That Was the Year That Was – 1966
Image by brizzle born and bred
The swinging sixties were in full flow, but in some corners of the world the peace and love mantra of the flower-power generation could not be heard.
Even as hippies in London and San Francisco were weaving daisies into their hair, in China Mao Tse-Tung launched the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year political campaign aimed at rekindling revolutionary Communist fervour. Brandishing their copies of Mao’s Little Red Book of quotations, students of the Communist Party – the so-called Red Guards – pursued an ideological cleansing campaign in which they renounced and attacked anyone suspected of being an intellectual, or a member of the bourgeoisie. Thousands of Chinese citizens were executed, and millions more were yoked into manual labour in the decade that followed.
Meanwhile, the US government, under president Lyndon B Johnson, was escalating its military presence in Vietnam. By the year’s end, American troop levels had reached 389,000, with more than 5,000 combat deaths and over 30,000 wounded. The war was a brutal and dirty one, with many US casualties caused by sniper fire, booby traps and mines.
The Americans responded by sending B-52 bombers over North Vietnam, and by launching the infamous Search and Destroy policy on the ground.
"To know war," Johnson said in his State of the Union address before Congress, in January 1966, "is to know that there is still madness in this world".
There was bloodshed on the streets of London too, when Ronnie Kray, brother of Reggie, shot George Cornell dead in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel in March.
Two years after his proclamations about the "white heat of technology" Harold Wilson was prime minister of a Labour government that included technology minister Tony Benn. If Benn was pleased to witness the introduction of the first homegrown UK credit card – The Barclaycard – in 1966, he was in the minority. The card was met with "a tidal wave of indifference", according to a Barclays executive.
Perhaps the UK public simply had other things on their minds.
This was, after all, the year in which Bobby Moore’s England beat the Germans 4-2 to lift the World Cup at Wembley.
Musically, 1966 was a vintage year. Jim Reeves’ Distant Drums knocked the Small Faces’ All or Nothing off the top spot. Other number ones in the year included Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night, Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys, the Walker Brothers’ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore and The Green, Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones.
The Beatles and the Rolling Stones also continued their dominance of the music scene, with Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigby, Paperback Writer and Paint it Black all topping the charts.
A Man for all Seasons won Best Picture at the 1966 Oscars, and its star Paul Scofield won Best Actor. Other films released this year included Georgy Girl, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Alfie and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
On the small screen, viewers were subjected to the rants of Alf Garnet in Till Death us do Part; while US audiences were introduced to the delights of the Monkees and Star Trek. And the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, thwarted lute-playing electronics genius the Minstrel as he tried to sabotage the computer systems at the Gotham City Stock Exchange.
"Batman heads off new corporate IT disaster" – now there’s a headline to conjure with.
The Queen opens the £10 million Severn Bridge on September 8. The Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 to replace the ferry service crossing from Aust to Beachley. The new bridge provided a direct link for the M4 motorway into Wales.
The Severn Bridge has now carried more than 300,000,000 vehicles since it was opened in 1966. Between 1980 and 1990 traffic flows increased by 63% and there were severe congestion problems in the summer and at peak times each day. Further increases in traffic flows were expected in the years ahead. The problems encountered on the Severn Bridge were made worse by the occasional high winds, accidents and breakdowns. It is for these reasons that the Second Severn Crossing was constructed as without it congestion would become more serious and frequent on the M4, M5 and the local road network.
Bristol’s Mecca Centre opens
1966 – Thursday May 19 is a glittering night in Bristol when 800 of the West Country’s VIPs are invited to the opening of the city centre’s brand new £32 million leisure complex on Frogmore Street With a dozen licensed bars, a casino, a cinema, a night club, an ice rink and a thousand plastic palm trees, this is the biggest entertainment palace anywhere in Europe and somewhere to rival the West End of London. There are girls! In bikinis! There’s even pineapple! On sticks! Drivers park their Hillman Imps in the multi-story car park!
And, amazingly enough, the venue has been an entertainment centre ever since. Bristol . . . entertainments capital of the South West, and one of the entertainments attractions of Europe. That was the talk of the town when Mecca moved into Bristol, splashed out a fortune and began building the New Entertainments Centre in Frogmore Street, towering over the ancient Hatchet Inn and the Georgian and Regency streets nearby.
The New Entertainments Centre wasn’t just big, it was enormous and it was what 60s leisure and fun-time were all about, Mecca promised. Here, slap bang in the middle of Bristol, the company was creating the largest entertainment centre in the whole of Europe. A dozen licensed bars, an ice rink, bowling lanes, a casino, a night club, a grand cinema, asumptuous ballroom and, naturally, a multi-storey car park to accommodate all those Zephyr Zodiacs, Anglias, Westminsters, Minis, Victors and Imps etc which would come pouring into town bringing the 5,000 or so customers who would flock to the centre every day.
London might have its famous West End. Bristol had its Frogmore Street palace of fun and the opening night of the biggest attraction of all, the Locarno Ballroom, on May 19th was the Night To Crown All First Nights, the Post proudly announced. Sparkling lights, plastic palm trees in shadily-lit bars, a revolving stage, dolly birds in fishnet tights and grass skirts . . . this was glamour a la mid-60s and Bristol loved it.
Horace Batchelor K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M
1966 – KEYNSHAM became a familiar household name to millions of Radio Luxembourg listeners across Europe in the 1950s and 1960s — thanks to a local betting expert.
Self-styled ‘football pools king’ Horace Batchelor helped punters win a total of more than £12 million between 1948 and 1971 at a time when £75,000 was a fortune and his series of radio ads always mentioned mentioned Keynsham, which Horace would then spell out.
Customers followed his unique ‘infra draw’ tip system, which forecast which matches would be drawn in the pools. He put the otherwise little-known town on the map by spelling out its name letter by letter so listeners would address their applications correctly when ordering tips by post.
His ads included genial patter such as: ‘Hello, friends — this is Horace Batchelor, the inventor of the fabulous Infra-Draw system. You too can start to win really worthwhile dividends using my method.’
Members of the system clubbed together to enter very large permutations with a good chance of winning the pools and then sharing the takings — though each individual only received a small fraction of each big windfall. Horace himself set a world record by personally netting more than 30 first dividends and thousands of second and third dividends.
During his heyday up to 5.000 orders a day were delivered via Keynsham to his office in Old Market, Bristol. His first major pools win came in 1948 when he was presented with £11,321 at Bedminster’s Rex Cinema —part of the biggest dividend then paid by Sherman’s Pools.
It also included £45,000 which he shared with syndicate members. – By 1955 he had won enough to live in luxury, running three cars and puffing cigars in an 18-room house. He later retired to a 27-bedroom ‘Batchelor pad’ in Bath Road, Saltford, a small village just outside of Keynsham, which he named ‘Infra -Grange’ after his system.
Pickles was made Dog of the Year in 1966
Pickles, the mongrel dog who found the World Cup in a London street after it had been stolen three months before the 1966 finals, became a bigger story than that year’s general election.
In March 1966, a few months before the start of the World Cup finals in England, a mongrel dog named Pickles found the missing Jules Rimet trophy in a London street.
One week before Pickles came to the rescue, the priceless trophy had been stolen from the Westminster’s Methodist Central Hall where it was being displayed, albeit in a glass cabinet.
And this despite the presence of no less than five security guards. On that fateful Sunday, however, the guard stationed next to the trophy had taken the day off. The thieves stole in through a back door and snatched away the World Cup.
For his winning role in the tale, Pickles was made Dog of the Year in 1966 and awarded a year’s free supply of dog food. His owner, a Thames lighterman named David Corbett, was a prime suspect in the case and police questioned him for hours before he was cleared.
With a dramatic goal in the final moments of what was a nail-biting match, England finally became soccer World Cup champions, securing a 4-2 win over West Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium. It was just one of the many highlights of 1966 that are etched on my memory from a year that had its fair share of controversy and tragedy as well as producing some outstanding music.
‘more popular than Jesus’
Controversy come in the wake of John Lennon’s quip in a newspaper interview that The Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus now’. It caused a furor and led to thousands of the group’s records being burned on bonfires in protest in some parts of America. I recall seeing the news coverage on TV showing angry groups of people tossing piles of vinyl in to the flames. It was far cry from the outpourings of adoration and admiration that the Liverpool lads usually enjoyed. And for a while threatened to damage their reputation.
The anti-Beatles outcry did however subside following an apology from Lennon and things eventually got back to normal on the Fab Four front. The catchy Paperback Writer topped the charts and their imaginative album Revolver reinstated their popularity.
Aberfan coal tip disaster in Wales
One of the most tragic events that year In Britain was the Aberfan coal tip disaster in Wales that claimed 144 lives, including 116 children. I was at work on a weekly newspaper on the October morning it happened. My colleagues and I had a radio on and listened to updates on and off throughout the day as rescuers dug through the tons of slurry that had roared down the hillside, desperately trying to find survivors in the mangled remains of the school building. I’ll always remember that it was a very dark period, particularly as so many young lives had been lost in what was later shown to have been an avoidable tragedy.
On the music front, 1966 threw up several gems, not least some groundbreaking offerings from The Beach Boys. It was, of course, the year that the magical singles Good Vibrations and God Only Knows and the grandiose album Pet Sounds set new standards in rock recording. Indeed, such was the excellence of the band at that time that it spurred The Beatles on to experiment and push their own musical boundaries still further.
Motown was in its glory too, and The Four Tops epitomized all that was great about the sounds made under the guidance of Berry Gordy in the bustling, vibrant city that was Detroit. Reach Out I’ll Be There.
Other memorable songs, were Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, the Spencer Davis Group’s Somebody Help Me, the Rolling Stones Paint It Black, The Walker Brothers’ operatic The Sun Ain’t `Gonna Shine Anymore, and Chris Farlowe’s cover version of the Stones’ Out Of Time. All of them are classics of rock.
Tom Jones’ Green, Green Grass of Home was the biggest selling single. Way before The Voice!
George Harrison married Patti Boyd.
Sergio Leone created the spaghetti western with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly starring Clint Eastwood. Due to the striking height difference between Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach of over 9 inches, it was sometimes difficult to include them in the same frame.
Because Sergio Leone spoke barely any English and Eli Wallach spoke barely any Italian, the two communicated in French.
In the 1960s Michael Caine was a cocky young British movie star with a Cockney accent. He played a caddish womanizer in Alfie (1966) "Not a lot of people know that"
Adam Sandler, Halle Berry, David Schwimmer, David Cameron, Cindy Crawford, Helena Bonham Carter were all born in 1966.
The first episode of Star Trek aired.
Walt Disney died.
The Beatles achieved their 10th number 1!
The Sound of Music won Best Picture at the Oscars.
Twiggy was named the face of ’66 by Daily Express.
1966 was also the year that the term Swinging London was coined by Time magazine, and as they say the rest is history
For a few years in the 1960s, London was the world capital of cool. When Time magazine dedicated its 15 April 1966 issue to London: the Swinging City, it cemented the association between London and all things hip and fashionable that had been growing in the popular imagination throughout the decade.
London’s remarkable metamorphosis from a gloomy, grimy post-War capital into a bright, shining epicentre of style was largely down to two factors: youth and money. The baby boom of the 1950s meant that the urban population was younger than it had been since Roman times.
By the mid-60s, 40% of the population at large was under 25. With the abolition of National Service for men in 1960, these young people had more freedom and fewer responsibilities than their parents’ generation. They rebelled against the limitations and restrictions of post-War society. In short, they wanted to shake things up… Added to this, Londoners had more disposable income than ever before – and were looking for ways to spend it. Nationally, weekly earnings in the ‘60s outstripped the cost of living by a staggering 183%: in London, where earnings were generally higher than the national average, the figure was probably even greater.
This heady combination of affluence and youth led to a flourishing of music, fashion, design and anything else that would banish the post-War gloom. Fashion boutiques sprang up willy-nilly.
Men flocked to Carnaby St, near Soho, for the latest ‘Mod’ fashions. While women were lured to the King’s Rd, where Mary Quant’s radical mini skirts flew off the rails of her iconic store, Bazaar.
Even the most shocking or downright barmy fashions were popularised by models who, for the first time, became superstars. Jean Shrimpton was considered the symbol of Swinging London, while Twiggy was named The Face of 1966. Mary Quant herself was the undisputed queen of the group known as The Chelsea Set, a hard-partying, socially eclectic mix of largely idle ‘toffs’ and talented working-class movers and shakers.
Music was also a huge part of London’s swing. While Liverpool had the Beatles, the London sound was a mix of bands who went on to worldwide success, including The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Rolling Stones. Their music was the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Swinging England. Creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital, from artists and writers to magazine publishers, photographers, advertisers, film-makers and product designers.
But not everything in London’s garden was rosy. Immigration was a political hot potato: by 1961, there were over 100,000 West Indians in London, and not everyone welcomed them with open arms. The biggest problem of all was a huge shortage of housing to replace bombed buildings and unfit slums and cope with a booming urban population. The badly-conceived solution – huge estates of tower blocks – and the social problems they created, changed the face of London for ever. By the 1970s, with industry declining and unemployment rising,
Swinging London seemed a very dim and distant memory.
1966 in British music
14 January – Young singer David Jones changes his last name to Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones (later of the Monkees).
19 January – Michael Tippett conducts the performance of his cantata The Vision of St Augustine in London.
6 February – The Animals appear a fifth time on The Ed Sullivan Show to perform their iconic Vietnam-anthem hit "We Gotta Get Out of this Place".
4 March – The Beatles’ John Lennon is quoted in The Evening Standard as saying that the band was now more popular than Jesus. In August, following publication of this remark in Datebook, there are Beatles protests and record burnings in the Southern US’s Bible Belt.
5 March – The UK’s Kenneth McKellar, singing "A Man Without Love", finishes 9th in the 11th Eurovision Song Contest, which is won by Udo Jürgens of Austria.
6 March – In the UK, 5,000 fans of the Beatles sign a petition urging British Prime minister Harold Wilson to reopen Liverpool’s Cavern Club.
16 April – Disc Weekly is incormporated with Music Echo magazine.
1 May – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Who perform at the New Musical Express’ poll winners’ show in London. The show is televised, but The Beatles’ and The Stones’ segments are omitted because of union conflicts.
13 May – The Rolling Stones release "Paint It, Black", which becomes the first number one hit single in the US and UK to feature a sitar (in this case played by Brian Jones).
17 May – American singer Bob Dylan and the Hawks (later The Band) perform at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Dylan is booed by the audience because of his decision to tour with an
electric band, the boos culminating in the famous "Judas" shout.
2 July – The Beatles become the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo. The performance ignites protests from local citizens who felt that it was inappropriate for a rock and roll band to play at Budokan, a place – until then – designated to the practice of martial arts.
11 August – John Lennon holds a press conference in Chicago, Illinois to apologize for his remarks the previous March. "I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better."
29 August – The Beatles perform their last official concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
16 September – Eric Burdon records a solo album after leaving The Animals and appears on "Ready, Steady, Go", singing "Help Me Girl", a UK #14 solo hit. Also on the show are Otis Redding and Chris Farlowe.
9 November – John Lennon meets Yoko Ono when he attends a preview of her art exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London.
9 December – The Who release their second album A Quick One with a nine-minute "mini-opera" A Quick One While He’s Away.
16 December – The Jimi Hendrix Experience release their first single in the UK, "Hey Joe".
1966 in British television
3 January – Camberwick Green is the first BBC television programme to be shot in colour.
3 March – The BBC announces plans to begin broadcasting television programmes in colour from next year.
5 April – The Money Programme debuts on BBC2. It continued to air until 2010.
23 May – Julie Goodyear makes her Coronation Street debut as Bet Lynch. She did not become a regular character until 1970.
6 June – BBC1 sitcom Till Death Us Do Part begins its first series run.
30 July – England beat West Germany 4-2 to win the 1966 World Cup at Wembley.
Summer – Patrick McGoohan quits the popular spy series Danger Man after filming only two episodes of the fourth season, in order to produce and star in The Prisoner, which begins filming in September.
2 October – The four-part serial Talking to a Stranger, acclaimed as one of the finest British television dramas of the 1960s, begins transmission in the Theatre 625 strand on BBC2.
29 October – Actor William Hartnell makes his last regular appearance as the First Doctor in the concluding moments of Episode 4 of the Doctor Who serial The Tenth Planet. Actor Patrick Troughton briefly appears as the Second Doctor at the conclusion of the serial.
5 November – Actor Patrick Troughton appears in his first full Doctor Who serial The Power of the Daleks as the Second Doctor.
16 November – Cathy Come Home, possibly the best-known play ever to be broadcast on British television, is presented in BBC1’s The Wednesday Play anthology strand.
3 January – The Trumptonshire Trilogy: Camberwick Green
5 January – Softly, Softly (1966–1969)
10 March – The Frost Report (1966)
7 May – Quick Before They Catch Us (1966)
17 May – All Gas and Gaiters (1966–1971)
24 May – Beggar My Neighbour (1966–1968)
7 August – It’s a Knockout (BBC1 1966–1982
17 November – The Illustrated Weekly Hudd (1966–1967)
5 April – The Money Programme (1966–2010)
22 March – How (1966–1981)
3 January – British Rail begins full electric passenger train services over the West Coast Main Line from Euston to Manchester and Liverpool with 100 mph (160 km/h) operation from London to Rugby. Services officially inaugurated 18 April.
Stop-motion children’s television series Camberwick Green first shown on BBC1.
4 January – More than 4,000 people attend a memorial service at Westminster Abbey for the broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, who died last month aged 52.
12 January – Three British MPs visiting Rhodesia (Christopher Rowland, Jeremy Bray and David Ennals) are assaulted by supporters of Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith.
20 January – The Queen commutes the death sentence on a black prisoner in Rhodesia, two months after its abolition in Britain.
Radio Caroline South pirate radio ship MV Mi Amigo runs aground on the beach at Frinton.
21 January – The Smith regime in Rhodesia rejects the Royal Prerogative commuting death sentences on two Africans.
31 January – United Kingdom ceases all trade with Rhodesia.
9 February – A prototype Fast Reactor nuclear reactor opens at Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland.
17 February – Britain protests to South Africa over its supplying of petrol to Rhodesia.
19 February – Naval minister Christopher Mayhew resigns.
28 February – Harold Wilson calls a general election for 31 March, in hope of increasing his single-seat majority.
1 March – Chancellor of the Exchequer James Callaghan announces the decision to embrace decimalisation of the pound (which will be effected on 15 February 1971).
4 March – In an interview published in The Evening Standard, John Lennon of The Beatles comments, "We’re more popular than Jesus now".
Britain recognized the new regime in Ghana.
5 March – BOAC Flight 911 crashes in severe clear-air turbulence over Mount Fuji soon after taking off from Tokyo International Airport in Japan, killing all 124 on board.
9 March – Ronnie, one of the Kray twins, shoots George Cornell (an associate of rivals The Richardson Gang) dead at The Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel, east London, a crime for which he is finally convicted in 1969.
11 March – Chi-Chi, the London Zoo’s giant panda, is flown to Moscow for a union with An-An of the Moscow Zoo.
20 March – Theft of football’s FIFA World Cup Trophy whilst on exhibition in London.
23 March – Pope Paul VI and Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, meet in Rome.
27 March – Pickles, a mongrel dog, finds the FIFA World Cup Trophy wrapped in newspaper in a south London garden.
30 March – Opinion polls show that the Labour government is on course to win a comfortable majority in the general election tomorrow.
31 March – The Labour Party under Harold Wilson win the general election with a majority of 96 seats. At the 1964 election they had a majority of five but subsequent by-election defeats had led to that being reduced to just one seat before this election. The Birmingham Edgbaston seat is retained for the Conservatives by Jill Knight in succession to Edith Pitt, the first time two women MPs have followed each other in the same constituency.
6 April – Hoverlloyd inaugurate the first Cross-Channel hovercraft service, from Ramsgate harbour to Calais using passenger-carrying SR.N6 craft.
7 April – The United Kingdom asks the UN Security Council authority to use force to stop oil tankers that violate the oil embargo against Rhodesia. Authority is given on 10 April.
11 April – The Marquess of Bath, in conjunction with Jimmy Chipperfield, opens Longleat Safari Park, with "the lions of Longleat", at his Longleat House, the first such drive-through park outside Africa.
15 April – Time magazine uses the phrase "Swinging London".
19 April – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley go on trial at Chester Crown Court, charged with three so-called Moors Murders.
30 April – Regular hovercraft service begins over the English Channel (discontinued in 2000 due to competition with the Channel Tunnel.)
Liverpool win the Football League First Division title for the second time in three seasons.
3 May – Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio commence broadcasting on AM with a combined potential 100,000 watts from the same ship anchored off the south coast of England in international waters.
6 May – The Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are sentenced to life imprisonment for three child murders committed between November 1963 and October 1965. Brady is guilty of all three murders and receives three concurrent terms of life imprisonment, while Hindley is found guilty of two murder charges and an accessory charge which receives two concurrent life sentences alongside a seven-year fixed term.
12 May – African members of the UN Security Council say that the British army should blockade Rhodesia.
14 May – Everton defeat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, overturning a 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday lead during the final 16 minutes of the game.
16 May – A strike is called by the National Union of Seamen, ending on 16 July.
18 May – Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announces that the number of police forces in England and Wales will be cut to 68.
26 May – Guyana achieves independence from the United Kingdom.
6 June – BBC1 television sitcom Till Death Us Do Part begins its first series run.
23 June – The Beatles go on top of the British singles charts for the 10th time with Paperback Writer.
29 June – Barclays Bank introduces the Barclaycard, the first British credit card.
3 July – 31 arrests made after a protest against the Vietnam War outside the US embassy turns violent.
12 July – Zambia threatens to leave the Commonwealth because of British peace overtures to Rhodesia.
14 July – Gwynfor Evans becomes member of Parliament for Carmarthen, the first ever Plaid Cymru MP, after his victory at a by-election.
15 July – A ban on black workers at Euston railway station is overturned.
16 July – Prime Minister Harold Wilson flies to Moscow to try to start peace negotiations over the Vietnam War. The Soviet Government rejects his ideas.
20 July – Start of 6-month wage and price freeze.
26 July – Lord Gardiner issues the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House is not bound to follow its own previous precedent.
30 July – England beats West Germany 4-2 to win the 1966 World Cup at Wembley. Geoff Hurst scores a hat-trick and Martin Peters scores the other English goal in a game which attracts an all-time record UK television audience of more than 32,000,000.
1 August – Everton sign Blackpool’s World Cup winning midfield player Alan Ball, Jr. for a national record fee of £110,000.
2 August – Spanish government forbids overflights of British military aircraft.
4 August – The Kray Twins are questioned in connection with a murder in London.
5 August – The Beatles release the album Revolver.
10 August – George Brown succeeds Michael Stewart as Foreign Secretary.
12 August – Three policemen are shot dead in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, while sitting in their patrol car in Braybrook Street.
15 August – John Whitney is arrested and charged with the murder of three West London policemen.
17 August – John Duddy is arrested in Glasgow and charged with the murder of three West London policemen.
18 August – Tay Road Bridge opens.
24 August – Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is first staged, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
29 August – The Beatles play their very last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.
3 September – Barely five months after the death of Barry Butler, a second Football League player this year dies in a car crash; 30-year-old John Nicholson, a Doncaster Rovers centre-half who previously played for Port Vale and Liverpool.
5 September – Selective Employment Tax imposed.
15 September – Britain’s first Polaris submarine, HMS Resolution, launched at Barrow-in-Furness.
17 September – Oberon-class submarine HMCS Okanagan launched at Chatham Dockyard, the last warship to be built there.
19 September – Scotland Yard arrests Ronald "Buster" Edwards, suspected of being involved in the Great Train Robbery (1963).
27 September – BMC makes 7,000 workers redundant.
30 September – The Bechuanaland Protectorate in Africa achieves independence from the U.K. as Botswana.
4 October – Basutoland becomes independent and takes the name Lesotho.
18 October – The Ford Cortina MK2 is launched.
20 October – In economic news, 437,229 people are reported to be unemployed in Britain – a rise of some 100,000 on last month’s figures.
21 October – Aberfan disaster in South Wales, 144 (including 116 children) killed by collapsing coal spoil tip.
22 October – British spy George Blake escapes from Wormwood Scrubs prison; he is next seen in Moscow.
Spain demands that United Kingdom stop military flights to Gibraltar – Britain says "no" the next day.
25 October – Spain closes its Gibraltar border against vehicular traffic.
5 November – Thirty-eight African states demand that the United Kingdom use force against Rhodesian government.
9 November – The Rootes Group launches the Hillman Hunter, a four-door family saloon to compete with the Austin 1800, Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Victor.
15 November – Harry Roberts is arrested near London and charged with the murder of three policemen in August.
16 November – The BBC television drama Cathy Come Home, filmed in a docudrama style, is broadcast on BBC1. Viewed by a quarter of the British population, it is considered influential on public attitudes to homelessness and the related social issues it deals with.
24 November – Unemployment sees another short rise, now standing at 531,585.
30 November – Barbados achieves independence.
1 December – Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Rhodesian Prime minister Ian Smith negotiate on HMS Tiger in the Mediterranean.
12 December – Harry Roberts, John Whitney and John Duddy are sentenced to life imprisonment (each with a recommended minimum of thirty years) for the murder of three West London policemen in August.
20 December – Harold Wilson withdraws all his previous offers to Rhodesian government and announces that he agrees to independence only after the founding of black majority government.
22 December – Rhodesian Prime minister Ian Smith declares that he considers that Rhodesia is already a republic.
31 December – Thieves steal millions of pounds worth of paintings from Dulwich Art Gallery in London.
Centre Point, a 32-floor office building at St Giles Circus in London, designed by Richard Seifert for property speculator Harry Hyams, is completed. It remains empty for around a decade.
London School of Contemporary Dance founded.
Mathematician Michael Atiyah wins a Fields Medal.
The motorway network continues to grow as the existing M1, M4 (including the Severn Bridge on the border of England and Wales) and M6 motorways are expanded and new motorways emerge in the shape of the M32 linking the M4 with Bristol, and the M74 near Hamilton in Scotland.
Japanese manufacturer Nissan begins importing its range of Datsun branded cars to the United Kingdom.
The 1966 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 16 July 1966. It was the fourth round of the 1966 World Championship. It was the 21st British Grand Prix and the second to be held at Brands Hatch. It was held over 80 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a race distance of 341 kilometres.
The race, the first of the new three-litre engine regulation era where starters reached 20 cars,
was won for the third time by Australian driver Jack Brabham in his Brabham BT19, his second win in succession after winning the French Grand Prix two weeks earlier. New Zealand driver Denny Hulme finished second in his Brabham BT20, a first 1–2 win for the Brabham team. The pair finished a lap ahead of third placed British driver Graham Hill in his BRM P261. Brabham’s win ended a streak of 4 consecutive wins by Jim Clark at the British Grand Prix. Brabham’s win put him ten points clear in the championship chase over Austrian Cooper racer Jochen Rindt with Hulme and Ferrari’s Lorenzo Bandini a point further back.
1965–66 in English football
7 October 1965: An experiment to broadcast a live game to another ground takes place. Cardiff City play Coventry City and the match is broadcast to a crowd of 10,000 at Coventry’s ground Highfield Road.
20 March 1966: The World Cup is stolen from an exhibition at Central Hall, Westminster, where it was on show in the run-up to this summer’s World Cup in England.
27 March 1966: The World Cup is recovered by Pickles, a mongrel dog, in South London.
16 April 1966: Liverpool seal the First Division title for the seventh time in their history with a 2–0 home win over Stoke City.
14 May 1966: Everton win the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the final at Wembley Stadium, despite going 2–0 down in the 57th minute.
11 July 1966: England, as the host nation, begin their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Uruguay at Wembley Stadium.
16 July 1966: England’s World Cup campaign continues with a 2–0 win over Mexico (goals coming from Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt) that moves them closes to qualifying for the next
stage of the competition.
20 July 1966: England qualify for the next stage of the World Cup with a 2–0 win over France in their final group game. Roger Hunt scores both of England’s goals.
23 July 1966: England beat Argentina 1–0 in the World Cup quarter-final thanks to a goal by Geoff Hurst.
26 July 1966: England reach the World Cup final by beating Portugal 2–1 in the semi-final.
Bobby Charlton scores both of England’s goals.
30 July 1966: England win the World Cup with a 4–2 win over West Germany in extra time.
Geoff Hurst scores a hat-trick, with Martin Peters scoring the other goal.
First Division Liverpool
Second Division Manchester City
Third Division Hull City
Fourth Division Doncaster Rovers
FA Cup Everton
League Cup West Bromwich Albion
Charity Shield Manchester United and Liverpool (shared)
Home Championship England