The Maid of Orléans
1431 In a trial demanded by the English, French heroine Joan of Arc was accused of heresy before the judges in Rouen.
Ten Steel Miles
1804 British engineer Richard Trevithick demonstrated the world’s first steam railway locomotive at Samuel Homfray’s Penydaren Ironworks in South Wales. The engine won a wager for Homfray by hauling a load of 10 tons of iron and 70 men along 10 miles of tramway.
Legless and Dangerous
1910 The birth of Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader who lost both his legs while attempting aerobatics in 1931. As an RAF fighter ace during the Second World War he was credited with 20 aerial victories, many shared victories and 11 enemy aircraft damaged. As a POW he was a thorn in the side of the Germans and he made so many attempts at escape that the Germans threatened to take away his legs.
Set My People Free
1952 The government of Winston Churchill abolished Identity Cards – “to set the people free”.
1952 A year after her first divorce, Elizabeth Taylor was married for the second time. This husband (number two of eight) was Michael Wilding. The marriage lasted for five years.
Give Peace a Chance
1958 The Peace symbol, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was designed and completed by Gerald Holtom. The logo was not copyrighted and later became known in the wider world as a general-purpose peace symbol. The design incorporated the semaphore signals for ‘N’ and ‘D’ standing for ‘nuclear disarmament’.
1961 The Beatles appeared for the very first time at The Cavern Club, Liverpool. They went on to make a total of 292 other appearances there.
The Warrior Queen on Platform 8
1988 The grave of Boadicea, the warrior queen who fought the Romans in Britain nearly 2,000 years ago, was located by archaeologists under Platform 8 at King’s Cross railway station, London. British Rail said they had just refurbished the platform and anyone wanting to dig it up would have to come up with a strong case ….. and they did.
2001 The European Commission banned all British milk, meat and livestock exports following the UK’s first outbreak of foot and mouth disease for two decades.
The Bare-Kneed Harlot
2008 The death of Sunny Lowry, the first British woman to swim the English Channel (1933). She was berated as being a ‘harlot’ as her light two-piece suit, which was considered very daring at the time, bared her knees.