On This Day – Mow, Mow, Mow the Zoo

18 May

There May be Trouble Ahead

1152 Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, married Henry Plantagenet (later Henry II of England). She had been divorced two months earlier from King Louis VII of France.

Malicious Death

1593 Playwright Thomas Kyd’s accusations of heresy lead to an arrest warrant for fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe. No reason for the arrest was given, though a manuscript believed to have been written by Marlowe was said to contain ‘vile heretical conceipts’. Twelve days later, Marlowe was stabbed to death by Ingram Frizer.

Seven Years Itch

The Charge of the 15th Light Dragoons at Emsdorf by David Rowlands.

1756 The Seven Years’ War began when Britain declared war on France.

Devil Finds Work for Idle Hands

Gillray - The First Kiss.jpg

1803 Bored with nobody to fight for almost a year, Britain abandoned the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France, again!

Mow, Mow, Mow the Zoo

1830 Briton Edwin Budding signed an agreement for his invention, the lawn mower, to go into mass production. His first customer was Regent’s Park Zoo in London.


1812 John Bellingham was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging for the assassination of British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval seven days earlier. To date, Perceval is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.

Free Church of Scotland

1843 The ‘Disruption’ in Edinburgh in which 450 ministers of the Church of Scotland broke away, over the issue of the Church’s relationship with the State, to form the Free Church of Scotland.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Russell

1872 Bertrand Russell, English philosopher, mathematician and Nobel Prize recipient, was born. He was imprisoned during the First World War for his outspoken pacifism and was one of the founders of the Committee of 100, advocating nuclear disarmament.

Happy Birthday, Ms Fonteyn

1919 Margot Fonteyn, English ballet dancer was born

The Fall of Monte Cassino

1944 Monte Cassino, Italy, was taken by Allied forces during World War II. The ancient Italian monastery had been a symbol of German resistance since the beginning of the year

Human Rights

Council of Europe (blue).svg

1954 The European Convention on Human Rights came into force.

Mods and Rockers

1964 Scores of youths were given prison sentences following violent clashes between gangs of Mods and Rockers at a number of resorts on the south coast of England.

Spaced Out

Helen Sharman, Britain's first cosmonaut, in 1991.

1991 Chemist Helen Sharman from Sheffield was the first Briton to go into space, as a participant in a Soviet space mission.

Black Market Picasso

1998 High Society burglar Peter Scott was jailed for 3 years after being involved in a plot to sell a stolen Picasso painting worth £750,000.

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