The Last of the Stuarts
1702 Anne Stuart, sister of Mary II, becomes Queen regnant of England, Scotland, and Ireland after William III died in a riding accident. Despite seventeen pregnancies, Anne died without surviving children and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. She was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover.
The First Among the Many
1775 An anonymous writer, thought by some to be the Norfolk born author Thomas Paine, published ‘African Slavery in America’, the first article in the American colonies calling for the equality of slaves and the abolition of slavery.
In the Absence of Beethoven
In London, at a time when there were no permanent London orchestras, nor organised series of chamber music concerts, a group of professional musicians formed the Philharmonic Society of London on 24 January 1813. The Society’s aim was “to promote the performance, in the most perfect manner possible of the best and most approved instrumental music”. The first concert, on 8 March 1813, was presided over by Johann Peter Salomon, with Muzio Clementi at the piano and the violin prodigy Nicolas Mori as lead violinist, performing symphonies by Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Among the founders was the pianist and violinist William Dance who became the society’s first director and treasurer until his death in 1840.
The Society asked Beethoven to come to London, but the composer’s health prevented his accepting the invitation. However the society’s request for a new symphony from him resulted in the Choral Symphony. In 1827 Beethoven wrote to the society outlining his straitened circumstances; at a special general meeting the society resolved to send the composer £100 immediately (George Bernard Shaw once referred to this as “the only entirely creditable incident in English history”). Other works written for the Society include the Italian Symphony byFelix Mendelssohn. Distinguished conductors included Ludwig Spohr, one of the first conductors to use a baton, Hector Berlioz, who conducted a concert of his works in 1853, Richard Wagner, who conducted the whole 1855 season of orchestral concerts, William Sterndale Bennett for the following ten years, Arthur Sullivan, and Tchaikovsky, who conducted his own works in 1888 and 1893.
The Wind in the Willows
1859 The birth, in Edinburgh, of author Kenneth Grahame, most famous for The Wind in the Willows and The Reluctant Dragon.
The Flying Englishman
1910 The first pilots’ licences were issued, to an Englishman – J T C Moore Brabazon, and a Frenchwoman – Elise Deroche.
British Go Home
1930 Mahatma Gandhi began the campaign of civil disobedience against British rule in India .
Postman Always Rings Twice
1971 British postal workers returned to work after a strike lasting 7 weeks.
1972 The Goodyear airship Europa flew over Britain. It was the the first airship over Britain in 20 years.
Where Bluebird Flies
2001 Donald Campbell’s boat, Bluebird, was recovered from the bottom of Coniston Water in Cumbria. Campbell was killed on 4th January 1967 at more than 300 mph whilst attempting to break his own water speed record.