1981 in the United Kingdom

1981 in the United Kingdom

in?= in the United Kingdom
cp=19th century
c=20th century
cf=21st century


Events from the year 1981 in the United Kingdom.


*Monarch - HM Queen Elizabeth II
*Prime Minister - Margaret Thatcher, Conservative


* 5 January - Peter Sutcliffe, a 35-year-old lorry driver from Bradford, is charged with being the notorious "Yorkshire Ripper" mass murderer who is believed to have murdered 13 women and attacked seven others across northern England since 1975.cite book|title=Penguin Pocket On This Day|publisher=Penguin Reference Library|isbn=0-141-02715-0|year=2006]
* 9 January - The funeral of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, the last surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria, takes place at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. She had died six days previously at the age of 97.
* 16 January - Northern Ireland civil rights campaigner and former Westminster MP, Bernadette McAliskey is shot and injured at her home in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Loyalist terrorists suspected. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/16/newsid_2530000/2530469.stm|title="1981: Gunmen shoot civil rights campaigner", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 18 January - New Cross Fire: 18 young black people are killed in an arson attack on a house in New Cross, London. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/18/newsid_2530000/2530333.stm|title="1981: Nine die in New Cross house fire", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 25 January - The Limehouse Declaration: Four Labour MPs, Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins, William Rodgers and David Owen announce plans to form a separate political party- the Social Democratic Party. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/25/newsid_2506000/2506367.stm|title="1981: Dissident Labour MPs plan new party"", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 6 February - The Liverpool-registered coal ship "Nellie M" is bombed and sunk by an IRA unit driving a hijacked pilot boat in Lough Foyle.
* 18 February - Thatcher government withdraws plans to close down 23 mines after negotiations with National Union of Mineworkers. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/18/newsid_2550000/2550991.stm|title="1981: Thatcher gives in to miners", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 24 February - The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer announce their engagement. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/24/newsid_2516000/2516759.stm|title="1981: Prince Charles and Lady Di to marry", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 9 March - John Lambe, a 37-year-old lorry driver, is sentenced to life imprisonment for the rape of 12 women in the space of less than four years. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/9/newsid_2516000/2516615.stm |title="1981: M5 rapist jailed for life", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 23 March - government imposes a ban on animal transportation on the Isle of Wight and southern Hampshire after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in cattle. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/23/newsid_2531000/2531311.stm|title="1981: New measures to contain farm disease", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 24 March - Barbados police rescue Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs after being kidnapped in Brazil. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/24/newsid_2531000/2531233.stm|title="1981: Biggs rescued after kidnapping", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 26 March - Social Democratic Party formed by the so-called "Gang of Four": Shirley Williams, William Rodgers, Roy Jenkins, and David Owen. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/26/newsid_2531000/2531151.stm|title="1981: 'Gang of four' launches new party", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 29 March - The first London Marathon is held. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/29/newsid_2530000/2530955.stm|title="1981: Triumph at first London Marathon", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 4 April - Bucks Fizz was the winner of Eurovision Song Contest with the song, "Making Your Mind Up".
* 10 April - Bobby Sands, an IRA terrorist on hunger strike in the Maze prison, Northern Ireland is elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by election. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/10/newsid_2453000/2453183.stm|title="1981: Hunger striker elected MP", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 11 April - Brixton riot. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/11/newsid_2523000/2523907.stm|title="1981: Brixton ablaze after riot", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 20 April - Snooker player Steve Davis wins the World Snooker Championship 1981.
* 5 May - Bobby Sands, a 27-year-old republican, dies in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison after a 66-day hunger strike.
* 7 May - Ken Livingstone becomes leader of the GLC after Labour wins the GLC elections.cite book |last=Palmer |first=Alan & Veronica |year=1992 |title= The Chronology of British History|publisher= Century Ltd |location=London|pages= 445-446|isbn= 0-7126-5616-2]
* 11 May - First performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats" at the New London Theatre.
* 19 May - Peter Sutcliffe is found guilty of being the Yorkshire Ripper after admitting 13 charges of murder and a further seven of attempted murder. He is sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum of 30 years after the trial judge rejects his plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
* 3 June - Shergar wins the Epsom Derby.
* 13 June - The Queen is shot at by a youth, Marcus Sarjeant, who fired six blank cartridges as the Queen entered Horse Guards Parade. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/13/newsid_2512000/2512333.stm|title="1981: Queen shot at by youth", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 21 June - a fire at Goodge Street tube station kills one person and injures 16.
* 16 June - Liberal Party and SDP form an electoral pact.
* 5 July - Toxteth riots: about 80 police injured in two days of rioting, and first use was made of CS gas by British police. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/5/newsid_2494000/2494599.stm|title="1981: Police attacked in Liverpool riots", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 17 July - The official opening of the Humber Bridge by the Queen.
* 27 July - British Telecommunications Act separates British Telecom from the Royal Mail.
* 29 July - The marriage of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer takes place at St Paul's Cathedral. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/29/newsid_2494000/2494949.stm|title="1981: Charles and Diana marry", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* August - A busy month for the British motor industry sees two major new car launches. British Leyland releases its new Triumph Acclaim four-door saloon, the first product of a recent venture with Honda which is expected to see a Rover SD1 replacement on sale by 1986. Vauxhall launches the new front-drive Cavalier, which is available as a five-door hatchback for the very first time.
* 9 August - Broadmoor Hospital falls under heavy criticism after the escape of a second prisoner in three weeks. The latest absconder is 32-year-old Alan Reeve, a convicted double murderer.
* 17 September - a team of divers begin removing gold ingots worth £40 million from the wreck of the "HMS Edinburgh", sunk off the coast of Norway ion 1942.
* 3 October - end of hunger strikes at the Maze prison. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/3/newsid_2451000/2451503.stm|title="1981: IRA Maze hunger strikes at an end", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 10 October - Chelsea Barracks bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army, killing two people.
* 24 October - CND anti-nuclear march in London attracts over 250,000 people. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/24/newsid_2488000/2488439.stm|title="1981: CND rally attracts thousands", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 30 October - Nicholas Reed, chief of the Euthanasia charity "Exit" jailed for two-and-a-half years for aiding and abetting suicides. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/30/newsid_2465000/2465183.stm|title="1981: Euthanasia chief jailed over suicides", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]
* 16 November - Production of the Vauxhall Astra commences in Britain at the Ellesmere Port plant in Cheshire. The Astra was launched two years ago but until now had been produced solely at the Opel plant in West Germany.
* 25 November - A report into the Brixton Riots, which scarred inner-city London earlier this year, points the finger of blame at the social and economic problems which have been plaguing Brixton and many other inner-city areas across England.
* 8 December - Arthur Scargill becomes leader of the National Union of Mineworkers.
* 20 December - Penlee lifeboat disaster: crew of ship "Union Star" and lifeboat sent to rescue it all killed in heavy seas. Some of the bodies were never found. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/20/newsid_2539000/2539173.stm|title="1981: Lifeboat crew missing after mission", BBC On This Day|accessdate=2008-01-28]


* The London department store Whiteleys closes, after 107 years in business.


* Alasdair Gray's novel "".
* Terry Pratchett's novel "Strata".
* Salman Rushdie's novel "Midnight's Children".
* D. M. Thomas' novel "The White Hotel".


* 25 January - Alex Partridge, rower
* 13 January - Peter Crouch, footballer
* 27 March - Terry McFlynn, Northern Irish footballer
* 1 April - Hannah Spearritt, singer (S Club 7)
* 10 April - Liz McClarnon, singer (Atomic Kitten)
* 15 May - Zara Phillips, daughter of Anne, Princess Royal and equestrienne
* 20 May - Sean Conlon, musician (5ive)
* 25 October - Shaun Wright-Phillips, footballer
* 26 November - Natasha Bedingfield, singer


* 3 January - Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, daughter of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany; and the longest living grandchild of Queen Victoria (born 1883)
* 6 January - A. J. Cronin, Scottish novelist (born 1896)
* 6 March - George Geary, English cricketer (born 1893)
* 11 March - Maurice Oldfield, intelligence chief (born 1915)
* 16 April- George Cambridge, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge (born 1895)
* 5 May - Bobby Sands, IRA terrorist and MP (born 1954)
* 9 May - Ralph Allen, footballer (born 1906)
* 17 June - Sir Richard O'Connor, British General in WWII (born 1889)
* 8 September - Bill Shankly, Scottish football manager (born 1913)


ee also

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