A Lot has Happened to the English Language Since
1755 Dr Samuel Johnson’s dictionary ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ was first published, in London. It contained explanations and meanings for 40,000 different words and had taken him almost 9 years to compile, although he had claimed he could finish it in three. He was paid the sum of 1,500 guineas, equivalent to about £230,000 in today’s money.
The Famous Fiver
1793 The Bank of England issued the first £5 notes.
Poets, Clouds and Daffodils
1802 William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy saw a ‘long belt’ of daffodils, inspiring him to pen ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.’
1912 The British built Titanic luxury ocean liner that had collided earlier with an iceberg about 400 miles from Newfoundland sank at 2:20 a.m. More than 1,500 people drowned or froze to death in the icy waters. Most of the 700 survivors were women and children.
Buried in Style
1901 The first motor hearse appeared on the streets of Britain when it carried the body of William Drakeford to his burial in Coventry. His employer, the Daimler Motor Company, had adapted one of their cars for the occasion.
Peter Pan and the Great Ormond Street Hospital
1925 Author James Barrie donated his copyright fee for the story of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London.
The Belfast Blitz
1941 The Belfast Blitz, during which two-hundred bombers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) attacked Belfast in Northern Ireland, killing one thousand people.
1942 The people of the British colony of Malta were awarded the George Cross in recognition of their heroic war time struggle against enemy attack.
The Dead of Belsan
1945 British troops entered the Belsan concentration camp after negotiating a truce with the German commandant. Soldiers found piles of dead and rotting corpses and thousands of sick and starving prisoners.
Best Foot Forward
1964 Footballer George Best made his debut for Northern Ireland against Wales.
1989 Britain’s worst football disaster at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 95 football fans were crushed to death shortly after the start of the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. Most of those killed were from Liverpool.
Ashes to Ashes
2010 All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries were suspended as ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland moved south. The cloud triggered the UK’s worst airspace restriction in living memory and brought much of Europe to a standstill.