Monthly Archives: September 2012

On This Day – Five Firsts and a Penny Bazaar

The Bastard of Normandy

1066 Claiming his right to the English throne, William, Duke of Normandy (or William the Bastard, as he was often called at the time, due to his illegitimate status ) landed at Pevensey in East Sussex to begin his invasion of England.

William was the son of the unmarried Robert I, Duke of Normandy by his mistress Herleva. His illegitimate status and his youth caused some difficulties for him after he succeeded his father, as did the anarchy that plagued the first years of his rule. During his childhood and adolescence, members of the Norman aristocracy battled each other, both for control of the child duke and for their own ends. In 1047 William was able to quash a rebellion and begin to establish his authority over the duchy, a process that was not complete until about 1060. His marriage in the 1050s to Matilda of Flanders  provided him with a powerful ally in the neighbouring county of Flanders.  By the time of his marriage, William was able to arrange the appointments of his supporters as bishops and abbots in the Norman church. His consolidation of power allowed him to expand his horizons, and by 1062 William was able to secure control of the neighbouring county of Maine. 

Normans Are Here to Stay

1106 Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose, the Duke of Normandy at the Battle of Tinchebray, in Normandy. It was a decisive victory and the battle lasted just one hour. The Duke was captured and imprisoned in England and then at Cardiff Castle until his death. England and Normandy remained under a single ruler until 1204.

The First God Save the King

1745 At the Drury Lane Theatre, London, God Save the King, the national anthem, was sung for the first time. The score used was prepared by Thomas Augustine Arne (1710-1778) leader of the orchestra and composer of Rule Britannia.

The First International

1864 ‘The First International’ was founded in London, when Karl Marx proposed the formation of an International Working Men’s Association.

The First Woman Doctor

1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became the first qualified woman physician in Britain.

The Penny Bazaar

1894 Simon Marks, a Polish immigrant, and Yorkshireman Tom Spencer opened their Penny Bazaar in Leeds, setting the foundations for the Marks and Spencer chain.

The First Radio Times

Radio Times first edition

1923 The Radio Times was first published.

Way Back When

1928 Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.


1928 The Scottish born pharmacologist Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

Brixton Riots

1981 Brixton Riots.jpg

1985 Riots broke out on the streets of south London after a woman was shot and seriously injured in a house search. Local people had already been very critical of police tactics in Brixton and a mood of tension exploded into violence as night fell.

Black Day for Bookmakers

1996 At Ascot, Frankie Dettori became the first jockey to win all seven races at a meeting. The odds on this happening were 25,095 to 1. Bookmakers lost over £18 million pounds as a result.

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Posted by on 28/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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On This Day – The King’s Beloved Sister and The Scream

The King’s Beloved Sister

1515 Anne of Cleves, 4th wife of Henry VIII, was born.

Anne was a German noblewoman and the fourth wife of Henry VIII and as such she was Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540. The marriage was never consummated and she was not crowned queen consort Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King’s Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Mary I, outlasting the rest of Henry’s wives.


1598 The English playwright Ben Jonson, a contemporary of William Shakespeare, killed an actor in a duel and was put on trial for manslaughter. Jonson pleaded guilty but was released by benefit of clergy, a legal ploy through which he gained leniency by reciting a brief bible verse, forfeiting his ‘goods and chattels’ and being branded on his left thumb.

The First Tenant

1735 Sir Robert Walpole became the first prime minister to occupy 10 Downing Street.

Coronation Day

Full-length portrait in oils of a clean-shaven young man in eighteenth century dress: gold jacket and breeches, ermine cloak, powdered wig, white stockings, and buckled shoes.

1761 The coronation of George III. In the later part of his life, George III suffered from mental illness. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III’s eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent until his father’s death in 1820.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Farraday

1791 Michael Faraday, English chemist and physicist, was born. He was the inventor of the dynamo, the transformer and the electric motor. The Unit of capacitance – Farad – was named after him.

A Chip Off the Old Block

Victoria's sketch of herself

1896 Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

The Oldest Cinema

1910 The Duke of York’s Picture House opened in Brighton. It is now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

The Killing Waves

1914 Three British cruisers, Aboukir, Hogue, and Cressy, were torpedoed and sunk by German U-boats, killing more than 1,400.

The Gresford Mine Tragedy

Gresford Colliery [click for larger image]

1934 The worst pit disaster in Britain for 21 years killed more than 260 miners in an explosion and fire at the Gresford Mine in Wales.

Gibbs SR Toothpaste

Gibbs S R Toothpaste

1955 Independent Television (ITV) began operating. Only six minutes of advertisements were allowed each hour and there was no Sunday morning TV permitted. The first advertisement screened was for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

Everything I Do

1991 Bryan Adams made chart history when his song – Everything I Do, I Do It For You, had its twelfth consecutive week as the UK No.1.

The Scream

1999 Screaming Lord Sutch’s Official Monster Raving Loony Party honoured his memory with a two minute scream at a pub in Ashburton, Devon. The singer, born David Sutch, hanged himself on 16th June 1999.

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Posted by on 22/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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On This Day – The Hole in One and The Penalty Kick

Eleven Stolen Days

1752 The 3rd of September became the 14th as the Gregorian Calendar was introduced into Britain. Crowds of people rioted on the streets demanding, ‘Give us back our 11 days.’

Geography Game

1759 The earliest dated board game in England was sold on this day by its inventor John Jeffreys, from his house in Chapel Street, Westminster. The game was called ‘A Journey Through Europe’, or ‘The play of Geography’.

The Duke of Wellington, RIP

1852 The Duke of Wellington, victor at Waterloo, died aged 83.

Hole in One

1868 At the Open Championships at Prestwick, the legendary Scottish golfer Tom Morris scored the first recorded hole-in-one, on the 8th hole (166 yards).

Penalty Kick

Keller saves PK attempt by Henry.ogv

1891 The first penalty kick in an English League football game was taken by Heath of Wolverhampton Wanderers against Accrington.

Happy Birthday, Jack Hawkins

1910 The birth of the actor Jack Hawkins. He mostly appeared in character roles, often in epic films such as The Bridge on the River Kwai, Zulu, The Cruel Sea and Lawrence of Arabia. A 60 a day smoker, Hawkins began experiencing voice problems in the late 1950s. His entire larynx was removed and his performances were dubbed. Hawkins continued to smoke after losing his voice and died aged 62

Oil Refinery

aerial view of Fawley refinery

1951 Prime Minister Clement Attlee opened the largest oil refinery in Europe, at Fawley on Southampton Water.

The Day The Sun Came Out

Sydney Jacobson

1964 The British daily newspaper, the Daily Herald, ceased publication and was replaced by the Sun.

The Happy Couple

1974 Two giant pandas, Chia-Chia and Ching-Ching, arrived at London Zoo.

High Treason

1981 A teenage boy who fired blank shots at the Queen in June 1980, pleaded guilty to a charge under the 1848 Treason Act

Taxi to New Delhi

Taxis in London

1988 A London taxi reached New Delhi with the meter showing a fare of £13,200. It was part of a six-man expedition on the way to Sydney.

Blue Plaque for a Pop Star

Photo of plaque

1997 Pete Townshend unveiled an English Heritage Blue Plaque at 23, Brook Street, Mayfair, London to mark where Jimi Hendrix had lived in 1968-69. He was the first pop star to be commemorated with the plaque.



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Posted by on 14/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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On This Day – Ours Not To Reason Why

RIP, William I

1087 William the Conqueror died in Maine (France) from injuries he sustained after a fall from his horse.

RIP, James IV

1513 The Scots were heavily defeated by the English at the Battle of Flodden Field and James IV was killed, along with all his nobles Floddeen Field. is close to the village of Branxton, Northumberland. The slain, including King James iV were taken to Branxton Parish Church. 

Nine Months Old Queen

1543 Mary Stuart, at just nine months old, was crowned ‘Queen of Scots’ in the Scottish town of Stirling.

Captain of the Bounty

1754 Birth date of William Bligh, British naval officer who was the victim of two mutinies, the most famous on the HMS Bounty which was taken over by Fletcher Christian.

Ours Not to Reason Why

Panorama dentro.JPG

1855 Crimean War: The Siege of Sevastopol (Sebastopol) came to an end when Russian forces abandon the city. Although defended heroically and at the cost of heavy Allied casualties, (almost 130,00 in total), the fall of Sevastopol led to the Russian defeat in the Crimean War.

The Riots of Notting Hill Gate


1958 There were race riots in London’s Notting Hill Gate, with television crews accused of encouraging the rioting by staging reconstructions in the streets.

Happy Birthday, Hugh Grant


1960 The birth of Hugh Grant, English actor and film producer who achieved international stardom after appearing in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Young and Quick

Jim Clark.jpg

1963 Scotsman Jim Clark became the youngest person to win the world motor racing championships, driving Colin Chapman’s Lotus. He was aged 27 and 188 days. The youngest winner to date is Sebastian Vettel (in 2010), aged 23 years and 133 days.

Hanging Up His Boots

Lester Piggott by Nicola Jennings

1985 Champion jockey Lester Piggott announced his retirement, having won more than 5,000 races around the world. In 1987 he was jailed following an investigation over tax evasion, but resumed his career following his release and rode his last winner in October 1994.

Spare the Rod

1996 The European Court of Human Rights agreed to hear a case in which a 12-year old boy was challenging British laws allowing parents to use corporal punishment on their children.

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Posted by on 09/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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On This Day – Death of a Survivor and the Umbrella Murder

Birth Of An Unlikely Queen

1533 The birth of Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. She was Queen of England from 1558 to 1603 and was known as the Virgin Queen because she never married, being too shrewd to share power with a foreign monarch.

Death of a Survivor

1548 Catherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VIII, died in childbirth.

Darling Grace

Grace Horsley Darling - Portrait.jpg

1838 Grace Darling and her father rescued the crew of the Forfarshire, a steamer wrecked off the Northumberland coast, close to the Longstone Lighthouse.She became a national heroine.

Rugby League

1895 The first game of what would become known as rugby league football, was played in England, starting the 1895–96 Northern Rugby Football Union season.

Happy Birthday, Captain Cheshire

1917 The birth of Group Captain (Geoffrey) Leonard Cheshire, British airman. He was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War and he and his wife Sue Ryder founded the Cheshire Foundation Home for the Incurably Sick in 1948.

Schneider Trophy

Schneider Trophy 2006-08-10.jpg

1929 Britain won the prestigious Schneider Trophy for air speed. The winner was Flying Officer Waghorn.

Tightening the Royal Belt

Pale-eyed grey-bearded man of slim build wearing a dress uniform and medals

1931 King George V announced he would be taking a £50,000 a year pay cut while the economic crisis continued.

The Blitz

1940 Germany began regular bombing of London – commonly known as ‘The Blitz’. The bombing continued nightly until 2nd November.

Farewell to Arms

General G Castellano, representing Italy, receives a handshake from General Dwight D Eisenhower

1943 World War II. Italy surrendered to the Allies.


1973 Jackie Stewart became world champion racing driver for the third consecutive year.

The Umbrella Murder

Georgi Markov

1978 While walking across Waterloo Bridge in London, Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was assassinated by a Bulgarian secret police agent using a ricin pellet fired from a specially-designed umbrella.

Farewell to TOGs

2009 Sir Terry Wogan announced that he was to step down as presenter of BBC Radio 2’s breakfast show. The veteran broadcaster first hosted the breakfast show in 1972, returning to the role in 1993. Wake Up to Wogan was the UK’s most popular breakfast radio show with 7.93 million listeners each week.

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Posted by on 07/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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On This Day – No TV for 7 Years

The English Pope

1159 The death of Pope Adrian IV, (Nicholas Breakspeare), the only English pope.

His father was Robert, who later became a monk at St Albans. Nicholas himself, however, was refused admission to the monastery, being told by the abbot to “wait to go on with his schooling so that he might be considered more suitable”

If Only She Knew

Portrait of Anne Boleyn, attr. to John Hoskyns

1532 Lady Anne Boleyn was made Marquess of Pembroke by her fiancé, King Henry VIII. Less than 4 years later Henry had her investigated for high treason. She was found guilty of adultery and incest and was executed on 19th May 1536.

On the Road to MRSA

1865 Joseph Lister performed the first antiseptic surgery.

The Gravy Train

1886 The Severn Tunnel, (railway tunnel) between England and Wales, was opened for goods traffic.

7 Years of No TV 

Aerial photo showing the city of Wieluń which was destroyed by Luftwaffe bombing on 1 September

1939 At dawn on 1st September, Germany made a massive invasion of Poland and bombed Warsaw at 6am, beginning World War II in Europe. The service to 2,000 televisions also ceased in Britain. There would be no more TV for seven years.

The First Supermarket








1951 The Premier supermarket opened in Earl’s Court, London; the first supermarket in Britain.

The Death of the Threepenny Piece

Threepence obverse.jpg

1971 The British penny and the threepenny piece coins ceased to be legal tender as decimalization continued.


1985 After 73 years the wreck of the liner ‘Titanic’ was found, by Dr. Robert Ballard.

The Big Win

Michael Owen celebrates with Steven Gerrard

2001 England beat bitter rivals Germany 5-1 in the World Cup qualifying tie, with Michael Owen scoring a hat-trick.

RIP, Brian Moore

Brian Moore biography

2001 The death of Brian Moore, sports commentator and television presenter who covered nine World Cups, six European Championships and every FA Cup Final on ITV from 1969 to 1988 and again in 1998.

And There Was Light

2011 The introduction of an EU-wide ban on the manufacturing and importing of 60W incandescent clear light bulbs, in favour of energy-saving fluorescent and halogen bulbs and LED lights




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Posted by on 01/09/2012 in Uncategorized


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