The end of the First World War, women getting the vote and the donation of Stonehenge to the nation are amongst the top ten historical anniversaries in 2018, according to English Heritage.
The charity – which cares for over 400 of England’s most significant historical sites – has selected the most important anniversaries of events and moments that changed both England and the world forever. The list includes significant twentieth century dates such as the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948 and stretches back to the start of Captain Cook’s first Pacific voyage in 1768.
In a year when we will all commemorate the end of the First World War and the Representation of the People Act - which granted the first voting rights to a select group of women - English Heritage will also be leading the celebrations for a special centenary at Stonehenge. On 26 October 1918, local landowners Cecil and Mary Chubb gifted the monument to the nation. Their act of generosity meant that the world’s most famous prehistoric monument now belonged to everyone and marked a turning point in the way the ancient stones were looked after, kick-starting a process of care and conservation which continues to this day.
To celebrate the anniversary English Heritage – which cares for Stonehenge on behalf of the nation - will be hosting a programme of special events and exhibitions, starting in March with an experimental archaeology project recreating how our pre-historic ancestors moved and raised the enormous stones. Later in the year, in a special collaboration with the British Museum, a new exhibition featuring beautiful Neolithic and Bronze Age objects will highlight the exquisite craftsmanship of the period and the connections Stonehenge shared across Britain and Europe.
Anna Eavis, English Heritage’s Curatorial Director, said: “This year is an incredibly rich one for anniversaries. 100 years ago women got the right to vote and 70 years ago the NHS was established - both events dramatically changed the lives of our ancestors and continue to have an impact today.
“This year is also an important centenary for Stonehenge. Looking at the ancient stones today, it is easy to assume that their future was always secure but at the beginning of the 20th century, that was far from the case – our most important pre-historic monument was at risk of collapse. 2018 marks a hundred years of Stonehenge belonging to us all and the monument getting the care it deserves.”
English Heritage’s top ten anniversaries for 2018 are:
• 10 years since Barack Obama was elected as the first black president of the USA – 4 November 2008
• 70 years since the National Health Service (NHS) was established – 5 July 1948
• 70 years since the arrival at Tilbury of the first wave of post-war Caribbean immigrants onboard the Empire Windrush – 22 June 1948
• 90 years since scientist Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin – 3 September 1928
• 100 years since The Representation of the People Act was passed, enabling some women to vote for the first time – 6 February 1918
• 100 years since Stonehenge was given to the nation – 26 October 1918
• 100 years since the end of the First World War – 11 November 1918
• 150 years since the world’s first traffic lights were installed – 10 December 1868
• 200 years since the publication of Frankenstein – 1 January 1818
• 250 years since Captain James Cook departs Plymouth on his first voyage of discovery to the Pacific - 8 August 1768