1. 1650
  2. 1700
  3. 1750
  4. 1800
  5. 1850
  6. 1900
  7. 1950
  8. 2000

The Oxford Gazette first published

7 November 1665

ISSUE 1

Published in Oxford, where the royal court had moved to escape the great plague, which was wreaking havoc in the capital. Being afraid to handle newspapers for fear of infection, yet unwilling to do without one, Charles II ordered a newspaper to be printed at the University Press. It was published on Mondays and Thursdays and posted to subscribers.

Samuel Pepys, diarist, described the two-column newspaper as ‘very pretty, full of newes, and no folly in it’. 

The London Gazette first published

1 February 1666

ISSUE 24

With the plague abating in the capital, and Charles II and his court back in London, The London Gazette is born, as issue 24. It became the only published newspaper, all others being suppressed.

‘This day his Majesty, with his Royal Highness, arrived in perfect health from Hampton-Court, at His Palace at White-Hall, to the infinite Joy of this City, which they endeavoured to manifest, by Bells and Bonfires, and such other expressions of publick rejoicing… for the return of a Blessing they had to long wished for’ 

Image: Interfoto/Sammlung Rauch/Mary Evans

The Great Fire of London

3 September 1666

ISSUE 85

Published in the Savoy, after The London Gazette's printing premises at Baynard's Castle are destroyed by a ‘sad and deplorable Fire in Pudding-lane’ that results in a missed issue.

The Gazette gives a ‘short and true’ account of the catastrophic event that followed a long, hot summer and lasted for nearly 5 days. About 100,000 people were made homeless.

Mount Etna erupts

12 July 1669

ISSUE 382

Mount Etna's most destructive eruption since 122 BC started in March 1669. Catania and several surrounding villages fell victim to the extensive lava flows.

'From Sicily we are assured, that the Fiery Torrent from Mount Etna is wholly extinguished, having first ruined many houses near the walls of the City of Catania, but in recompense has out of the vast Quantities of its Congealed matter formed them a convenient Port over against the Castle, in which the waters are 70 foot deep, able to contain many ships.'

Declaration of Indulgence

4 April 1687

ISSUE 2231

King James II suspended religious penal laws and granted toleration to Christian denominations, Catholic and Protestant.

‘In the first place we do Declare that we will protect and maintain our Archbishops, Bishops, and Clergy, and all other our Subjects of the Church of England, in the free Exercise of their Religion, as by law Established, and in the quiet and full Enjoyment of all their Possessions, without any Molestation or Disturbance whatsoever.’

The Glorious Revolution

5 November 1688

ISSUE 2396

Public anxieties were raised by the issue of royal succession and widespread fear of Catholicism. 

The overthrow of King James II, and the accession of his daughter, Mary II, and her husband, William III, Prince of Orange and stadtholder of the Netherlands, on the invitation of parliament, had far-reaching consequences, including limitations on royal authority and the growth of financial institutions.

The Bank of England founded

7 June 1694

ISSUE 2982

Founded to act as the government's banker and debt manager, and to raise funds while at war with France. The Gazette published approval by Queen Mary II:

‘It is this day Ordered by Her Majesty in Council that the Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury do prepare an Advertisement to be inserted in the next Mondays Gazette to give Notice, That the Commission and Draft of a Charter for the Corporation of the Bank of England, is Approved and Signed by Her Majesty in Order to pass the Great Seal of England.’

The Edinburgh Gazette first published

20 October 1699

ISSUE 1 (first digitised ISSUE 367,1796)

Following the relaxation of publishing laws that allowed presses to be established outside London, The Edinburgh Gazette was first published in 1699. After starting and stopping several times in its first 100 years, it has been continuously running since 1793.

Acts of Union

19 January 1707

ISSUE 4403 (19 Jan), ISSUE 4341 (16 June), ISSUE 4328 (1 May)

The acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate states with separate legislatures with the same monarch) into a single, united Great Britain.

‘We Your Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, being well satisfied of the great Advantages which the Union of The Kingdoms of England and Scotland, lately by Your Majesty’s great Wisdom accomplished, will conduce to the Security of the Protestant Religion, the Establishment and Preservation of the Laws and Liberties of all Your Majesty’s Dominions, and the succession of the Crown in the Protestant Line.’

Insolvency notices first published in The Gazette

5 June 1712

ISSUE 5014

Queen Anne’s Act to Relieve Insolvent Debtors in 1712 stated that debtors may be consigned to prison for small sums, though could discharge a portion of their liabilities. One clause required the publication of insolvency notices in The Gazette. Insertions flooded in.

Proclamation of the Suppression of Piracy

14 September 1717

ISSUE 5573

In response to the Atlantic pirate threat, and in an effort to stop the rise of pirates, The Gazette was one of the first newspapers to publish the full text of the Proclamation of the Suppression of Piracy in 1717, which granted a full pardon to pirates who would voluntarily surrender themselves to the proper authorities. 

See also: Atlantic piracy in the 18th century

Britain's first prime minister is appointed

1 April 1721

ISSUE 5943

Robert Walpole is considered to be Britain’s first prime minister, with his appointments published in The Gazette in April, 1721:

'His Majesty has been pleased to appoint the Right Honourable Robert Walpole, Esq; to be Chancellor and Under-Treasurer or His Majesty's Exchequer.’ 

See also: Robert Walpole, Britain's first PM

The Black Act, 1723

8 October 1723

ISSUE 6206

An act passed in 1723 by Parliament which made poaching in disguise punishable by death, 'for the more effectual punishing wicked and evil disposed Persons going armed in Disguise and doing Injuries and Violence to the Persons and Properties of His Majesty's Subject'. The act was not repealed for a century.

Sir Isaac Newton buried at Westminster Abbey

1 April 1727

ISSUE 6569

Born in 1643, physicist and mathematician Newton discovered the laws of gravity and motion, and invented calculus. He was instrumental in the scientific revolution of the 17th century.

‘On the 28th past the Corpse of Sir Isaac Newton lay in State in the Jerusalem Chamber, and was buried from thence in Westminster-Abbey near the Entry into the Choir’. 

Newton published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687, and an advertisement of the third edition appeared in The Gazette in 1726 (issue 6465).

Battle of Culloden

16 April 1746

ISSUE 8531

The Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil.

‘This Afternoon a Messenger arrived from the Duke of Cumberland, with the following l Particulars of the Victory obtained by his Royal Highness over the Rebels, on Wednesday the 16th Instant near Culloden.’

The Murder Act 1751

21 April 1751

ISSUE 9160 

‘An Act for better preventing the horrid Crime of MURDER’, by which ‘further Terror and peculiar Mark of Infamy be added to the Punishment of Death’.

The act mandated public dissection and hanging in chains, with no burial, and that once sentenced for murder, the prisoner should be executed ‘the next day but one’.

The Gin Act 1751

25 June 1751

ISSUE 9069

The Gin (aka Tippling or Sale of Spirits) Act 1751 was passed, to be ‘an additional Duty upon Spirituous Liquors, and upon Licences for retailing the same’. Gin drinking was seen as one of the root causes of poverty, crime and idleness.

Consumption fell (though other factors were at play, such as the falling price of beer).

Threatening letters of prominent figures published

26 July 1768

ISSUE 10854

The Gazette advertised rewards for the identification of writers of threatening letters to prominent figures. The marks on those sent to Elizabeth Percy, the Duchess of Northumberland, can be seen (editorial illustration was then rare in newspapers).

‘Your Advertisement in the Publick Paper will do you but little good, farewell Commend me to his Majesty. A Dagger May find the way to Your bowels, and you may repent when it is too late your not sending the cash for the use of your sincere friend.’

Image: Mary Evans Picture Library

The Tea Act 1773

8 May 1773

ISSUE 11351

Under the Tea Act of May 1773, the financially troubled British East India Company was granted a monopoly on all tea exported to the colonies.

In December, a group of 60 marched to Griffin’s Wharf, Boston, boarded the ships, and dumped 342 tea chests into the water in protest, in what became known as the Boston Tea Party. 

These 'dangerous Commotions and Insurrections' led to the passing of the Coercive Acts the following year (issue 11445), which took away Massachusetts' self-government and historic rights.

The Enclosure Act 1773

29 June 1773

ISSUE 11366

'An Act for the better Cultivation, Improvement, and Regulation, of the Common Arable Fields, Wastes And Commons of Pasture, in this Kingdom.'

A UK law that enabled landowners to enclose land and remove the right of commoner's access gained Royal Assent in 1773.

The first enclosure Act was passed in 1604 and concerned the enclosure of land at Radipole in Dorset. Between 1604 and 1914, over 5,200 individual Enclosure Acts (also 'Inclosure Acts') were enacted, enclosing 6.8 million acres of land. The act remains in force in the UK. 

American Declaration of Independence

6 August 1776

ISSUE 11690

The Gazette is the first European newspaper to announce American independence.

‘I am informed that the Continental Congress have declared the United Colonies free and independent States.’

The French Revolution

14 July 1789

ISSUE 13115

This issue depicts the outrage of the people outside the Bastille, when the governor gave the order to fire on them. The coverage continued to describe the extraordinary events:

‘A general Consternation prevailed throughout the Town. All the Shops were shut; all public and private Employments at a Stand, and scarcely a Person to be seen in the Streets, except the armed Burghers, who acted as a temporary Police for the Protection of private Property, to replace the established one, which had no longer any influence’

Collingwood's despatch from Trafalgar

6 November 1805

ISSUE 15858 

The Gazette celebrates Admiral Lord Nelson and the British fleet's decisive part in the Napoleonic wars. Nelson was shot by a French musketeer during the battle and died shortly after.

‘The ever to be lamented Death of Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronte, the Commander in Chief, who fell in the Action of the Twenty-first, in the Arms of Victory, covered with glory.’ 

The Regency Act is passed

23 April 1811

ISSUE 16479

George III is deemed 'mentally unfit' to rule (Care of King During his Illness, etc. Act 1811), and the law passes control of the monarchy to his son, the future King George IV.

‘But we trust, that, by taking on you a Nation's Care, demanding, as they now do, an undivided Mind, the private Griefs of Your Royal Highness must be less painfully felt.’

Restructuring of the Order of the Bath

4 January 1815

ISSUE 16972

The order was expanded after the Napoleonic Wars by the Prince Regent, to ‘allow officers who have had the opportunities of signalising themselves by eminent services during the late war may share in the honours of the said Order, and that their names may be delivered down to remote posterity, accompanied by the marks of distinction which they have so nobly earned’. Many appointments were to follow (Gazette issue 17061).

Victory at Waterloo

22 June 1815

ISSUE 17028

A Gazette Extraordinary announces victory at the Battle of Waterloo and is published, verbatim, by The Times. Commander of the Allied army, Field-Marshal Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, reports:

‘The enemy repeatedly charged our infantry with his cavalry, but these attacks were uniformly unsuccessful, and they afforded opportunities to our cavalry to charge’ 

Death of Napoleon at St Helena

7 July 1821

ISSUE 1722

After defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to St Helena, where he died in 1821. Captain Crokat arrived with this despatch:

‘St Helena, May 6, 1821. It falls to my duty to inform your Lordship, that Napoleon Bonaparte expired at about ten minutes before six o'clock in the evening of the, 5th instant, after an illness which had confined him to his apartment since the 17th of March last.’

There followed information about the autopsy, which found the cause to be stomach cancer.

Founding of the Metropolitan Police

26 June 1829

ISSUE 18588

‘An Act for improving the police in and near the metropolis.’

A full-time, professional and centrally organised police force for the Greater London area was founded on 29 September 1829 as part of a raft of reform acts under Sir Robert Peel, home secretary. 

An act for the abolition of slavery

30 August 1833

ISSUE 19080

An act for the abolition of slavery gained Royal Assent on 28 August and came into force a year later on 1 August 1834. The campaign in Britain to abolish slavery had begun in the 1760s, with William Wilberforce a leading voice of the abolition movement. The act also included a provision for the financial compensation of slaves owners by the British taxpayer.

‘An Act for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Colonies, for promoting the industry of the manumitted slaves, and for compensating, the persons hitherto entitled to the services of such slaves.’

Publication of certificates of competency for seafarers

19 August 1845

ISSUE 20498

Names of masters and mates of merchant vessels who'd achieved certificates of competency were published in The Gazette between 1845 and 1850, with requirements described:

‘They must show that they understand the use of the quadrant or sextant, and can observe the sun's meridian altitude, and there from determine the latitude, and are able to work the tides by the age of the moon, from the known time of high water at the full and change’

See also: Tracing seafarer ancestors by certification

The Patent Law Amendment Act

22 October 1852

ISSUE 21371

This act simplified procedure for obtaining patents, reduced fees and created one office for the UK. The Gazette received a crop of paid insertions, including Francis Petit Smith, inventor of the screw propeller for ships (Gazette issue 21048).

Henry Bessemer, English inventor and engineer, held at least 129 patents from 1838 to 1883. He developed the first cost-efficient process for the manufacture of steel in 1856 (Gazette issue 21654).

The Crimean War VCs

24 February 1857

ISSUE 21971

A supplement to The London Gazette is devoted to Victoria Cross citations as a result of the Crimean War, ‘on account of acts of bravery performed by them before the Enemy’.

‘Brevet-Major Hon. Henry H. Clifford. For conspicuous courage at the Battle of Inkerman, in leading a charge and killing one of the enemy with his sword, disabling another, and saving the life of a soldier.'

The Indian Rebellion

21 June 1859

ISSUE 22278

A widespread rebellion in May 1857 against the British authorities, by members of the Bengal army, with much bloodshed. The rebellion was unsuccessful, and the result was the end of East India Company rule in India and its replacement by direct British rule.

Details were published in The Gazette some time after, with 12 pages detailing the 'awful struggle'.

Capital Punishment Amendment Act 1868

2 June 1868

ISSUE 23386

The act abolished public hanging in Britain. ‘An Act to provide for carrying out capital punishment within prisons.’ The act required that all prisoners sentenced to death be executed within the walls of the prison in which they were being held, and that their bodies be buried in the prison grounds, rather than the spectacle of a public hanging.

1870 Education Act

11 February 1870

ISSUE 23586 

A bill was passed ‘for the enlargement, on a comprehensive scale, of the means of National Education.’ It was introduced on 17 February 1870.

This introduced compulsory universal education for children aged between 5 and 11, but left enforcement of attendance to school boards. A separate act extended similar provisions to Scotland in 1872.

The Ballot Act 1872: electoral reform in Britain

13 August 1872

ISSUE 23886

With electoral malpractice and intimidation rife, change was needed. The Ballot Act 1872 gave voters the right to privacy, away from the prying eyes of employers and landlords.

Death of Queen Victoria and accession of King Edward VII

22 January 1901

SUPPLEMENT 27270

Victoria had become queen at the age of 18 after the death of her uncle, William IV.

‘On Tuesday afternoon, the twenty-second of January instant, at half-past-six o'clock, our late Most Gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria expired at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, in the eighty-second year of Her reign.’

Death of King Edward VII and accession of George V

6 May 1910

SUPPLEMENT 28365

‘This event has caused one universal feeling of regret and sorrow to His late Majesty's faithful and attached subjects, to whom He was endeared by the deep interest in their welfare which He invariably manifested, as well as by the eminent and impressive virtues which illustrated and adorned His character.’

Queen Victoria memorial unveiled

16 May 1911

ISSUE 28495

Victoria died at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight on 22 January 1901, after a reign of nearly 64 years.

A report of proceedings of the unveiling of the memorial is detailed in a report from the committee in charge:

‘I pray that this monument may stand for ever in London to proclaim the glories of the reign of Queen Victoria, and to prove to future generations the sentiments of affection and reverence which Her people felt for Her and for Her memory.’

Notification of a state of war

4 August 1914

SUPPLEMENT 28861

‘His Majesty's Government have accordingly formally notified the German Government that a state of war exists between the two countries, as from 11 p.m. to-day.

Defence of the Realm Act

11 August 1914

SUPPLEMENT 28869

Unrest at home led to government fears of insubordination and disorder. The Defence of the Realm Act introduced strict social control measures and increased government power to take land. In addition certain activities were forbidden, such as flying a kite and ringing church bells.

The act was rushed through parliament and achieved Royal Assent on 11 August 1914 (Issue 28859).

First World War despatches

8 September 1914

ISSUE 28897

Despatches from military commanders are published in The Gazette, as well as Royal Warrants for two new awards introduced, to reflect the nature of the conflict; the Military Cross in December 1914 (Gazette supplement 29024) and the Military Medal in March 1916 (Gazette supplement 3647).

Representation of the People Act 1918

8 February 1918

ISSUE 30516  

After the war, reform of the electoral system led to the enfranchisement of nearly all men and, for the first time, women. The act abolished practically all property qualifications for men, and women over 30 who met minimum property and marriage qualifications could vote. Millicent Fawcett, one of the leaders of the suffrage movement, was instrumental in campaigning for this change.

The Treaty of Versailles is signed

1 July 1919

ISSUE 31427

The peace treaty that marked an end to the state of war between Germany and the ‘Big Four’ Allied powers was signed in 1919.

‘We do declare to all Our loving subjects Our Will and Pleasure that upon the exchange of the Ratifications thereof the said Treaty of Peace be observed inviolably as well by sea as by land and in all places whatsoever’

Peace Day

11 July 1919

ISSUE 31449

To celebrate the end of the war, a Bank Holiday was declared for 19 July, having been decided by a committee chaired by George Curzon, foreign secretary:

‘WE, considering that, with a view to the more wide-spread and general celebration of the Conclusion of Peace, it is desirable that Saturday, the Nineteenth day of July instant, should be observed as a Bank Holiday and as a Public Holiday throughout the United Kingdom’

Black Friday: a state of emergency

8 April 1921

SUPPLEMENT 32286

The coal miners’ strike and tensions led to a government crackdown and state of emergency:

‘And whereas the present state of public affairs and the threatened dislocation of the life of the community occasioned by the existing strike in the coal mines and its threatened extension to the railway and transport services of the country have, in Our opinion, constituted a state of great emergency within the meaning of the said Act, and We have communicated the same to Parliament’

Image: CMHRC/Raleys Solicitors

The Belfast Gazette first published

6 January 1922

ISSUE 25 (first digitised edition)

The Belfast Gazette was first published on 6 June 1921, and has been published weekly, on Fridays, ever since. The Dublin Gazette, a forerunner to The Belfast Gazette, was first published in 1706 and, since 1922, has been published under the title Iris Oifigiuil.

Image: Mary Evans picture library

The Trustee Act 1925

10 April 1925

ISSUE 33037

The Trustee Act 1925 specifies certain legal privileges for executors giving notice of deceased estates in The Gazette.

Notices of this type continue to be placed in The Gazette today. 

Birth of the future Queen Elizabeth II

21 April 1926

ISSUE 33153

A Gazette Extraordinary announces the safe arrival of a princess to the Duke and Duchess of York. The Gazette has been documenting royal births for centuries.

Image: Illustrated London News/Mary Evans

Abdication of King Edward VIII

12 December 1936

ISSUE 34349

Edward stated in his abdication speech that: ‘I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.’

Edward signed the instruments of abdication on 10 December, and this was documented shortly after in The Gazette:

‘His former Majesty King Edward the Eighth did declare His irrevocable Determination to renounce the Throne for Himself and His Descendants’

Image: Mary Evans/SZ Photo/Scherl

Accession of King George VI

1 January 1937

ISSUE 34356

‘His Majesty's Officers of Arms this day made Proclamation declaring the Accession of His Majesty King George VI.’

King George VI unexpectedly became king on the abdication of his brother. He was the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth, and had married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923.

Image: Mary Evans Picture Library/Imagno

World War 2: a state of war exists

3 September 1939

SUPPLEMENT 34665

Notification from the Privy Council Office is published in The Gazette:

'No such assurances having been received within the period stated, the German Charge d'Affaires in London has been formally notified that a state of war exists between the the two countries as from 11 o'clock a.m., 3rd September.'

WW2 sees The Gazette develop and expand, with daily publication, extensive lists of promotions and regular supplements of honours and awards.

Accession of Queen Elizabeth II

6 February 1952

SUPPLEMENT 39458

A Gazette Extraordinary issue documents the death of King George VI and accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II:

‘We… proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the Death of our late Sovereign of Happy Memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience, with hearty and humble Affection ; beseeching God, by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us.’

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

17 November 1953

SUPPLEMENT 40020 

A supplement of The London Gazette recounts the procession of the royals and the majestic coronation service.

‘HER MAJESTY, accompanied by HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH and attended by Her Royal Household, proceeded this day in State to Westminster Abbey.’

Image: Mary Evans/Epic/PVDE

England win FiFA World Cup: players honoured

30 July 1966

ISSUE 44210

On 30 July 1966, England won the world cup, beating West Germany 4-2 at Wembley. Members of the squad were decorated with Queen’s honours in the years that followed, including: Bobby Moore OBE (Gazette issue 44210); Gordon Banks OBE (Gazette issue 45117); Jack Charlton OBE (Gazette issue 46310); Martin Peters MBE (Gazette issue 47549); Bobby Charlton CBE (Gazette issue 53696); Ray Wilson MBE (Gazette issue 55710); and Nobby Stiles MBE (Gazette issue 55710).

The European Communities Act 1972

19 October 1972

ISSUE 45806

Britain joined the European Economic Community on 1 January 1973, along with Denmark and Ireland. An accession treaty, the European Communities Act 1972, gained Royal Assent in October 1972, providing for the incorporation of European Union law (originally Community law) into the domestic law of the United Kingdom.

Falklands despatch

13 December 1982

ISSUE 49194

Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse (GCB), Commander of the Task Force Operations in the South Atlantic, delivers his despatches on the Falklands Campaign:

‘The despatch describes briefly the very short period of preparation for sending Task Force 317 to the South Atlantic and, more fully, the operations from 1 April 1982 when units of the Fleet sailed south until 20 June 1982 when the last Argentine forces remaining on British Territory surrendered.’

The Human Rights Act 1998

13 November 1998

ISSUE 55310

In October 2000, the Human Rights Act came into effect in the UK, gaining Royal Assent in 1998. The act provides that the human rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights form part of UK law. 

England Rugby World Cup winners' honours

30 December 2003

SUPPLEMENT 57155

England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup victory was the culmination of a year that saw them scoop the Six Nations title, before landing the big one against arch rivals Australia. Each member of the squad was awarded an honour for services to rugby union.

Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

2 June 2012

ISSUE 60160

The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, and a special supplement of The London Gazette details the addresses given by parliament and privileged bodies.

The birth of Prince George

22 July 2013

SUPPLEMENT 60576

The London Gazette publishes the official notice of the birth of the Prince of Cambridge to Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The birth of Princess Charlotte

2 May 2015

​SUPPLEMENT 61216

The London Gazette publishes the official notice of the birth of the Princess of Cambridge to Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

European Union Referendum Act 2015

15 January 2016

ISSUE 61473

On 17 December 2015 an Act of Parliament gained Royal Assent to make legal provision for a non-binding referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave it.

The referendum took place on Thursday 23 June 2016. The electorate voted by 51.9 per cent to 48.1 per cent in favour of leaving the EU.