On This Day – St. Augustine, Taxes and the Confetti Rations

26 May

Saint Augustine

Illuminated manuscript with a forward-facing man in the middle of the large H. Man is carrying a crozier and his head is surrounded by a halo.

604 St Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury died. Born in the first third of the 6th century, he was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597. He is considered the “Apostle to the English” and a founder of the English Church.

One of Many

1670 Charles II and Louis XIV signed a secret treaty in Dover, ending hostilities between England and France.

The Tax is Here

1798 Income Tax was introduced into Britain – a 10% tax on all incomes over £200 a year.

The Last Public Hanging

1868 In the last public execution in England, Irish terrorist Michael Barrett was hanged outside Newgate Prison for causing an explosion in London which left 13 dead.

The Count of Whitby

1897 Dracula, a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker was published. The town of Whitby  has associations with Bram Stoker, as he based much of his Dracula novel here whilst staying in Whitby in 1890.

The King of Ukelele

1904 The birth, in Wigan, of George Formby, English singer and comedian. He was famous for his comic songs, full of double entendre, to his own accompaniment on the banjo ukulele.

The Magistrate in Skirt

Emily Duncan 1914

1913 Emily Duncan became Britain’s first woman magistrate.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Cushing

1913 The birth of Peter Cushing, known for his many appearances in Hammer Films, in which he played the distinguished-looking but sinister scientist Baron Frankenstein and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing.


1940 The evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk began. Besides the efforts of the Royal Navy, 700 small ships set off from Britain to rescue 385,000 soldiers over the following nine days. The mission was codenamed Operation Dynamo.

Confetti Rations


1950 Long queues appeared at garages and motorists tore their ration books into confetti after the end to petrol rationing.

Manchester United

A black-and-white photograph of a football team lining up before a match. Four players, wearing dark shirts, light shorts and dark socks, are seated. Four more players are standing immediately behind them, and three more are standing on a higher level on the back row. Two men in suits are standing on either side of the players.

1999 Manchester United became the first British club to win the European Cup for 15 years, beating Bayern Munich 2-1 in the final in Barcelona. This gave them the coveted ‘treble’ – the Premier League, the FA Cup and the European Cup.

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