May 11: A fire at Bradford City's ground killed more than
40 fans. It happened, as with so many modern disasters, as the
television cameras were rolling.
With horrifying speed the blaze, thought to have started in
rubbish which accumulated beneath a stand, took grip and raced
across one end of the ground. Many of those who died were in the
back of the stand, unable to escape through locked turnstiles.
Those at the front were luckier, escaping on to the pitch. Pundits
dreaded what the toll might have been if the ground had been fitted
with pitchside barriers.
The Bradford disaster was too much to bear for some of the professionals
who, until then, had been expected to deal with anything. Police
officers went sick with a condition later diagnosed at post-traumatic
stress disorder, similar to the shell-shock of the world wars.
It was a terrible year for football. Only a few weeks after
the Bradford disaster, on May 29, rampaging Liverpool fans caused
the deaths of 41 Belgian and Italian fans when barriers collapsed
at the Heysel stadium in Brussels.
9. There were violent riots in the Handsworth area of Birmingham.
The autumn becomes a season of rioting in British inner-cities
with major violence in Brixton on September 28 following the shooting
of a black woman Cherry Groce by a policeman and on the Broadwater
Farm Estate in Tottenham on October 6 when a policeman is killed.
May 10. An outbreak of the deadly bug legionella in Staffordshire
results in the death of more than 30 people. The Legionnaire's
Disease lung infection was named after an outbreak at a 1976 American
Legion convention. The victims of the latest outbreak were out-patients
attending the Stafford District General Hospital. The disease
was traced to the hospital's cooling towers where the bug wasfound
to be breeding.
13. Rock and pop stars around the world combine for Live Aid,
the biggest-ever concert which is beamed around the globe and
watched by 1.5 billion people. The event, which is staged at Wembley
Stadium and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, raised a staggering 40
million to help relieve the famine in Ethiopia and other parts
of Africa. Boomtown Rats vocalist Bob Geldof, who inspired the
charity effort, becomes "Saint" Bob and is nominated for the Nobel
Peace Prize. The cream of the music industry perform including
Queen, Dire Straits, David Bowie and Mick Jagger.
September 19. Mexico City was devastated by a huge earthquake
which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. Tower blocks collapsed
like packs of cards and more than 5,000 people died. Days after
the disaster came the miraculous rescue of 58 new-born babies
found alive in the wreckage of a maternity hospital. Mexico bounces
back to host the 1986 soccer World Cup.
January 29. Oxford University refused
to award Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree because of
her education policies.
February 4. Children at a Quarry
Bank school fled to safety when a classmate detonated a
CS gas cylinder.
March 3. The year-long miners'
strike ended in Britain.
March 11. Soviet general secretary
Konstantin Chernenko died aged 73 and was succeeded by 54-year-old
May 5. President Reagan visited
the former Nazi concentration camp Belsen and the war cemetery
at Bitburg where Waffen SS men were buried to lay a wreath.
June 6. Birmingham announced plans
for a 66 million superbowl stadium as part of its ill-fated
bid for the 1992 Olympics.
June 23. An Air India jet crashed
in the Irish Sea killing all 329 people on board.
June 27. Shoppers escaped as a
500,000 blaze tore through a furniture and carpet store
July 10. The Greenpeace protest
ship Rainbow Warrior was badly damaged by two bombs in Auckland
Harbour, New Zealand.
A Boeing 737 burst into flames on the runway at Manchester
Airport - 54 people died.
October 2. Film star Rock Hudson
died from Aids at the age of 59.
November 2. Wolverhampton Council
gave contractors 14 days to clear dangerous asbestos from
the town's polytechnic.
November 15. Anglo-Irish Agreement
signed on Ulster.
November 18. Two killed and 51
injured in an horrific coach crash on the M6 near Birmingham.
The victims were ex-servicemen.