A Nostalgia Trip through 1980s Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

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The UK in 1982

The events of 1982 were dominated by the Falklands Conflict between the UK and Argentina. Argentina invaded on the 2nd April leading to a British Task Force setting sail to reclaim the Islands. 

The Football World Cup in Spain was the biggest sports event of the year and Prince William was born.

falklands conflict 1982
Falklands Conflict 1982

January 1982

1st: ITV launches three regional TV stations – Central, TV South and TV South West, replacing ATV Midlands, Southern Television and Westward Television respectively.

2nd: The Welsh Army of Workers claims responsibility for a bomb explosion at the Birmingham headquarters of Severn Trent Water.

10th: The lowest ever UK temperature of -27.2 degrees celsius is recorded at Braemar, in Aberdeenshire. This equals the record set in the same place in 1895, and the record will be equalled again at Altnaharra in 1995.

11th: Mark Thatcher, son of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, disappears in the Sahara during Paris-Dakar rally.

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14th: Mark Thatcher is found safe and well in the Sahara Desert, six days after going missing.

21st: Miners vote against strike action and accept the National Coal Board offer of a 9.3% pay rise.

26th: Unemployment in the United Kingdom is recorded at over 3,000,000 people for the first time since the 1930s.

February 1982

5th: Laker Airways collapses, leaving 6,000 passengers stranded, with debts of £270,000,000.

6th: The Queen celebrates her Pearl Jubilee.

12th: Opening of the first Next clothing store. It specialises in women’s clothing.

19th: The DeLorean car factory (famous for producing the car in the movie Back to the Future) in Belfast is put into receivership.

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23rd: The Glasgow-registered coal ship, St. Bedan is bombed and sunk by an IRA unit driving a hijacked pilot boat in Lough Foyle.

25th: The European Court of Justice rules that schools in Britain cannot allow corporal punishment against the wishes of parents.

27th: The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company gives its last performance at the end of a final London season, having been in near-continuous existence since 1875.

March 1982

3rd: The Queen opens the Barbican Centre, a performing arts venue in the City of London.

12th: Closure of Queen Street Mill, Burnley, the last steam driven weaving shed to work commercially.

13th: Liverpool win the League Cup final defeating Tottenham 3-1 at Wembley.

18th: A legal case brought by Mary Whitehouse against the National Theatre concerning alleged obscenity in the play The Romans in Britain ends after the Attorney General intervenes.

An Argentine scrap metal dealer raises the Argentine flag in South Georgia, Falkland Islands – a British overseas colony.

19th: Argentines land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war.

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20th: Ireland lose to France but still win the Rugby Union 5 Nations Championship.

25th: Roy Jenkins wins the Hillhead by-election in Glasgow for the Social Democratic Party, whose dream of an electoral breakthrough looks strong as they still head most of the opinion polls.

29th: Royal assent in London to the Canada Act 1982 sets the stage for the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.

April 1982

1st: A twelve-year-old unnamed Birmingham boy becomes one of the youngest people in England and Wales to be convicted of murder after he admits murdering an eight-year-old boy, and is sentenced to be detained indefinitely.

2nd: Falklands War begins as Argentina invades the Falkland Islands.

4th: The British Falkland Islands government surrenders, placing the islands in Argentine control.

5th: Falklands War: Royal Navy task force sets sail to the Falklands from Portsmouth.

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7th: Britain declares a 200-mile “exclusion zone” around the Falklands.

17th: By proclamation of the Queen of Canada on Parliament Hill, Canada repatriates it’s constitution, granting full political independence from the United Kingdom; included is the country’s first entrenched bill of rights.

24th: Eurovision Song Contest is held in Harrogate, Yorkshire where it was won by Germany.

The first British serviceman dies in the Falklands conflict, when his Sea King helicopter crashes.

25th: Falklands War: Royal Marines recapture South Georgia.

29th: Daniel and Christopher Smith, Britain’s first test tube twins are born to parents Josephine and Stewart, at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

30th: The Conservatives have returned to the top of the opinion polls for the first time since late-1979, with the latest MORI poll showing that they have 43% of the vote, ahead of the SDP-Liberal Alliance.

May 1982

1st: Falklands War: Operation Black Buck – a Royal Air Force Vulcan bomber takes off from Ascension Island and bombs Port Stanley Airport.

2nd: Falklands War: the nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror sinks the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano.

4th: Falklands War: the Type 42 Destroyer, HMS Sheffield, is badly damaged by an Exocet missile. It sinks on 10 May.

15th: Liverpool win the the football league title for the 13th time.

19th: Hull beat Widnes 18-9 to win the Rugby League Challenge Cup.

21st: Falklands War: Royal Marines and paratroopers from the British Task Force land at San Carlos Bay on the Falkland Islands and raise the Union Jack.

The Haçienda nightclub opens in Manchester.

22nd: FA Cup holders Tottenham Hotspur draw 1-1 with Queen’s Park Rangers in the Wembley final, forcing a replay. Tottenham are without their Argentine players Ossie Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, who have been temporarily removed from the team following barracking from rival countries over their home country’s involvement in the war with Britain.

23rd: Falklands War: HMS Antelope of the Royal Navy explodes.

26th: Official opening of Kielder Water, a reservoir in Northumberland. It is the largest artificial lake in the UK by capacity (200 billion litres) and is surrounded by Kielder Forest; the largest planted woodland in Europe.

27th: Tim Smith (Conservative) wins the Beaconsfield By-Election.

Tottenham Hotspur win the FA Cup beating Queens Park Rangers 1-0 in a replay. A sixth-minute penalty from Glenn Hoddle is the only goal of the game and equals Aston Villa’s record of seven FA Cup triumphs.

28th: Pope John Paul II’s visit to the United Kingdom, the first by a reigning pope, begins at Gatwick Airport; he later meets the Queen in London.

Falklands War: Battle of Goose Green commences, the first land battle of the war. Lieutenant-Colonel H. Jones is killed in an action for which he is awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. British troops reach Darwin, Falkland Islands.

29th: Pope John Paul II’s visit to the UK. Pope John Paul II visits Canterbury, the first time a pontiff has done so.

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Falklands War: Battle of Goose Green concludes when British paratroopers defeat a larger force of Argentine troops.

31st: Falklands War: the Battle of Stanley is fought.

June 1982

3rd: Attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov, outside the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Angela Rumbold wins the Mitcham and Morden by-election, gaining the seat for the Conservatives.

8th: U.S. President Ronald Reagan becomes the first American chief executive to address a joint session of Parliament.

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Falklands War: 48 British servicemen are killed when two supply ships are bombed by Argentine air strikes off Bluff Cove.

9th: Twenty pence coin first issued into circulation.

13th: The 1982 FIFA World Cup begins in Spain. The UK are represented by England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

14th: Falklands War ends as British forces reach the outskirts of Stanley after “yomping” across East Falkland from San Carlos Bay. They arrive to find the Argentine forces flying white flags of surrender. The formal Argentine surrender in the Falklands War is signed this evening.

16th: Welsh miners go on strike to support health workers demanding a 12% pay rise.

19th: The body of “God’s Banker”, Roberto Calvi, chairman of Banco Ambrosiano, is found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.

21st: Prince William, the first child of The Prince and Princess of Wales is born at St Mary’s Hospital, London (Paddington), the first birth in direct line of succession to the British throne to take place in a hospital.

23rd: Support for the Conservative government continues to rise, mainly due to the success of the Falklands campaign, with an MORI opinion poll showing that they have a 51% approval rating.

25th: Northern Ireland defeat hosts Spain 1–0 in the World Cup, later being knocked out in the quarter finals.

July 1982

2nd: Roy Jenkins is elected as Leader of the SDP.

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3rd: Martina Navratilova beats Chris Evert to win Wimbledon.

4th: Jimmy Connors beats John McEnroe in 5 sets to win the Men’s singles at Wimbledon.

5th: England draw 0–0 with hosts Spain and are eliminated from the World Cup in the second group stage. Ron Greenwood retires as England manager after five years and is succeeded by Ipswich Town manager Bobby Robson.

9th: Michael Fagan breaks into Buckingham Palace and spends ten minutes talking to the Queen until he is apprehended.

20th: Hyde Park and Regents Park bombings: the Provisional IRA detonates two bombs in Central London, killing eight soldiers, wounding 47 people, and leading to the deaths of seven horses.

21st: HMS Hermes, the Royal Navy flagship during the Falklands War, returns home to Portsmouth to a hero’s welcome.

22nd: Production of the Ford Cortina ends after twenty year. The Cortina’s successor, the Sierra, will be built at Dagenham and in Belgium

Exclusion zone around the Falklands is lifted.

Margaret Thatcher rejects calls in parliament for a return of the death penalty for terrorist murder.

August 1982

1st: The government creates Britoil as the privatised successor to the British National Oil Corporation.

29th: 65-year-old American Ashby Harper becomes the oldest person to swim the English Channel.

30th: St David’s Hall opens in Cardiff as the National Concert Hall and Conference Centre of Wales.

September 1982

22nd: An estimated 14% of the workforce is now reported to be unemployed.

23rd: Nigel Lawson announces that no industry should remain in state ownership unless there is an “overwhelming” case.

30th: Lord Denning delivers his last judgement as Master of the Rolls.

October 1982

8th: With the economy now climbing out of recession after more than two years, Margaret Thatcher vows to stick to her economic policies, and blames previous governments for the decline that she inherited when entering power more than three years ago.

11th: The Mary Rose, flagship of Henry VIII of England that sank in 1545, is raised from the Solent.

12th: A victory parade is held in London to mark the end of the Falklands war.

21st: Sinn Féin win their first seats on the Northern Ireland Assembly, with Gerry Adams winning the Belfast West seat.

27th: Three RUC officers killed by an IRA bomb near Lurgan in Northern Ireland.

November 1982

1st: The Welsh language television station, S4C, launches in Wales.

Opinion polls show the Conservatives still firmly in the lead, suggesting that a general election will be held by next summer.

2nd: The fourth terrestrial television channel, Channel 4, begins broadcasting, the first programme broadcast being the game show Countdown, hosted by Richard Whiteley. Another flagship programme is the Liverpool-based soap opera Brookside.

7th: The Thames Barrier is first publicly demonstrated.

12th: Express Lift Tower in Northampton officially opened.

15th: Unemployment remains in excess of 3,000,000 people – 13.8% of the workforce.

28th: Opinion polls show the Conservative government with an approval rating of up to 44% and well on course for a second successive electoral victory, 13 points ahead of Labour. Support for the Alliance has halved in the space of a year.

December 1982

3rd: UK release of the film Gandhi. This will win eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Attenborough) and Best Actor (Ben Kingsley) four months later.

UK release of the film animation The Plague Dogs based on the novel of the same name by Richard Adams; the film is controversial as it contains some violence.

6th: Droppin Well bombing: The Irish National Liberation Army kills seventeen people in a bomb attack at the Droppin Well Inn, Ballykelly, County Londonderry.

12th: Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp: 30,000 women hold hands and form a human chain around the 9 mile (14.5km) perimeter fence.

15th: The British colony of Gibraltar gains a pedestrian link to Spain, as the gates which separated the two states are re-opened by the Spanish government after thirteen years.

23rd: More than 1,200 jobs are lost in the West Midlands when the Round Oak Steelworks closes after 125 years.

Radio Times Christmas Cover 1982

Christmas/New Year 1982

The Christmas Number one was “Save your Love” by Renee and Renato.

TV Times Christmas Cover 1982

Your Memories?

What are your memories of 1982? Share them in the Comments section below.

1 thought on “1982 in the UK”

  1. I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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1 thought on “1982 in the UK”

  1. I haven’t checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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