The Butcher’s Apprentice
1739 English highwayman Dick Turpin was hanged in York for murdering an inn-keeper. Before becoming a highwayman, he had been a butcher’s apprentice.
1770 William Wordsworth, English romantic poet and Poet Laureate, was born, in Cockermouth, Cumbria. He died on 23rd April 1850 and was buried at St. Oswald’s church in Grasmere.
Light Up My Fire
1827 Chemist John Walker of Stockton on Tees sold the world’s first box of friction matches’ that he had invented the previous year. He charged one shilling for a box of 50 matches. Each box was supplied a piece of sandpaper, folded double, through which the match had to be drawn to ignite it. He named the matches ‘Congreves’ in honour of the inventor and rocket pioneer, Sir William Congreve.
And the Dog Thrown In
1832 Joseph Thompson, a farmer, went to Carlisle to sell his wife, both having agreed to part. A large crowd gathered as he offered her for 50 shillings. After an hour, the price was knocked down to 20 shillings, together with a Newfoundland dog as an incentive.
A Queen in Labour
1853 Queen Victoria became the first monarch to receive chloroform. It was administered to ease the birth of her eighth child, Prince Leopold.
1936 Butlins opened its first family holiday camp at Skegness.
1958 An Easter march to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermastonto the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston attracted 3,000 anti-atomic bomb marchers and a further 12,000 members of the new CND movement (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).
Intimations of Reginald Perrin
1976 MP John Stonehouse resigned from the Labour Party, leaving James Callaghan’s government in a minority of one. Stonehouse is best remembered for faking his own suicide (20th November 1974), by leaving a pile of clothes on a Miami beach. He was presumed dead, and obituaries were published, despite the fact that no body had been found. In reality, he was en route to Australia, hoping to set up a new life with his mistress and secretary, Sheila Buckley. He also faced 18 charges of theft, forgery, attempted insurance frauds and conspiracy.
Grand National Monday
1997 The 150th Grand National (cancelled on the 5th) due to bomb threats by the IRA, was held for the first time ever on a Monday, with the organisers offering free admission. Some 20,000 people had been left stranded over the weekend, as their cars and coaches were locked in the course. There was limited accommodation space in the city and surrounding areas, and those local residents not affected by the incident opened their doors and took in many of those stranded.