Half a Pint of Larger and an Oratorio
1732 Handel’s Oratorio was performed for the first time at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, London on the composer’s 47th birthday. It was the first oratorio ever performed in Britain.
The Cato Street Conspiracy
1820 British police uncovered ‘The Cato Street Conspiracy’, planned by Arthur Thistlewood, to assassinate Cabinet ministers. Five of the eighteen conspirators were publicly hanged outside Newgate prison on 1st May 1820, six were transported to Australia for life, and the rest were either rewarded or released due to their status as spies, agent provocateurs, or men who had turned King’s Evidence.
Death of Keats
1821 John Keats, English poet, died in Rome, aged 25.
Birth of the Nile
1863 Lake Victoria, in Africa, was declared to be the source of the River Nile by British explorers John Speke and J.A. Grant.
Anyone for Tennis?
1874 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented an outdoor game he called ‘Sphairistike’, later known as lawn tennis. Eventually it was adopted by the All England Croquet Club which sponsored the first Wimbledon championships in 1877.
Two – Emma – Toc
1920 The first regular broadcasting service in Britain started from Marconi’s studio in Writtle, near Chelmsford. The 30-minute programme was transmitted twice daily. Peter Eckersley opened with ‘Hello! Hello! This is Two-Emma-Toc, Writtle testing.’ Two-Emma-Toc stood for 2MT, the licence granted to Marconi by the General Post Office.
Death of the Valley
1945 World War II: The German town of Pforzheim was almost completely destroyed in a raid by 379 British bombers. About one quarter of the town’s population (over 17,000 people) were killed in the air raid. The town was thought by the Allies to be producing precision instruments for use in the German war effort and to be a transport centre for the movement of German troops. After the war, the rubble from the destruction was heaped into a large pile on the outskirts of the town, resulting in a volcano-ish look of the mountain and the disappearance of the valley. Similar efforts were undertaken in other destroyed cities such as Stuttgart and Munich.
1953 In Britain, an amnesty offered to World War II deserters brought in applications from more than 3000 servicemen.
The Traffic Warden Wars
1963 Peter Hicks, a farmer who electrified his car to ward off traffic wardens in London’s Covent Garden had to wait nine months before police returned his electric device and told him they would not be prosecuting.
Another Fine Mess
1965 The death of Stan Laurel, film comedian, born in Ulverston, Cumbria in 1890. In 1961 Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. Ulverston has a Laurel & Hardy Museum.