In a year where the average price of a house was $23,600 and a gallon of petrol cost just 0.36 cents, there were a lot of events that happened in 1970 that shaped everyday life. From the first Boeing 747 commercial flight to London, the disbandment of The Beatles and the Apollo 13 space mission, these 1970 events are ones to never forget.
Our collection of 1970 newspapers allows you to see the accounts of these events, when they first happened and how they were reported.
Turn the page to:
- Apollo 13 Launches
- The Beatles Split Up
- British Aircraft Crashes in Barcelona
January 1: The UK lowers age of majority from 21 to 18.
January 1: In Great Britain the half-crown coin is no longer accepted as legal tender.
January 7: Max Yasgur is sued for damages worth $35,000 caused by Woodstock.
January 9: Larry Fine, of The Three Stooges, suffers a career ending stroke.
January 11: Against the odds, the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl IV, beating the Minnesota Vikings 23–7.
January 14: Diana Ross and the Supremes perform their last concert in Las Vegas.
January 16: Muammar Gaddafi takes over rule of Libya.
January 22: Boeing 747 makes its first commercial passenger trip to London. It carried 332 passengers and 18 crew members.
January 23: The US performs a nuclear test at a Nevada Test Site.
January 26: Mick Jagger is fined £200 for possession of cannabis.
Pan American World Airways Boeing 747
Image: Wikimedia Commons
February 1: The American Football League officially merges with the National Football League.
February 2: Pete Maravich of Louisiana State becomes the first player to score 3,000 college basketball points.
February 10: A powder snow avalanche moves at 120mph into a youth hostel in France, killing 40 youths.
February 11: Japan becomes the fourth nation to put a satellite in orbit.
February 13: A man-eating tiger is reported to have killed 48 people, just 80km from New Delhi, India.
February 17: In Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Jeffrey R. MacDonald kills his pregnant wife and two daughters.
February 18: The Chicago Seven are found not guilty of conspiring to incite a riot, though five of them are found guilty of crossing state lines to incite a riot. Vietnam War protests continue through 1970 events.
February 19: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, joins the Royal Navy.
February 28: Bicycles are now permitted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
February 21: American Bandstand introduces a new act, the Jackson 5.
March 1: Charles Manson releases his album Lie.
March 4: French submarine Eurydice (S644) explodes while making a practice dive in the Mediterranean, all 57 men aboard die.
March 6: The Beatles release Let It Be in the UK.
March 6: The importation of pets was banned after an outbreak of Rabies in Newmarket, Suffolk.
March 12: The US lowers its voting age to 18 from 21.
March 16: The New English Bible is published.
March 18: United States Post Office workers strike for two weeks.
March 23: £370,000 was awarded to 18 victims of thalidomide.
March 25: Concorde makes its first supersonic flight at 700mph.
March 31: Japanese Red Army members hijack Japan Airlines Flight 351.
April 1: President Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law.
April 3: An English woman, Miriam Hargrave, passes her driving test on her 40th attempt.
April 7: Midnight Cowboy is awarded Best Picture at the 42nd Academy Awards.
April 10: Paul McCartney announces he was leaving The Beatles. Let It Be was to be their final album.
April 11: Apollo 13 mission launches at 2:13pm.
April 13: Apollo 13 announces “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here” as an oxygen tank explodes whilst they are on the way to the Moon.
April 22: The first Earth Day is celebrated, founded by Gaylord Nelson.
April 26: The current First Lady, Melania Trump, is born.
April 29: Chelsea defeat Leeds United 2-1 in the FA Cup final replay at Old Trafford.
April 29: The Vietnam War spreads as U.S. troops invades Cambodia.
Apollo 13 Astronauts on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima
May 2: Diane Crump becomes the first woman jockey to race at the Kentucky Derby.
May 4: The Ohio National Guard opened fire on students protesting the Vietnam War at Kent State University in Ohio. 4 students died and 9 others were injured.
May 6: Yuchiro Miura, from Japan, skis down Mount Everest.
May 9: 100,000 people in Washington, D.C. demonstrate against the Vietnam War.
May 20: 2 are killed and 70 injured after 2 subway trains crash in Queens, New York.
May 23: Grateful Dead perform their first gig in the UK.
May 24: Drilling of the Kola Superdeep Borehole begins in the USSR.
May 28: England captain, Bobby Moore, is arrested and released on bail in Colombia on suspicion of stealing a bracelet.
May 31: The 1970 FIFA World Cup begins in Mexico.
June 4: Libby Childress wins the US’ 43rd National Spelling Bee with the word “croissant.”
June 4: Tonga becomes independent from the UK.
June 7: The Who’s Tommy is performed at the Lincoln Center in New York.
June 9: Musician Bob Dylan is given an honorary Doctorate of Music at Princeton University.
June 13: Let It Be, The Beatles album, goes Number 1 and stays there for 4 weeks.
June 15: 15 Russian dissidents try to escape from the Soviet Union by hijacking a plane.
June 18: The Conservative Party wins the general election, making Edward Heath the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
June 17: Edwin Land patents the Polaroid camera.
June 21: Brazil becomes the first team to win World Cup 3 times.
June 22: The Methodist Church allows women to become full ministers for the first time.
July 3: 200,000 attend Atlanta Pop Festival.
July 3: A British aircraft crashes in Barcelona, killing 112 people.
July 4: Honour America Day is celebrated in Washington, D.C.
July 4: In an all-Australian Wimbledon final, John Newcombe beats Ken Rosewall.
July 15: Denmark wins 2-0 against Italy in the first World Female Football Championship.
July 16: A state of emergency was declared to deal with the dockers’ strike. It was settled on 30th July.
July 18: Willie Mays becomes the 10th Baseball player to get 3,000 hits.
July 21: The Aswan High Dam, across the Nile is completed in Egypt.
July 25: After nine days of events the British Commonwealth Games end in Edinburgh.
July 30: 1970 events The UK docks strike is settled.
August 2: France performs a nuclear test at Fangataufa Island, an island located in the South Pacific Ocean.
August 4: Jim Morrison is arrested for drunkenness at a Florida State University football game.
August 7: Christine Perfect joins Fleetwood Mac.
August 17: Venera 7 spacecraft is launched toward Venus to become the first spacecraft to transmit data from another planet.
August 24: The University of Wisconsin’s Army Math Research Centre in Madison is bombed, killing one person.
August 25: Elton John performs in the US for the first time.
August 28: “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5 is released. It later became the Billboard Song of the Year 1970.
August 30: The Rolling Stones open their European tour performing in Malmö, Sweden.
August 31: The third ever Isle of Wight Festival attracts over 600,000 people to see Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors and Joan Baez.
Image: Ultimate Classic Rock
September 3: After playing a National League record 1,117 Major League Baseball games, Chicago Cubs player Billy Williams asks to sit out.
September 4: 29.0 cm of rainfall is recorded in Workman Creek, Arizona.
September 5: Jochen Rindt is killed qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix.
September 7: Donald Boyles jumps from the Royal George Bridge in Colorado, setting the record for highest parachute jump from a bridge (1,053 feet – 321m).
September 8: Plane hijacking begins and is known as Black September. Three airliners are hijacked and blown up by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
September 9: Elvis Presley begins his concert tour; his first one since 1958.
September 11: The Ford Pinto is introduced. More than 2.2 million go on to sell.
September 18: Jimi Hendrix is found dead in Kensington, London after an overdose.
September 19: The first Glastonbury Festival is held in England.
September 22: Richard Nixon, US President, orders 1,000 new FBI agents for an armed presence at college campuses in the wake of several anti-Vietnam war protests.
October 1: 63 are arrested in a riot to buy Rolling Stones tickets in Milan, Italy.
October 2: 14 members of Wichita State University Football team and 17 supporters and administrators are killed in a plane crash in the Rocky Mountains.
October 4: Singer Janis Joplin dies from a drugs overdose, aged 27.
October 5: PBS becomes a US television network.
October 10: Fiji gains independence from Great Britain.
October 16: The Canadian government outlaws the Quebec Liberation Front.
October 20: Zond 8 is launched. The mission was a Moon orbit and return.
October 25: The wreck of the first submarine in history to sink a ship in warfare, the Hunley, is found in South Carolina.
October 26: The comic strip Doonesbury debuts in 28 newspapers.
October 30: Jim Morrison is found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity during a concert in March 1969.
November 4: A 13 year old girl, Genie, is found in Los Angeles having been locked in a bedroom by her father for most of her life.
November 4: The United States gives control of the Mekong Delta air base to South Vietnam.
November 8: Tom Dempsey sets an NFL record by kicking a 63-yard field goal.
November 12: Scientists perform the first artificial synthesis of a live cell.
November 12: Cyclone Bhola kills up to 500,000 people in East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. This makes it the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded.
November 17: Russia lands an unmanned remote-controlled vehicle, Lunokhod 1, on the moon.
November 20: In the UK, the ten-shilling note ceases to be legal tender.
November 20: The Miss World 1970 beauty pageant in London is disrupted by Women’s Liberation protesters.
November 27: The first march of the Gay Liberation Front takes place in London.
November 27: Pope Paul VI is wounded in the chest during a visit to the Philippines by a Bolivian painter dressed as a priest.
Image by Weather
December 4: Unemployment in the US increases to 5.8%.
December 12: The Doors decide not to play live anymore due to Morrisons unpredictable persona on stage.
December 16: Love Story, the highest grossing film of 1970, is released in the US.
December 21: Elvis Presley and US President Richard Nixon meet in the White House. The image of the meeting becomes the most requested image from the entire National Archives.
December 23: The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie is performed for the 7,511th time.
December 23: One of the key events in 1970; the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City is completed. At 1,368 feet (417 m) it is the tallest building in the world.
December 24: Walt Disney’s Aristocats is released.
December 29: U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law.
December 31: Congress issues a dollar coin featuring Eisenhower.
December 31: Paul McCartney files a lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles.
Apollo 13 Launches
The Apollo 13 mission to the Moon is perhaps the most famous space missions of all – the infamous line “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here” came from this mission.
This was to be the third mission to the Moon, carrying three astronauts James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise. It launched at 2:13pm on 11th April 1970. At around 10:07pm, the second oxygen tank exploded, causing issues with other oxygen tanks. This is when the crew contacted CapCom with the famous line “Houston, we’ve had a problem”.
After careful calculations to change their trajectory, on 17th April there was a successful splashdown landing in the Pacific Ocean near Samoa, and all the crew survived.
The Beatles Split Up
This could be argued as one of the key events in 1970 – after 10 years as a group, Paul McCartney officially left the band on 10th April 1970. This came after the release of their final album in the same year, Let It Be. The album would be number 1 for 4 weeks.
Paul McCartney officially filed a lawsuit for the dissolution of The Beatles’ partnership on 31st December. It would not be formalized until 29th December 1974 – where John Lennon signed the paperwork whilst on holiday with his family in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
British Aircraft Crashes in Barcelona
On the 3rd July 1970, Dan-Air Flight 1903 crashed into the wooded slopes of Serralada del Montseny. The flight departed Manchester at 16:08, and encountered air traffic control delays over Paris, which resulted in a change of route. Radio contact was established between the pilot and Barcelona Area Control Centre (ACC) at 17:53, at which point ACC gave clearance for the aircraft to descend from 22,000 feet to 9,000 feet. After 6 minutes, the flight was handed over to Barcelone ATC (approach control) and told the crew that runway 25 was in use at Barcelona Airport, and to overfly the Sabadell non-directional beacon and descend a further 6,000 feet. This manoeuvre involved turning left of approximately 140 degrees to line up with the centreline of runway 25.
Whilst completing the left turn, the crew wrongly reported that they had passed the Sabadell NBD, when in actual fact they were still 28 nautical miles north of the Sabadell at the time. According to ATC, another aircraft flew over the Sabadell at the same time, and so the ATC mistook that aircraft’s echo for that of the Dan-Air and so the handler did not notice the error in navigation. The Dan-Air crew continued to descend to 2,800 feet. At approximately 18:05 local time, the aircraft crashed into a group of beech trees in the north-east slopes of Les Agudes, at an altitude of 3,800 feet. At the time of the crash, visibility was good below. The impact caused an explosion which instantly killed all 112 people on board. After locating the crash site, the Spanish authorities insisted on immediate burial of the bodies due to public health reasons.
This crash was the deadliest aviation accident in 1970, and remains the highest death toll involving the De Havilland Comet in the world.
Thalidomide is a medication used to treat numerous cancers, and a number of skin conditions including complications of leprosy. If used in pregnancy it may harm the baby, including resulting in malformation of the limbs. In the late 1950s and early 1960s more than 10,000 children in 46 countries were born with deformities as a consequence of using thalidomide. The severity, and even the location, of the deformities depended on how many days into the pregnant was before treatment. If taken on the 20th day of pregnancy, it caused brain damage, day 21 would damage the eyes, the ears and face would be affected at day 22, and day 24 the arms and legs would be damaged if taken up to day 28. Thalidomide would not damage the fetus if taken after 42 days of gestation. In the UK, the drug was licensed in 1958 until 1961, when it was withdrawn. Of around 2,000 babies born with defects, around half died within a few months and 466 survived to at least 2010.