• 1st April - Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) becomes independent
  • 2nd April - Riots in Bristol
  • 5th May - Iranian Embassy siege ended by S.A.S.
  • 21st September - C.N.D. rally at Greenham Common
  • 27th October - Claiming status of political prisoners, seven I.R.A. members begin hunger strike at Maze Prison, Belfast

Publications of the year

  • Julian Barnes Metroland
  • William Golding Rites of Passage


  • 1st March - Further hunger strikes in Maze Prison, Belfast
  • 26th March - Social Democratic Party formed
  • 9th April - I.R.A. hunger striker Bobby Sand is elected Fermanagh M.P.
  • 11th-12th April - Brixton Riots
  • 5th May - Hunger striker Bobby Sands dies
  • July - Rioting in Toxteth, Liverpool and Moss Side, Manchester
  • 29th July - Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral

Publications of the year

  • Alasdair Gray Lanark
  • Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children


  • 2nd April - Argentina invades Falkland Islands
  • 5th April - Royal Navy task force sets sail from Portsmouth
  • 25th April - South Georgia recaptured
  • 2nd May - Argentinian warship General Belgrano is sunk by British submarine
  • 14th June - Following recapture of Port Stanley, Argentinians surrender
  • 20th July - I.R.A. kill 10 soldiers in Hyde Park and Regent's Park bombs
  • 11th October - Mary Rose is raised from the sea-bed off Portsmouth

Publications of the year

  • Caryl Churchill Top Girls, first performed in September


  • 9th June - General election returns increased majority for Conservatives
  • 14th November - U.S. Cruise missiles arrive at Greenham Common
  • 17th December - I.R.A. kill six in Harrods bomb
  • William Golding receives Nobel prize for literature

Publications of the year

  • Paul Muldoon Quoof
  • Grace Nichols I is a Long-memoried Woman


  • 21st February - Miners strike begins in Scotland, but quickly spreading
  • 29th May - Violent clashes between police and miners at Orgreave, S. Yorkshire
  • 12th October - I.R.A. kill four in Conservative Party Conference bomb
  • 3rd December - British Telecom shares on sale
  • Band Aid Christmas single
  • Torvill and Dean are European, World and Olympic ice-dance champions

Publications of the year

  • J. G. Ballard Empire of the Sun
  • Julian Barnes Flaubert's Parrot
  • Anita Brookner Hotel du Lac
  • Angela Carter Nights at the Circus
  • Seamus Heaney Station Island


  • 25th March - Miners' strike ends
  • 2nd May - Pravda by Howard Brenton and David Hare performed at the Olivier
  • 11th May - Bradford City football fire kills 55
  • 29th May - Violence at Liverpool v. Juventus football match, Heysel Stadium, Brussels, leads to 38 deaths
  • 13th July - Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium
  • 16th July - Announcement that Greater London Council is to be abolished
  • September - Riots in Handsworth, Birmingham, and in Brixton
  • October - Riots in Tottenham
  • 15th November - Hillsborough Agreement between Ireland and Britain

Publications of the year

  • Peter Ackroyd Hawksmoor
  • Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Urban Priority Areas Faith in the city
  • Carol Ann Duffy Standing Female Nude
  • Douglas Dunn Elegies


  • 15th February - Violent clashes between protestors and police at Wapping after Rupert Murdoch sacks 5,000 print workers
  • 1st April - Abolition of Greater London Council takes effect
  • 15th April - U.S. aircraft stationed in Britain kill many civilians in bombing raid on Libya
  • 3rd May - Further violence at Wapping
  • 11th July - High Court injunction agains publication of Peter Wright's Spycatcher

Publications of the year

  • Ron Fisher and Ron King The Left-handed punch
  • The Independent begins publication


  • 20th January - Terry Waite is taken hostage in Beirut
  • 24th January - Further violence at Wapping
  • 6th February - Wapping strike is called off
  • 7th March - Car ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes, killing 188
  • 8th May - S.A.S. kill eight I.R.A. members in ambush in Antrim
  • 11th June - General election returns Conservative government
  • 16th October - Hurricane in southern England kills 19 and causes widespread damage
  • 8th November - I.R.A. kill 11 civilians at Enniskillen Remembrance Day parade
  • 18th November - King's Cross Underground fire kills 31

Publications of the year

  • Peter Finch Selected Poems
  • Peter Wright Spycatcher


  • 3rd March - Liberals and S.D.P. merge to become Social and Liberal Democratic Party
  • 6th March - S.A.S. kill three Irish republicans in Gibraltar
  • 6th July - Piper Alpha oil rig disaster: 170 killed
  • 21st December - Pan Am airliner blown up over Lockerbie, killing 281

Publications of the year

  • Gillian Allnutt et al. (ed.) The New British Poetry
  • Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time
  • Alan Hollinghurst The Swimming Pool Library
  • Salman Rushdie Satanic Verses (Shelfmark: Cup.711/907)


  • 14th February - Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini pronounces fatwa on Salman Rushdie
  • 1st April - Community charge ("poll tax") is levied in Scotland
  • 15th April - Hillsborough Stadium disaster
  • 22nd September - Eleven military bandsmen in Dover are killed by the I.R.A.
  • 9th November - Protestors begin to dismantle Berlin Wall

Publications of the year

  • Simon Armitage Zoom!
  • Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day
  • James Kelman A Disaffection
  • Clive Sinclair Cosmetic Effects