"It was spring last year that they went to London."
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It appears the 是。。。的 is to emphasize details in the past. I wasn't familiar with this useage and looked ip the following link which might be helpful. https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/The_%22shi..._de%22_construction_for_emphasizing_details
I don't think so, because in your example the 是...的 puts emphasis on 他们 while the original sentence puts emphasis on the fact they went to London in Spring last year. A translation to your sentence would be "They were the ones who went to London in Spring last year".
Hope it helps.