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How will history remember us? The end of a decade

How will history remember us? The end of a decade
December 17, 2019

We all remember history lessons at school, learning about the Renaissance, Joan of Arc, the Romans and the Ancient Egyptians, but how will history remember us?


At Fenetic Wellbeing, it’s a question we pondered on and, as the decade closes out, we decided to do some research to find out what future generations will learn about us across the last decade. 

First, we'll start by taking a brief look at history from the 1950’s, through to the 2000's before diving into how people will remember the last 10 years. 

From 2010 onwards, we’ve used Google search trends to determine what the big news of the last decade has been and how we’ll be remembered. We’ll look at everything from sporting triumphs, to musical legends who’ve come and gone, political disasters and worldwide tragedies. 

The 1950s

Post-war Britain was in a period of recovery during the 50s. There were a number of events that dominated the headlines and have created history.

  • Churchill takes power again – The man that led Britain through World War II took power again between the years of 1951-1955. Churchill suffered multiple strokes during his third tenure and eventually stepped down in 1955 to be replaced by Anthony Eden. 

  • The first motorway is built – In 1958, the first motorway was built in the UK. The Preston bypass was the first section to be built and was eventually followed by 230 miles of uninterrupted motorway.

  • Queen Elizabeth II replaces her father on the throne – The current reigning monarch, Elizabeth II took over from her father, King George VI in 1952 and still to this day sits on the throne.

man statue

The 1960s


The 1960s saw the beginnings of one of the world’s most famous bands, a famous landing, and a footballing triumph that still lives on in UK sporting history.

  • England wins their first World Cup – In 1966, England claimed their first World Cup triumph against West Germany thanks to a hat trick from Geoff Hurst and a goal from Martin Peters. 

  • The birth of The Beatles – In 1960, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to form one of the biggest bands of all time. The rest, as they say, is history.

  • The moon landing – The decade was closed out by one of the biggest events in human history, the moon landing. Apollo 11 landed on the moon on the 20th July 1969 manned by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. 

The 1970s

The 1970s saw more history being made in British politics, the introduction of a new currency, and the debut of one of the world’s biggest festivals.

  • The first Glastonbury takes place – Glastonbury opened its gates in 1970 hosting some of the biggest bands and artists from around the world. The festival is set to enter its 50th year in 2020 and is showing no signs of stopping now.

  • Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister – History was made in British politics when Margaret Thatcher took over as prime minister, becoming the first female to take the role. Her time in power was just over 11 years before she was replaced in November 1990. 

  • New currency introduced – A new currency was introduced to replace pounds, shillings and pence. The shilling was phased out and replaced by pounds and pence to make a more simplified currency. 

silver-and-gold-colored coin

The 1980s

A decade dominated by dance, the 80s saw the invention of something that would revolutionise the way we do everything and the fall of a wall that had divided Berlin in two. 

  • The fall of the Berlin Wall – The evening of November 9th 1989 is known as the “Evening the Wall Came Down”. The Berlin Wall divided Berlin in two between 1961 and 1989; it eventually fell reuniting the city in Germany. 

  • The World Wide Web was created – The web has changed the way we do everything and was first invented by Brit, Tim Berners-Lee, in 1989. The web continued to develop over the years to become one of the most important parts of our lives. 

  • Disaster strikes in Chernobyl – In April 1986, the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl Power Plant exploded becoming the worst nuclear disaster to strike the world in history. 

The 1990s

The 1990s saw the beginning of some of the biggest and best bands in the UK, as well as change in government and tragedy striking the Royal Family.

  • The Death of Princess Diana – On 31st August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris. The televised funeral had a viewing audience of 31.10 Million, one of the highest audiences in TV history. 

  • UK music flourishes – The 90s saw the birth of some of the biggest bands in the UK. The likes of Oasis, Blur, Take That and the Spice Girls released music to great avail from Britain and beyond. 

  • Labour takes power – Following an 18-year Conservative dominated period of British politics, Tony Blair took power bringing Labour back into the limelight. They stayed in power between 1997-2008 with Tony Blair taking three ministries between 1997 and 2007. 

group of people watching concert

The 2000s

The turn of the new Millennium saw triumph and tragedy in equal measure. As Wilkinson kicked the match winning drop goal in 2003, we also lost one of the biggest superstars to grace the planet.

  • Tragedy strikes the US and UK – September 11 2001 saw one of the worst attacks on American soil in their history. This was followed in 2005 with attacks striking London. The attacks sent shockwaves around the world and were some of the deadliest in history.

  • Obama takes power – Barack Obama made history in the USA when he became President in 2009. He had two successful campaigns in office before he was eventually replaced in January 2017. 

  • The death of Michael Jackson – Just before he was set to embark on a huge run of dates in London, one of the world’s biggest superstars, “The King of Pop” Michael Jackson, was pronounced dead.  

So, there’s the history from 1950 through to 2009; the question now is what’s the history of our decade? We gathered information from Google Search Trends to find out what the biggest news was across the last decade. 


2010 saw the start of a new decade that was dominated by politics, an unlikely national hero and Apple continuing to develop their technology at a rapid rate.

    • Coalition Government formed – The first coalition government since wartime Britain was formed by David Cameron’s Conservatives and Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. 

    • Susan Boyle becomes an unlikely hero – When Susan Boyle stepped onto the stage at Britain’s Got Talent, no one expected her to become the winner of the show and a national treasure. 

    • Apple launches the iPad – Off the back of the success of their iPhone, iPod and Mac products, Apple launched table technology to the world in the form of the iPad. Essentially a larger version of their iPhone, the iPad is now in its 7th generation and continues to improve. 


As the Royals were getting married, a song was created about a day of the week and the world lost two legends; one from the music world and an Apple tycoon. 

  • Legends lost – The world said farewell to Amy Winehouse and Steve Jobs in 2011. Winehouse was renowned for her stunning vocals and Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was made famous for steering the company to become the giant they are today. 

  • Will and Kate tie the knot – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge tied the knot with Catherine Middleton on April 29th 2011 at Westminster Abbey. It was one of the most watched events in UK television history with around 26 million viewers. 

  • Rebecca Black releases Friday – A song that is still played to this day, Friday by Rebecca Black was an unlikely pop hit and a Friday anthem for people across the world. It was one of the most searched for things in 2011 and has amassed 135 million views on YouTube and 8 million listens on Spotify. 


The eyes of the world turned to London in 2012, as sporting stars from around the world descended on the Capital. The Queen celebrated another anniversary and another pop legend was sadly lost. 

  • The London 2012 Olympics – The biggest sporting event in the world came to London with over 204 participating nations attending. London became the first city in modern times to host the Olympics three times. 

  • Whitney Houston passed away – American pop singer and worldwide legend Whitney Houston passed away. She was cited as the World’s Most Awarded Female and was one of the best selling artists of all times with over 200 million records sold worldwide. 

  • The Queen celebrates another milestone – Queen Elizabeth II became only the second monarch in UK history (the other being Queen Victoria) to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. This marked the 60th Anniversary and multiple commemorative events took place across the Commonwealth. 

woman sitting on carriage


A rather quiet year in comparison to 2012, 2013 saw an online craze sweep the Nation, the birth of a Royal baby, and a political history-maker passed away. 

  • The Harlem Shake – An online craze took over the internet following the release of a song, Harlem Shake, a year previous. The single released in 2012, didn’t take the limelight until February 2013, when the song became a viral ‘meme’.

  • A Royal baby was born – On the 22nd July, the first child of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Prince George, was born.  He is next in line for the throne, following his father Prince William. 

  • The Death of Margaret Thatcher – Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the UK passed away on the 8th April after she suffered a stroke. Reactions were mixed across the country with many mourning her passing and some even celebrating it. 


An internet craze took over social media, a disease hit the headlines causing worldwide panic, and the world lost another legend; this time from the world of acting.

  • The loss of Robin Williams – The world was left in shock when popular actor Robin Williams took his own life. He left a legacy behind him that included his famous performance as Mrs Doubtfire and Popeye. 

  • The Ice Bucket Challenge – A social media craze took over Facebook as the Ice Bucket Challenge saw friends and family challenge each other to pour a bucket full of water and ice over their head. It was all in aid of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also known as motor neurone disease and encouraged people to donate to various charities. 

  • Ebola strikes fear across the world – The Ebola virus caused panic around the world after a major outbreak in Guinea, West Africa. It eventually spread, with a number of isolated cases reported in the UK, including one in Glasgow.

cars parked near wall art


Away from England’s failure at the Rugby World Cup; 2015 saw the birth of another Royal baby, tragedy struck in Paris after an attack on a satirical weekly newspaper, and a solar eclipse took place with the world watching. 

  • Another Royal Baby arrives – Princess Charlotte was born on the 2nd May 2015, becoming the second child of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. She is currently fourth in line to the British throne behind her grandfather Prince Charles, father Prince William and brother Prince George. 

  • Charlie Hebdo attacks – Paris was struck with tragedy after attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper based in the city. Around 12 workers died in the shooting and 11 were left injured. 

  • Solar Eclipse – One of the most spoken about events of 2015 was the Solar Eclipse that took place on 20th March. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, blocking its light. 


The year that Brexit became a reality, an American tycoon became President, and the world lost a number of legends from the sporting and music world. Despite Pokemon coming back in the world with the mobile phone game Pokemon Go, there was other news that dominated the world. 

  • Trump replaces Obama as President – Barack Obama’s tenure came to an end and he was controversially replaced by Donald Trump. Trump beat Hilary Clinton in the political race with his victory being considered one of the most stunning political upsets in the history of American politics. 

  • Brexit hits the headlines – Prime Minister David Cameron announced a referendum would take place to determine whether the UK would leave or remain in the EU. Dubbed Brexit, a campaign was sparked which ultimately saw 51.9% of voters vote leave. Brexit is still, to this day, yet to happen and is one of the biggest talking points not just in the UK, but worldwide. 

  • The world loses legends – Away from the political wildfire, the world was stunned by the loss of musical legends David Bowie and Prince within 6 months of each other. The sporting world also mourned the loss of boxing legend Muhammad Ali at the age of 74 from Septic Shock. 

painting of brown-haired woman low-light photography


As the decade reached its three quarter mark, tragedy struck in Manchester and London, Apple released their most modern and technologically advanced iPhone yet, and another General Election took place following the backlash from Brexit. 

  • Manchester and London hit by tragedy – Manchester was victim to a devastating attack during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. 23 people passed away as a result of the attack with the arena closing its doors until the reopening concert in September 2017. London was also hit by tragedy after a fire swept through Grenfell Tower causing 72 deaths; the deadliest structure fire since 1988. 

  • Another General Election takes place – Following Brexit, the Conservative government were forced to call a snap General Election. The election ultimately saw Theresa May continue as Prime Minister tasking her with delivering Brexit amongst other things. 

  • Apple releases the iPhone X – Alongside the new iPhone 8, Apple released the iPhone X; one of their most technologically advanced products to date. This included Face ID technology that allowed the user to unlock their phone using facial recognition.


2018 saw another Royal Family wedding take place, the rise of cryptocurrency, as well as the introduction of a new data protection act which caused chaos for marketers across the country. All this, as well as, a devastating Semi Final exit from the World Cup for England’s men's football team and a summer heatwave in the UK. 

  • Royal Family welcome Meghan to the fold – Prince Harry married American born actress Meghan Markle on the 19th May. Prince Harry became the Duke of Sussex and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex. Meghan’s heritage was celebrated during the event with the inclusion of African American culture. 

  • The Bitcoin craze – Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin’s worth suddenly shot up making a lot of people very rich overnight after selling their bitcoins. Cryptocurrency is a form of online currency and operates independently away from central banks. 

  • GDPR is introduced – GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation was introduced to strengthen the data protection of online users. There are severe penalties for companies that don’t comply with the aim of protecting online users and the data they entrust with companies.

two gold Bitcoins


The last year of the decade is yet to finish, but has already been dominated by Brexit disasters and political nightmares. Aside from this, near sporting triumphs and the launch of a vegan sausage roll from one of the Nation’s most popular bakers look set to go down in history.

  • Brexit deadline dodging – The biggest headline of the year has been the numerous deadline extensions for Brexit. Having been pushed back to 2020, no end is in sight despite efforts from previous Prime Minister, Theresa May, and current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The delays and lack of progress also saw an end to Theresa May’s time in power and saw the beginning of Boris Johnson’s tenure. 

  • Greggs launch vegan sausage roll – Greggs, renowned for their meat based products, released in vegan sausage roll in January. This was the first of its kind and was sold out across shops around the country during release week. It received praise from vegans and non-vegans alike. 

  • England Rugby come close – England Rugby came close to securing their second World Cup title after a defeat at the hands of South Africa in the final. The defeat followed an outstanding victory against holders and pre-tournament favourites New Zealand.

2020 vision

We ran a survey on independent survey provider, Toluna, to find out what people think will be the top news headlines for 2020. Here’s what we found from 216 respondents...

50% of the British public expect, once again, to see Brexit dominate the headlines in 2020. Other notable stats include 5% predicting the Euro 2020 football tournament will hit the news and 6% predicting the upcoming Presidential election in the US will cause a stir too. 

It will be interesting to see what future generations will take from our present and what stories will stick with us. Only time will tell to see how history remembers us! 

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