On This Day – Birthdays, Roses, and the Highway to Gretna Green

22 May

Wars of the Roses

1455 In the Wars of the Roses, Richard of York and the Nevilles attacked the court at St Albans, capturing Henry VI and killing Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset.

The Exploits of Mungo Park

1795 The Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, set sail on his first voyage to Africa which he would later relate in his book ‘Travels in the Interior of Africa’.

Chudleigh Fire

1807 Most of the town of Chudleigh in Devon was destroyed by a fire that started in the bakery. After the fire, only the church and seven houses were left standing.

Littleport Riots

1816 A mob in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, rioted over high unemployment and rising grain costs. The rioting spread to Ely (6 miles away) the next day.

Australian Holiday

'Convicts' Letter writing at Cockatoo Island, NSW, 'Canary Birds'

1840 Britain ended the practice of sending convicts to the penal colony of Australia.

Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur

1859 The birth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, novelist who created the detective Sherlock Holmes.

Happy Birthday, Baron Olivier

1907 Laurence Olivier, English actor was born.

 Highway to Gretna Green

1915 The worst rail disaster in Britain took place when a troop train collided with a passenger train at Gretna Green in Scotland, killing 227 people and injuring 246.

Open Plan Chimnasium

Chimp Piggy Back

1927 The world’s first ‘open plan’ zoo, Whipsnade, opened in Bedfordshire.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Best

1946 George Best, former Northern Ireland and Manchester United football player was born. When he was once asked what happened to the money he had earned, Best replied – ‘I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.’

The Yorkshire Ripper

Photo Peter Sutcliffe

1981 Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was sentenced to life imprisonment after the judge described him as ‘an unusually dangerous man’. He was found guilty of killing 13 women and the attempted murder of 7 others.

Northern Ireland, It Said YES

Good Friday Agreement

1998 Northern Ireland voted ‘Yes’ to a new peace agreement designed to end 30 years of violence between Protestants and Catholics.

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Posted by on 22/05/2012 in Uncategorized


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