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1606 – Guy Fawkes executed for involvement in the Gunpowder Plot

On This Day – 31 January 1606

Guy Fawkes (born 13 April 1570) was executed for his involvement in the 1605 Catholic plot against the Anglican King James I of England and VI of Scotland.

Continue reading “1606 – Guy Fawkes executed for involvement in the Gunpowder Plot”

Elgin Marbles controversy

When the British Empire ruled much of the world, many artifacts and artworks, including reliefs and statues from the Parthenon in Athens known as the Elgin Marbles, were taken to Britain. These have been a point of contention for sometime and are amongst the most controversial items held by the British Museum with the Greeks having requested their return. Continue reading “Elgin Marbles controversy”

What would Richard III have sounded like?

Research at the University of Leicester can even give us a clue as to what Richard III sounded like. Dr Philip Shaw, Lecturer in English Language and Old English in our School of English, has studied two letters written by Richard when he was Duke of Gloucester. In the podcast below, you can hear Dr Shaw read these letters using the approximate pronunciation and accent that we believe Richard would have used. Interestingly, the language and spelling betrays no sign of a northern dialect, being closer to what we now consider a West Midlands accent.

1936 – Abdication Crisis

11 December

In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire arose when King-Emperor Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was divorced from her first husband and was pursuing a divorce of her second. Continue reading “1936 – Abdication Crisis”

1282 – The last native Prince of Wales is killed

11 December

The Battle of Orewin Bridge was fought between an English force (led by the Marcher Lords) and the Welsh army of  Llywelyn ap Gruffudd on this day in 1282 near Builth Wells in mid-Wales. It was a decisive defeat for the Welsh as their army was destroyed and their leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Prince of Wales) was killed, and this effectively ended the independence of Wales.

 

1907 – The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London

10 December

The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection* that raged in England from 1903 until 1910. It involved the infiltration by Swedish feminists of University of London medical lectures, pitched battles between medical students and the police, police protection for the statue of a dog, a libel trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, and the establishment of a Royal Commission to investigate the use of animals in experiments. The affair became a cause célèbre that divided the country. Continue reading “1907 – The worst night of the Brown Dog riots in London”

1980 – John Lennon is murdered

8 December

At around 10:50 pm on this day in 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in the Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 pm. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman. Continue reading “1980 – John Lennon is murdered”

1703 – The Great Storm of 1703

7 December

The Great Storm of 1703 arrived from the southwest on 26 November (7 December in today’s calendar). In London, 2,000 chimney stacks collapsed. The New Forest lost 4,000 oaks. Ships were blown hundreds of miles off-course, and over 1,000 seamen died on the Goodwin Sands alone. News-bulletins of casualties and damage were sold all over England – a novelty at that time. The church declared that the storm was God’s vengeance for the sins of the nation. Daniel Defoe thought it was a divine punishment for poor performance against Catholic armies in the War of the Spanish Succession.

1854 – Battle of the Eureka Stockade

3 December

The Eureka Stockade in 1854 was a rebellion of gold miners of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, who revolted against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom. The Battle of the Eureka Stockade, was fought between miners and the Colonial forces of Australia on this day in 1854 at Eureka Lead and named for the stockade structure erected by miners during the conflict. The rebellion lasted for less than half an hour and resulted in the deaths of at least 27 people, the majority of whom were rebels. Continue reading “1854 – Battle of the Eureka Stockade”

1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed by fire

2 December

The Eddystone Lighthouse is on the dangerous Eddystone Rocks, 9 statute miles (14 km) south of Rame Head, England, United Kingdom. While Rame Head is in Cornwall, the rocks are in Devon. Continue reading “1755 – The second Eddystone Lighthouse is destroyed by fire”

1120 – The ‘White Ship’ sinks in the English Channel

25 November

The White Ship was a vessel that sank in the English Channel near the Normandy coast off Barfleur, on this day in 1120. Continue reading “1120 – The ‘White Ship’ sinks in the English Channel”

1888 – The Ripper’s last victim?

9 November

Mary Jane Kelly on this day in 1888, also known as Marie Jeanette Kelly, “Fair Emma”, “Ginger” and “Black Mary”, is widely believed to be the final victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper, who killed and mutilated several women in the Whitechapel area of London from late August to early November 1888. Continue reading “1888 – The Ripper’s last victim?”

1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, is first published

7 November

The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, and the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published. Continue reading “1665 – The London Gazette, the oldest surviving journal, is first published”

1839 – Newport Rising: The last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain

4 November

The Newport Rising was the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain when, on this day in 1839, somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 Chartist sympathisers, led by John Frost, marched on the town of Newport, Monmouthshire. Continue reading “1839 – Newport Rising: The last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in mainland Britain”

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