The Battle of Dunbar
1296 An English army, led by Edward I, defeated the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar. The English routed the disorganised Scots in a single charge, in action that was brief and probably not very bloody, since the only casualty of any note was a minor Lothian knight.
£10 of Paradise Lost
1667 The blind, impoverished John Milton sold the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10.
1749 The first official performance of Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks in Green Park, London. It finished early due to the outbreak of fire, but Handel stuck to his conducting, whilst the audience ran for their lives!
Ladies Don’t Poke
1828 The opening of the London Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park, London. Lady visitors were politely requested to refrain from poking the beasts through the bars of the cages.
Foundations of a Parliament
1840 The foundation stone for the new Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace) was laid by the wife of the architect Sir Charles Barry.
The Flying Sheila
1927 The birth of Sheila (Christine) Scott, English aviator who broke 104 light aircraft records and was the first to fly solo over the North Pole. Despite this, she failed her driving test three times. Her flying endeavours were always under-financed and when funds ran out, she was left to a sad and lonely retirement.
Storm in a Teacup
1944 The birth of Michael Fish, British meteorologist. He became infamous in the wake of the Great Storm of 1987 when it was rumoured that there a hurricane on the way to which he commented ‘Well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!’ That evening, the worst storm to hit South East England since 1703 caused record damage and killed 18 people.
1992 The House of Commons elected a woman to the post of Speaker for the first time. She was Betty Boothroyd, the 62-year-old Labour MP for West Bromwich.