Turning the Blind Eye
1801 In the Battle of Copenhagen, British hero Horatio Nelson (born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk) put his telescope to his blind eye and ignored Admiral Parker’s signal to stop fighting. “I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes. I really do not see the signal.” He continued until the Danish fleet was defeated.
Spending a Penny
1873 British trains were fitted with toilets, but only for sleeping cars. Day carriages were fitted in 1881. Third class passengers weren’t able to ‘spend a penny’ until 1886.
1877 The first Human Cannonball Act was performed at London’s Amphitheatre when acrobat Lady Zazal, attached by elastic springs, was fired into a safety net.
1914 Alec Guinness, English actor was born. His roles included “Kind Hearts and Coronets”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” for which he won an Oscar, and “The Ladykillers.” He was also nominated for a further four Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for what is possibly his best-known role; as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
To The Manor Born
1940 The birth of actress Penelope Keith. She became a household name in the 1970s when she played Margo Leadbetter in the sitcom The Good Life. She was also the lead character in another BBC sitcom, To the Manor Born, a show that received audiences of more than 20 million.
1946 Britain’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst was founded.
The First Soap
1954 Britain’s first TV soap opera was transmitted. It was ‘The Grove Family’ , named after the BBC’s Lime Grove Studios in London.
1960 The birth of sprinter Linford Christie. He is the only British man to have won gold medals in the 100 metres at all four major competitions open to British athletes: the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
The Fall of Barony Fort
1977 Charlotte Brew becomes the first woman jockey to ride in the Grand National. Her horse, Barony Fort, fell at the 27th fence.
1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, a British possession for 149 years. The British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force. The resulting conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14th June 1982, which returned the islands to British control.