7 July bombs come second; both behind 9/11 attacks
THE 7 JULY London bombs and the death of Princess Diana rank behind only the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US in people's memories of news events, according to a new survey.
Nearly 12 years after it happened, Diana's demise is recalled in detail by 62% of British people polled by Professor Geoff Beattie for new TV channel Yesterday, while the 2005 London bombs are remembered by 58%.
Diana's staying power is no surprise to LondonNet as our section dedicated to her continues to draw a large audience.
However, both big British news events are some way behind the 2001 9/11 attacks, which have stuck firmly in the memories of 82% of Brits.
In fact, the downing of the Twin Towers by Al Qaeda is even more entrenched in our grey matter than big moments in our personal lives, though the grim reaper looms large here too, with 81% of people able to recall the death of a close relative with ease.
Perhaps surprisingly, 52% of people claim to be able to remember the assassination of American President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and passing your driving test appears to be a bigger memory highlight than the first kiss with your current partner or even your own wedding day.
There is a scientific explanation for all this memory hoarding.
"When a cultural event takes place, it triggers a primitive survival mechanism which results in the memory being encoded so that it stays with you until the day you die," said a spokesperson for Yesterday.
Events which seem to have bucked the encoding trend are led by New Labour's 1997 election victory, recalled by only 24% of those surveyed, the same proportion that can bring to mind the 1996 break up of Take That.
"The premise of Yesterday is that world events and cultural memories we remember through television are very much part of who we are," said Richard Kingsbury, head of Yesterday. "The surprising aspect of this research is just how powerful these memories are."
Yesterday is the new name for the UKTV History.
Top five historical memories
1. 9/11 - (82%)
2. Princess Diana’s death - (62%)
3. July 7th London bombings - (58%)
4. The assassination of JFK - (52%)
5. Boxing Day Tsunami - (41%)
Top five personal memories
1. Death of a close relative - (81%)
2. Passing driving test - (79%)
3. First date with current partner - (76%)
4. Wedding day - (72%)
5. First kiss - (66%)