1959 – Year Preview

1959: Hovercraft Invented

The Boeing 707 Jet Airliner enters service. Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba, and the Dalai Lama is forced to flee Tibet. On 12th September the Soviet Union crashes the Luna 2 spacecraft into the Moon, making it the first man-made object to reach the Moon’s surface. We also see the first pictures of Earth taken from space by Explorer 6.

The chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper goes down in a snowstorm, killing all four occupants. The tragedy is later termed “The Day the Music Died,” popularised in Don McLean’s song “American Pie”.

At home, Britain grants Cyprus independence, and Direct Dial public pay phones are introduced. On 11th June the first full size hovercraft, the SR-N1 designed by Sir Christopher Cockerell, is tested for the first time in the Isle of Wight, and the first Section of the M1 Motorway from London to Birmingham Opens. The Austin Seven (Mini) is launched by the British Motor Corporation for £500. The first known human with HIV dies in Congo.

British Prime Minister: Harold Macmillan

UK Annual Inflation Rate (RPI): 0.6%

UK Average House Price (UK average): £2,170 / £51,212 adjusted for inflation (2020)

UK Litre of Petrol: no data

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