Image of Hammer and Sickle

New Communist Party of Britain

Major Yuri Gagarin

Virgin Trains' 'Yuri Gagarin'

Virgin Trains' 'Yuri Gagarin'

Gagarin received a pop-star welcome when he arrived in Manchester in July 1961. You can read more here on this page from the Working Class Movement Library.

Major Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin made history in 1961 when he bcame the first human to travel into space. A few months later the  Soviet cosmonaut received a raptuous welcome when he visited Britain.

Though his life was cut short when he died  in a plane crash in 1968 his name is remembered all around the world.

His home town of Gzhatsk in Soviet Union was renamed Gagarin in his honour, the main cosmonaut training base in the Russian federation is still called the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre and many roads in Russia and the other former Soviet republics still bear his name.

Britain's contribution is naturally more modest. There's Gagarin Road in Tamworth and a Gagarin Way in the Scottish former mining village of Lumphinnans, near Cowdenbeath in Fife.

And finally, still in the world of transport, Virgin Trains have named one of their Super Voyager diesel-electric railcars after the first man to orbit the Earth.