dutch airliner goes missing off the Irish coast.

16 – US singer Madonna Louise Ciccone is born in Michigan.

20 – Arkansas Governor Faubus refuses to enforce the US Supreme Court’s order to end school’s segregation.

24 – Stirling Moss wins the Portuguese Grand Prix.

24 – Isolated incidents in the UK escalate into widespread race riots in Nottingham and London.

27 – The USSR launches Sputnik 3, carrying two dogs.

27 – Stereo or “hi-fi” (High Fidelity) equipment dominates this year’s British Radio Show. The new technique for listening to recorded music requires two speakers strategically placed about the room.

29 – US pop musician Michael Jackson is born.

30 – 36 people are charged after police clash with 500 teddy boys in Nottingham.


01 – A conflict over fishing rights breaks out between Iceland and the UK when British trawlers defy the Icelandic 12-mile limit which starts today. The escalating fishing conflict becomes popularly known as the Cod War.

02 – Two Icelandic gunboats seize a British trawler within Iceland’s newly-proclaimed 12-mile fishing limit. The gunboats abandon their prize when Royal Navy sailors swing on board the trawler with grappling irons and reclaim her. More than 1,000 Icelanders later demonstrate outside the British Embassy.

03 – Dr Hendrik Verwoerd becomes South African Premier.

05Martin Luther King, arrested for loitering in Alabama on 3 September, alleges police brutality. He is fined $14.

07 – Britain’s Black Knight ballistic missile is successfully launched at Woomera in Australia.

09 – Race riots flare throughout the night and day in the streets of Notting Hill Gate, London.

12 – Arkansas Governor Faubus closes all high schools in Little Rock in defiance of the Supreme Court’s anti-segregation order.

13 – St George win their third Australian Rugby League Grand Final by defeating Wests 20-9 before a record crowd of 63,282.

19 – The RAF takes delivery of its first US-built Thor missiles.

20 – A woman stabs Martin Luther King in Harlem, New York.

20Tommy Steele is the first rock ‘n’ roller to be immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds.

24 – 30 die in street clashes in Beirut.

28 – A typhoon in Tokyo (Japan) kills 1300 people.

28 – British Army chief General Kendrew escapes an assassination attempt in Cyprus.


02 – Greek EOKA terrorists kill a British civilian and wound four policemen in Cyprus. In response, British authorities tighten security, impose curfews and equip police with tear gas and dye sprays.

02 – Farmers in New Zealand face their worst drought in 40 years.

04 – BOAC inaugurates the world’s first transatlantic jet passenger service from London with the improved de Havilland Comet IV.

04 – The constitution of the Fifth Republic is declared in Paris.

09 – Pope Pius XII dies after suffering a stroke on 6 October. He is 82.

09 – Yankees defeat Braves in the US to win World Series.

10 – Patrice Lumumba founds the Congolese National Movement (MNC) in the Belgian Congo.

11 – US launches Pioneer rocket in an attempt to orbit the Moon. The project fails but the rocket does achieve a record altitude of 79.193 miles.

14 – Renowned Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson dies aged 76.

16 – Eight Israeli policemen are jailed for the slaughter of 48 Israeli Arabs.

16 – The UK’s latest unemployment figure of 476,000 is the worst for ten years.

16 – Long-running children’s TV show Blue Peter debuts.

21 – Female peers are allowed to sit in the second British chamber, the House of Lords.

24 – Ayub Khan forms Cabinet in Pakistan.

26 – The Boeing 707 goes into transatlantic service. Passengers can now choose between the New York-London jet service (run by BOAC) or the New York-Paris service (operated by Pan Am).

28 – Guiseppe Roncalli, an Italian farmer’s son, is elected as Pope John XXIII. He remains pope until his death in 1963.

31 – Dr Ake Senning implants the first internal heart pacemaker, in Sweden.


02 – Last British troops leave Jordan.

04 – Pope John XXIII is crowned at the Vatican.

04 – ‘Baystone’ wins the Melbourne Cup.

06 – General Charles de Gaulle invests Sir Winston Churchill with the Cross of Lorraine and the Order of Liberation, in Paris.

06 – In London, the Lord Chamberlain ends the ban on plays about homosexuals.

09 – In Cuba, Fidel Castro frees 25 people held aboard a hijacked airliner.

10 – Donald Campbell achieves a water-speed record of 248.62 mph in Britain.

10 – Joao Gilberto makes the first Bossa Nova record in Rio de Janeiro.

15 – American actor Tyrone Power (b. 5/5/1914) dies after suffering a massive heart attack while filming a sword fight with George Sanders for the film Solomon and Sheba.

19 – In Cyprus, British troops kill key EOKA figure Kyriakos Matsis.

21 – American actress Jamie Lee Curtis is born in Los Angeles.

22 – The Menzies government sweeps back into power in Australia with a majority of at least 26 seats in the House of Representatives and gains control of the Senate.

23 – Ghana and Guinea sign an agreement aimed at forming a Union of West African States.

28 – Chad, Congo, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal all become republics in the French Union.

30 – Supporters of Charles de Gaulle win a parliamentary majority in France.


01 – 90 die in a school fire in Chicago, USA.

03 – Indonesia nationalises Dutch businesses.

05 – Britain’s first stretch of motorway, the Preston Bypass, is opened by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.

06 – The world’s largest oil tanker, capable of carrying 1,021,000 barrels, is launched in Japan.

12 – A Jupiter missile is launched in the USA with a nose cone containing a squirrel monkey. The monkey named Gordo survived the 300-mile journey into space and then travelled more than 1,500 miles in the rocket until it dropped in the South Atlantic, where a technical problem with the recovery gear meant a parachute failed to open and the nose-cone sank taking Gordo with it.

12 – General Galan appointed Inspector-General in Algiers.

16 – NATO rejects Soviet proposals for Berlin.

18 – The two young nephews of movie star Boris Karloff are found with their throats cut in London. The children’s mother is accused of the murder of the 10 and 13-year-old boys.

18 – The USA initiates ‘Project Score’ and launches an Atlas missile which sends back a tape-recorded message of President Eisenhower‘s Christmas message.

21General Charles de Gaulle is elected president of the French Fifth Republic.

22 – British trade pact with Egypt.

27 – The final broadcast of BBC television’s The Six-Five Special.

30 – A vicious house-to-house battle is raging around the town of Santa Clara (the capital of the province of Las Villas) between rebel guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro, and the Cuban army.

31 – Amnesty declared in Lebanon.

31 – The US Treasury receives $425,000 in settlement of back taxes from Charlie Chaplin.

Also this year . . .

Quote of the year

“How can you govern a country which produces 265 different kinds of cheese?”
General de Gaulle, appointed French Premier in 1958.

Cost of living (USA)

New House $11,975.00
Average Annual Income $4,650.00
New Car $2,155.00
Average Monthly Rent $95.00
Yearly tuition to Harvard $1,000.00
Movie Ticket $1.00
Gasoline (per gallon) $0.24
US Postage Stamp $0.04
Granulated Sugar (10lb) $0.89
Vitamin D Milk (gallon) $1.01
Ground Coffee (lb) $0.93
Bacon (lb) $0.62
Eggs (dozen) $0.28
Ground Hamburger (lb) $0.57
Fresh baked loaf $0.19