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August 29

1833 - The Factory Act is passed regulating working hours for children and providing for minimum education.

​1950 - British troops arrive in Korea to join the US lead United Nations force in the Korean War.

​1640 - King Charles I signs a peace treaty with Scotland.

August 28

1914 - Royal Navy destroys German patrol boats off Heligoland Bight in the first naval action of WWI.

​1837 - Pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins manufacture Worcestershire Sauce.

​1956 - England retain Cricket Ashes - Jim Laker takes 46 wickets in the series.

August 27

​1979 - Lord Louis Mountbatten is killed on his boat in Ireland by the IRA bomb.

​1776 - British defeat Americans at Battle of Long Island.

1799 - British invasion army lands in Holland.

August 26

1920 - Percy Fender (Surrey and Northants) scores 100 in 35 minutes.

1346 - Edward III, claimant of the French crown crushes the army of Philip VI of France at the Battle of Crecy.

August 25

​1940 - The RAF bombs Berlin for the first time in retaliation for a raid on London two nights earlier.

1537 - The Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest surviving Regiment in the British Army is formed.

1814 - British forces destroy the Library of Congress containing 3,000 books.

August 24

​1217 - Battle of South Foreland: English defeat the French fleet.

​1608 - First English convoy lands at Surat, India.

1751 - Thomas Colley executed in England for drowning a supposed witch.

August 23

1305 - Scottish rebel William Wallace is hanged, drawn and quartered at Smithfield, London.

1921 - The British mandate of Mesopotamia becomes the Kingdom of Iraq with the Coronation of Faisal I.

1617 - First one-way streets open in London.

August 22

​1485 - Richard III is killed at the Battle of Bosworth and Henry VII became the first king of the Tudor dynasty.

1642 - Charles I raises the Royal Standard at Nottingham igniting the English Civil War.

​1922 - Irish Nationalist Michael Collins, head of the Irish Free State, is killed by militant Republicans.

August 21

​1689 - The Battle of Dunkeld in Scotland.

​1808 - British and Portuguese forces claim their first battle victory in the Peninsula War against the French at Vimeiro.

1972 - British dock strike ends.

August 20

​1191 - Crusader King Richard I kills 3000 Muslim prisoners in Akko.

1641 - England and Scotland sign Treaty of Pacification.

1900 - Britain beats France in cricket in the Olympic games in Paris.

August 19

1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie raises his standard at Glenfinnan igniting the second Jacobite rebellion.

1399 - King Richard II surrenders to his cousin Henry.

​1561 - Mary Queen of Scots arrives in Leith after 13 years in France to assume the throne.

August 18

​1700 - English, Swedish and Dutch armies land in Seeland, Denmark.

​1932 - Englishman James Mollisson is first to fly east to west across the Atlantic.

1940 - Battle of Britain - the Hardest Day: Luftwaffe attacks the RAF in the largest ever air battle.

August 17

1836 - Registration Act makes it compulsory to register all births, deaths and marriages in Britain.

1940 - RAF volunteer Billy Fiske becomes the first US combat death in Europe in World War II.

1648 - Henry Ireton forces beat Scottish forces at the Battle of Preston, Lancashire.

August 16

​1819 - Troops charge a political meeting in Manchester killing 11 and injuring 400 in the Peterloo Massacre.

1858 - The first transatlantic telegraph is inaugurated by Queen Victoria and President James Buchanan.

​1743 - British boxing code of rules created.

August 15

1867 - The Representation of the People Act doubles the number of men eligible to vote.

1945 - Britain celebrates VJ day - victory over Japan and the end of Word War II.

1947 - India gains independence from Britain having been partitioned into India and Pakistan.

August 14

1834 - The Poor Law Amendment Act is passed introducing 'workhouses' for the healthy poor.

1941 - The Atlantic Charter, forerunner to the United Nations Charter is issued sealing the Anglo-US alliance.

​1969 - British troops are sent to Northern Ireland in a 'limited operation' to restore law and order.

August 13

​1799 - British fleet under Lord Seymour overthrows Suriname.

1814 - Cape of Good hope formally ceded by the Dutch to the British.

1913 - Invention of Stainless Steel by Harry Brearley in Sheffield.

August 12

​1822 - Lord Castlereagh commits suicide fearing blackmail over his alleged homosexuality.

​1336 - Edward III ends wool exports to Flanders.

1588 - Commander of the English fleet, Lord Howard of Effingham calls off the chase of the Spanish Armada off the coast of Scotland.

August 11

​1968 - The last steam passenger service runs on British railways, hauled by the locomotive 'Oliver Cromwell.'

​1786 - Captain Francis Light establishes the British colony of Penang in Malaysia.

���1940 - German air raids on Portsmouth and Weymouth.

August 10

​1911 - The House of Lords loses its power of veto over legislation.

1920 - Britain, France and other powers dismember the Ottoman empire by the signing of the Treaty of Sevres.

​2003 - Britain has its hottest day since records began - 38.1 C in Gravesend, Kent.

August 9

1655 - Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell divides England into 11 districts.

​1815 - Napoleon sets sail for exile in St. Helena aboard the British ship the Northumberland.

1902 - Edward VII is crowned King, succeeding Queen Victoria.

August 8

​1918 - On the 'black day of the German army, British forces make major advances in the Battle of Amiens.

1647 - English Parliamentary forces defeat Irish forces at the Battle of Dungan's Hill.

​1843 - Natal is made a British colony.

August 7

​1917 - British pilot EH Dunning, the first to land an aircraft on a ship is killed trying another landing.

1926 - Britain's first motor racing Grand Prix is held at Brooklands, Surrey and is won by the French team.

1573 - Francis Drake's fleet returns to Plymouth.

August 6

​1856 - The Great Bell is cast in the Great Clock in Westminster (Big Ben).

1861 - British annex Lagos, Nigeria.

​1962 - Jamaica becomes independent after 300 years of British rule.

August 5

​1305 - Scottish rebel William Wallace is captured and taken to London for execution.

​1583 - The first English colony in North America is founded at St. John's Bay, Newfoundland by Humphrey Gilbert.

1925 - Plaid Cymru is formed to disseminate knowledge of the Welsh Llanguage.

August 4

​1265 - Prince Edward defeats a rebellious baronial army at Evesham killing its leader Simon de Montfort.

1914 - Britain declares war on Germany in response to the German invasion of Neutral Belgium.

​1704 - English and Dutch troops occupy Gibraltar.

August 3

​1916 - Irish rebel Roger Casement is hanged for treason after seeking German backing for an uprising.

​1926 - Traffic lights installed in Piccadilly Circus.

​1833 HMS Beagle reaches the mouth of the Rio Negro.

August 2

​1100 - William II is killed by an arrow shot by Walter Tyrell while hunting in the New Forest.

​1798 - Admiral Horatio Nelson beats the French at the Battle of Nile.

​1865 - Lewis Carroll publishes 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.'

August 1

​1834 - Slavery is abolished in the British Empire granting freedom to slaves and compensation to slave owners.

​1870 - Irish Land Act gives limted but symbolically important rights to tenants of Ireland's Landlords.

​1732 - Foundations laid for bank of England.

July 31

​1917 - Third Battle of Ypres: an attempt to break the German line in Flanders begins.

1998 - The UK government imposes a total ban on the use of landmines by British armed forces.

1813 - British invade Plattsburgh, New York.

July 30

​1935 - Penguin paperback books launched to make books affordable for all.

1948 - British Nationality Act gives right of British citizenship to Commonwealth nationals.

1966 - England win the World Cup in a 4-2 defeat of West Germany at Wembley stadium.

July 29

1588 - The Armada sent by Philip II of Spain to invade England is defeated at Battle of Gravelines.

1948 - The 14th Olympic games opens in London - the first Olympics in 12 years due to the second world war.

1751 - First international world title prize fight won by Englishman Jack Stack.

July 28

​1914 - Austria Hungary declares war on Serbia after Archduke Franz Ferdinand in assassinated in Sarajevo effectively starting the first world war.

2005 - The provisional IRA formally renounces violence ending 30 years of bloodshed.

​1940 - Radio Orange begins broadcasting in London.

July 27

​1214 - king John Loses Normandy and other French possessions after defeat in the battle of Bouvines.

​1967 - The Sexual Offences Act decriminalises sex between consenting men over the age of 21.

​1586 - Sir Walter Raleigh brings first tobacco to England from Virginia.

July 26

1945 - Winston Churchill loses the General Election to Labour rival Clement Atlee.

1803 - The Surrey Iron Railway, the worlds first public railway opens in South London.

1524 - James V declared fit to govern by Scottish parliament.

July 25

1978 - Britain's first 'test tube' baby, Louise Brown is born at Oldham General Hospital.

​1603 - James VI of Scotland is crowned James I of England uniting the Kingdoms of Scotland and England.

1914 - last day of club cricket for WG Grace. He made 69 runs at age 66.

July 24

1704 - British Marines storm and seize Gibraltar from the Spanish after a navy bombardment.

​1411 - Highland and lowland Scots clash at Red Harlow, one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history.

​1935 - First greetings telegram sent in Britain.

July 23

1745 - Bonnie Prince Charlie lands at Eriskay in the Hebrides to lay claim to the British throne.

​1940 - Britain's 'Local Defence Volunteers' become known as the Home Guard after Churchill coins the name.

​1664 - Four British ships to drive the Dutch out of New York arrive in Boston.

July 22

​1298 - Edward I defeats Scottish rebels under William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk.

​1901 - House of Lords rules that Trade Unions can be sued.

​1587 - Second English colony forms on Roanoke Island off North Carolina.

July 21

​1403 - Henry IV defeats Henry Percy ('Hotspur') at the Battle of Shrewsbury.

​1588 - The Armada, an invasion fleet sent by King Philip II of Spain is sighted off the coast of Cornwall.

1866 - Cholera epidemic in London kills hundreds.

July 20

​1304 - Fall of Stirling Castle. Edward I of England takes the last rebel stronghold in the war for Scottish independence.

​1654 - Anglo-Portuguese treaty. Portugal comes under English control.

​1773 - Scottish settlers arrive at Pictou, Nova Scotia.

July 19

1545 - The Tudor warship 'Mary Rose' capsizes and sinks off Portsmouth with the loss of 500 men.

1843 - Brunel's steam ship "Great Britain" is launched becoming the first ocean going ship with an iron hull.

​1940 - Hitler makes a peace offer to Britain that Churchill rejects outright.

July 18

​1290 - Edward I issues an edict expelling all Jews from England causing 17,000 to flee.

1872 - The Ballot act introduces the secret ballot into elections, where before votes were made openly.

1536 - Pope's authority declared void in England.

July 17

1453 - The French defeat the English at the Battle of Castillon - the last clash of the 100 years war.

​1917 - George V announces that the Royal family's name will change from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

​1585 - English secret service discover Anthony Babington's murder plot against Elizabeth I.

July 16

1439 - Kissing is banned in England to stop the spread of germs.

1618 - Capt. John Gilbert patents the first dredger in Britain.

1900 - A report appears in London that all foreigners in Peking have been massacred. Although false it mobilizes support for relief efforts.

July 15

1099 - Jerusalem is captured by soldiers of the 1st Crusade, having been under Islamic rule since 655.

1207 - King John expels Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton.

1815 - Napoleon surrenders after Battle of Waterloo.

July 14

​1682 - Henry Purcell appointed organist at Chapel Royal, London.

1955 - Two are killed when lightning strikes Ascot race course.

​1967 - The Who begin a US tour opening for Herman's Hermits.

July 13

​1955 - Ruth Ellis becomes the last woman to be hanged in England at Holloway Prison, London.

1985 - Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia raise 50 million GBP for famine relief.

​1174 - William I of Scotland, key rebel in the revolt of 1173 is captured at Alnwick by forces loyal to Henry II of England.

July 12

​1191 - Soldiers of the 3rd Crusade capture the port of Acre in the Holy land and massacre its inhabitants.

​1450 - A rebellion against war taxes ends when its leader, Jack Cade is driven from London.

1965 - The creation of Britain's Comprehensive education program begins with 'Circular 10/65'.

July 11

​1376 - English "Good Parliament" meets.

​1533 - Pope Clement VII excommunicates Henry VIII.

1848 - London's Waterloo station opens.

July 10

1940 - The Battle of Britain begins with German air raids on British ports and shipping.

​1040 - Lady Godiva rides naked through Coventry (legend?) to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia to lower taxes.

1212 - The most severe of several early fires of London burns most of the city to the ground.

July 9

1553 - Lady Jane Grey is proclaimed Queen of England in succession to Edward VI who died 3 days earlier.

​1877 - The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club opens its first tournament at Wimbledon.

1900 - The Bill bringing into existence the Commonwealth of Australia receives Royal assent.

July 8

​1663 - King Charles II of England grants a charter to Rhode Island.

1836 - HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin reach Saint Helena.

1932 - Herbert Sutcliffe scores his 100th 100 in a match between Gloucestershire and Yorkshire.

July 7

1937 - The Peel Commission recommends splitting Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab States.

​2005 - Four Islamic extremist suicide bombers kill 52 people on London's transport system.

54 BC - Julius Caesar's second invasion of Britain begins as he lands his troops probably near Deal Kent.

July 6

​1535 - Sir Thomas Moore is executed for refusing to accept Henry VIII as head of the English church.

2005 - London is selected to host the 2012 Summer Olympics beating favourites, Paris.

​1685 - In the last major battle on British soil, James II beats James, Duke of Monmouth at Sedgemoor.

July 5

​1295 - Scotland and France form an alliance (the original 'Auld Alliance') against England.

1948 - Britain's National Health Service comes into operation providing free medical treatment for all.

​1596 - English fleet under the Earl of Essex plunder Cadiz.

July 4

1776 - Britain's 13 North American colonies make a public declaration of independence.

​1837 - Grand Junction Railway, the world's first long distance railway opens between Birmingham and Liverpool.

​1906 - Britain, France and Italy grant independence to Ethiopia.

July 3

1940 - Royal Navy destroys French navy at Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria to stop Germany seizing it.

1778 - British soldiers massacre 360 men, women and children in Wyoming, PA.

1920 - RAF holds an air display in Hendon.

July 2

1644 - Oliver Cromwell achieves his first major victory over Royalist forces at Marston Moor.

1698 - Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.

1928 - Parliament reduces the age at which women can vote to 21, same as men.

July 1

1690 - William III decisively defeats the deposed James II at the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland.

1916 - The British army suffers its worst day losing 19,240 men on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

1997 - Britain hands Hong Kong (ceded in 1841) back to the Peoples Republic of China.


June 30

1940 - German troops land on British soil as they begin the invasion of the undefended Channel Islands.

​1596 - English and Dutch fleet reach Cadiz.

​1860 - The 1860 Oxford Evolution debate takes place at Oxford University's Museum of Natural History.

June 29

1613 - London's Globe Theatre burns down when a theatrical canon is fired during the play 'All is true.'

1960 - BBC Television Centre opens in west London trumpeted as a Hollywood for the small screen.

1377 - French forces raid Rye.

June 28

1807 - British troops land in Ensenada, Argentina.

1838 - The Coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey.

1859 - The first dog-show is held in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

June 27

1743 - George II becomes the last British monarch to lead an army into battle defeating the French at Dettingen.

1957 - A British Medical Research Council report suggests a link between smoking and lung cancer.

1693 - First women's magazine 'The Ladies' Mercury' published in London.

June 26

​1483​ - Richard III becomes King of England after declaring his nephews Edward and Richard illegitimate.

​1553 - Christ's Hospital granted a charter.

1843 - Hong Kong proclaimed a British Crown Colony.

June 25

​1646 - Thomas Fairfax's New Model Army occupies Oxford.

​1894 - Boer leader Paul Kruger meets the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Loch to discuss grievances.

1926 - 61st British Golf Open: Bobby Jones shoots a 291 at Royal Lytham.

​June 24

1314 - Robert the Bruce defeats the English army under Edward II at Bannockburn near Stirling.

1441 - Eton College founded by Henry VI.

1497 - John Cabot claims Eastern Canada for England (he believed he had found Asia in Novia Scotia).

June 23

​1757 - Robert Clive defeats Suraja Dowla at the Battle of Plassey gaining control of North East India.

​1775 - First regatta held on the Thames.

​1925 - British warship fires on striking workers in Hong Kong harbour.

June 22

1948 - SS Empire Windrush docks at Tilbury beginning post war immigration to Britain from the Commonwealth.

​1377 - Richard II succeeds Edward III as King of England.

1675 - Royal Greenwich Observatory established by Charles II.

June 21

​1813 - Wellington defeats the French decisively at the battle of Vitoria ending Napoleon's control of Spain.

1919 - The German high seas fleet, which had surrendered to the Royal Navy scuttles itself at Scapa Flow.

1887 - Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

June 20

1984 - GCSE examinations replace O levels and CSEs in a Tory government educational shake-up.

1214 - University of Oxford receives its charter.

1756 - 146 British soldiers are imprisoned in the 'black hole of Calcutta' by Nawab of Bengal Siraj Ud Daulah. Only 23 survive.

June 19

1215 - King John and his Barons seal the Magna Carta, a statement of English liberties.

1829 - The Metropolitan Police Act establishes a paid, uniformed police for London.

​1306 - The Earl of Pembroke's army defeats Robert Bruce's Scottish army at the battle of Methven.

June 18

​1812 - The War of 1812 begins as the US declares war on Britain over interdiction of trade with France.

1815 - Wellington decisively beats Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo ending 25 years of war.

1178 - Five monks at Canterbury report seeing an explosion on the moon.


June 17

1775 - British troops are victorious at Bunker Hill - the first battle in the American Revolutionary War.

1940 - More than 3000 die as RMS Lancastria is sunk by German bombers.

1497 - Battle of Deptford Bridge. Henry VII forces beat Cornish rebels led by Michael An Gof.

June 16

​1487 - Henry VII defeats pretender Lambert Simnel at Stoke in the final battle of the War of the Roses.

1779 - Spain declares war on Britain in support of US and the siege of Gibraltar begins.

1880 - Salvation Army forms in London.

June 15

1381 - The Peasants Revolt against a Poll tax is ended when its leader, Wat Tyler is killed.

​1919 - British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown complete the first non-stop trans Atlantic flight.

1215 - King John signs the Magna Carta at Runnymede near Windsor.

June 14

1645 - Oliver Cromwell routs the Royalists at the Battle of Naseby, giving Parliament victory.

1822 - British Scientist, Charles Babbage proposes a 'difference engine,' the forerunner of the modern computer.

1982 - The Argentinian garrison at Port Stanley surrenders ending the Falklands War.

June 13

1944 - German V1 'Flying Bombs' are used against Britain for the first time. Six die in Bethnal Green.

1917 - The deadliest WWI air raid against London takes place killing 162 and injuring 432 others.

​1956 - After 72 years, Britain gives up control of the Suez Canal to Egypt.

June 12

1381 - Peasants revolt in England: rebels arrive at Blackheath.

1665 - New Amsterdam renamed New York by English after Dutch pull out of the city.

​1944 - British 12th Airborne batallion and the 13th and 18th Hussars attack and capture Breville.

June 11

1488 - Rebels defeat and depose James III of Scotland at the Battle of Sauchieburn, making his son James, King.

1987 - Prime Minister Thatcher wins a third term in office - the 1st politician to do so in 160 years.

1578 - England grants Sir Humphrey Gilbert a patent to explore and colonise North America.

June 10

​1719 - Jacobite rising - the battle of Glen Shiel.

1720 - Mrs Clements of England markets first paste-style mustard.

1846 - Scottish inventor Robert William Thomson obtains the British patent on the rubber tyre.

June 9

1549 - Book of Common Prayer is adopted by the Church of England.

​1752 - French Army surrenders to the British Army in Trichinopoly, India.

1957 - Anthony Eden resigns as British prime minister.

June 8

793 - Lindesfarne monastery in Northumberland is sacked by Viking raiders and the monks are slaughtered.

1929 - Margaret Bondfield is Britain's first female cabinet minister serving as minister of labour.

1946 - Field Marshall Lord Montgomery leads a World War II victory parade through London.

June 7

​1099 - First Crusaders arrive in Jerusalem.

1546 - England signs Peace of Andres with Scotland and Ireland.

​1862 - The United States and Britain agree to suppress the slave trade.

June 6

​1944 - The Allied invasion of Europe begins with D-Day landings of 150,000 troops in Normandy.

​1946 - The government reveals that 357,116 members of Britain's armed forces were killed in World War Two.

1520 - England and France sign the treaty of Scotland.

June 5

1916 - A British backed Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire is proclaimed with an attack on Medina.

​1661 - Isaac Newton admitted as a student to Trinity College, Cambridge.

1942 - British offensive in North Africa under General Ritchie.

June 4

1832 - The Great Reform Act redistributes Parliamentary seats giving more to industrial cities.

1913 - Suffragette Emily Davison dies after throwing herself in front of the King's horse at the Epsom Derby.

1850 - self deodorizing fertilizer patented in England (we should all be impressed with that). 

June 3

​1098 - The First Crusade captures Antioch after an eight month siege.

​1940 - The last ship of Operation Dynamo leaves Dunkirk completing the evacuation of 338,226 allied troops.

1899 - W G Grace's last day of test cricket aged 50 years, 320 days.

June 2

​1953 - Elizabeth II is crowned Queen in Westminster Abbey.

​1780 - Anti Catholic demonstration attacks Parliament in London.

​1910 - Charles S. Rolls conducts the first round trip flight over the English channel.

June 1

​1879 - Eugene Napoleon, the last heir to Napoleon's dynasty is killed fighting for Britain in the Zulu wars.

1967 - The Beatles release the groundbreaking album 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.'

​1796 - Last of Britain's troops withdraw from the US.

May 31

​1076 - The execution of Waltheof of Northumbria ends the 'revolt of the Earls' against William the Conqueror.

​1902 - The 2nd Boer War ends with the Treaty of Vereeniging which gives Britain sovereignty in South Africa.

1916 - The Naval Battle of Jutland begins.

May 30

1431 - Joan of Arc is burnt at the stake in Rouen after the English find her guilty of heresy.

​1593 - Leading Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe is stabbed to death in a pub brawl in Deptford.

1942 - The RAF carries out its first '1000 bomber raid' dropping 2000 tons of bombs on Cologne.

May 29

​1660 - Charles II arrives in London from exile in Netherlands to claim his throne. It's his birthday.

1953 - Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to climb Everest, the world's highest mountain.

1969 - Britain's trans-Arctic expedition makes first crossing of Arctic Sea ice.

May 28

1936 - A paper by British mathematician Alan Turing sets out the theoretical basis for modern computers.

​1961 - The Observer launches 'appeal for amnesty' campaign (forerunner of Amnesty International).

1588 - Spanish Armada leaves Lisbon to invade England (oh that's not going to end well...)

May 27

1940 - 'Operation Dynamo' - the mass evacuation of British and French troops from Dunkirk begins.

1941 - The German battleship 'Bismark' is sunk by the Royal Navy with 110 survivors from its crew of 2192.

​1679 - Habeaus Corpus Act (no false arrest and imprisonment) passes in England.

May 26

1868 - The last public execution in Britain - the hanging of murderer Michael Barrett - takes place at Newgate.

1900 - British troops under Ian Hamilton attack the Vaal in South Africa.

1906 - Vauxhall Bridge is opened in London.

May 25

​1659 - Oliver Cromwell's son, Richard, resigns as Lord Protector allowing Charles II restoration.

1868 - Australian Aboriginal Cricket tour of England begins v Surrey Gentlemen.

​1914 - House of Commons passes Irish Home Rule Bill.

May 24

​1337 - The hundred years war begins when France confiscates Gascony from Edward III.

1941 - HMS Hood is sunk by the German battleship 'Bismark' with just 3 survivors from the 1419 crew.

1689 - Parliament guarantees freedom of religion for Protestants.

May 23

​1701  - The notorious pirate William Kidd is hanged in London (at 2nd attempt) for piracy.

1798 - The United Irishmen rebel against British rule in Ireland but despite French help they are defeated.

​1275 - King Edward I orders cessation of persecution of French Jews.

May 22

1455 - The Wars of the Roses begins with Richard of York's victory at the Battle of St. Albans.

​1826 - The HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.

1840 - The transporting of convicts to the New South Wales colony is abolished.

1897 - The Blackwall Tunnel under the River Thames is officially opened.

May 21

685 - English settlement is halted at the Firth of Forth when Picts defeat Northumbrians at Nachtansmere.

​1420 - Charles VI cedes France to Henry V of England in the Treaty of Troyes, after Henry's victory at Agincourt.

​1840 - New Zealand becomes a British colony.

May 20

1609 - Shakespeare's sonnets are first published by Thomas Thorpe in London.

1840 - York Minster badly damaged by fire.

1845 - HMS Erebus and HMS Terror with 134 men under John Franklin sail from the Thames River beginning a disastrous expedition to find the North-West passage. All hands are lost.

May 19

​1536 - Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, executed on charges on adultery and incest.

​1943 - Churchill and Roosevelt agree May 1st 1944 as the date for the D-Day Landings. Actually takes place on June 6, 1944.

​1992 - Englishman Dave Gauder, 224lbs, pulls a 196 ton Jumbo jet, three inches.

May 18

​1991 - Helen Sharman becomes the first Briton in space aboard the Soviet Soyuz TM-12.

1830 - Edwin Budding of England signs an agreement for the manufacture of his invention - the lawn mower.

1900 - Britain proclaims protectorate over Kingdom of Tonga.

May 17

​1865 - Thomas Cooke begins conducted tours of the continent - the first overseas package holiday.

1900 - The British Garrison at Mafeking, South Africa, under Robert Baden-Powell is relieved after a Boer siege of 215 days.

1590 - Anne of Denmark is crowned Queen of Scotland.

May 16

1943 - The 'Dambusters Raid' by the RAF's 617 squadron breaches two huge dams in Germany's Ruhr Valley.

1568 - Mary Queen of Scots flees to England.

1879 - The Treaty of Gandamak between Russia and England sets up a new Afghan state.

May 15

1649 - The 'Rump Parliament' under Oliver Cromwell declares England a 'Commonwealth' or free state.

1957 - Britain tests its first Hydrogen bomb over Christmas Island in the Pacific.

1718 - James Puckle, a London Lawyer, patents the worlds first machine gun.

May 14

​1796 - English Doctor Edward Jenner administers the first vaccination against smallpox using pus from cowpox (nice).

1948 - The British Mandate in Palestine ends and the state of Israel is proclaimed by Jewish groups.

​1702 - England and Netherlands declare war on France and Spain.

May 13

​1787 - The 'First Fleet' carrying convicts sets sail for Australia where it will set up a penal colony.

1943 - Britain and its allies secure victory in North Africa with the surrender of 250,000 German and Italian troops.

​1607 - English colonists lead by John Smith land near James River in Virginia.

May 12

​1655 - English troops take Jamaica from the Spanish, making it a hub for rum production and slave trading.

1926 - The General Strike ends after nine days but the miners stay out.

1835 - Charles Darwin visits copper mines in northern Chile.

May 11

1812 - Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is shot dead in the House of Commons by businessman John Bellingham.

​1812 - Waltz introduced into English ballrooms. Observers condemned it as disgusting and immoral.

​1689 - Battle of Bantry Bay between English and French fleets.

May 10

​1857 - A year long Indian mutiny ignites among British Indian Army units at Meerut, near Dehli.

​1291 - Scottish nobles recognise the authority of English King Edward I.

​1824 - National Gallery in London opens in temporary location in a town house in Pall Mall.

May 9

1386 - England and Portugal sign the Treaty of Windsor, the oldest alliance in Europe still in force.

​1671 - The Crown Jewels are briefly stolen from the Tower of London by the Irish adventurer Colonel Thomas Blood.

​1785 - British Inventor Joseph Bramah patents the beer pump handle (good man).

May 8

1660 - Parliament declares Charles II king of England, restoring the monarchy.

1945 - Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces the end of the war in Europe following Germany's surrender.

1984 - The Thames Barrier is officially opened by the Queen.

May 7

1429 - English siege of Orleans broken by Joan of Arc and the French army.

1663 - Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London opens.

1765 - HMS Victory is launched (Admiral Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, 40 years later).

May 6

1954 - Roger Bannister becomes the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, in Oxford.

1992 - The Channel Tunnel opens linking London and Paris by Rail.

1882 - Epping Forest dedicated by Queen Victoria.

May 5

​1980 - The SAS storms the Iranian embassy in London freeing 19 hostages held by terrorists.

1981 - IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands dies in the Maze Prison Northern Ireland.

​1814 - British attack Fort Ontario, Oswego, New York.

May 4

1979 - Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female prime minister after a landslide election win.

1776 - Rhode Island declares independence from Britain (how rude).

1859 - The Cornwall Railway opens across the Royal Albert Bridge linking Devon and Cornwall.

May 3

1926 - The only 'General strike' in British history begins amid fears of pay cuts and increased hours.

​1951 - George VI opens the festival of Britain on London's South Bank on the centenary of the Great Exhibition.

​1906 - British controlled Egypt takes Sinai peninsula from Turkey.

May 2

1982 - The Argentinian warship General Belgrano is sunk by the HMS Conqueror submarine.

​1997 - New Labour wins the General Election ending 18 years of Conservative government.

1536 - King Henry VIII accuses Anne Boleyn of adultery and incest.

May 1

1707 - The Act of Union takes effect and England and Scotland become Great Britain.

1328 - The wars of Scottish Independence end with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton recognising an independent Scotland.

1840 - The first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black is issued.

April 30

​1763 - Member of parliament and journalist John Wilkes is confined in the Tower of London charged with seditious libel.

​1859 - Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is first published.

1938 - First televised FA Cup Final - between Huddersfield Town and Preston North End.

April 29

​1909 - Chancellor David Lloyd George brings in the 'Peoples Budget' to pay for Britain's welfare state.

1707 - English and Scottish parliaments accept the Act of Union forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1930 - Telephone connection between England and Australia comes into service.

April 28

1789 - Fletcher Christian leads a successful mutiny against Captain William Bligh on the HMS Bounty.

1944 - The Slapton Sands disaster claims 750 American lives as troops rehearse for the D-Day landings.

1686 - First volume of Isaac Newton's 'Principia' published.

April 27

1908 - London hosts its first Olympic games at White City as the original host, Rome, drops out.

​1968 - Abortion is legalised in Britain as Royal Assent is given to the 1967 Abortion Act.

1124 - David I becomes King of Scots.

April 26

1607 - First British to establish an American colony arrive in Cape Henry, Virginia.

1915 - Italy secretly signs Pact of London with Britain, France and Russia.

​1928 - Madame Tussaud's wax work exhibition opens in London.

April 25

​1920 - Britain is given mandates for the former Ottoman territories of Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine.

1954 - British raid Nairobi, Kenya arresting 25,000 suspected Mau Mau terrorists.

​1707 - Battle of Almansa: Franco-Spanish defeat Anglo-Portuguese forces.

April 24

1916 - The Easter Rising, a nationalist rebellion against British rule in Ireland begins in Dublin.

1942 - Germany begins ' Baedeker raids' bombing cultural targets in Bath, Norwich, Exeter, York and Hull.

1880 - Amateur Athletic Association, the governing body for men's athletics is founded in Oxford.


April 23

1838 - Brunel's 'Great Western' and 'Sirius' become the first ships to cross the Atlantic by steam power alone.

1348 - First English Order of Knighthood (order of Garter) formed.

​1597 - Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor first performed with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.

April 22

1951 - An heroic stand by the 'Glorious Glosters' at Imjin River, Korea allows UN forces to regroup.

1659 - Lord protector, William Cromwell disbands English Parliament.

1930 - Britain, US and Japan sign the London Naval Treaty (seems like Japan forgot this a few years later).

April 21

​1509 - Henry VIII becomes King of England.

​1925 - Noel Coward's 'Fallen Angels' premieres in London.

​1952 - BOAC begins world's first jet airliner passenger service (London to Rome route).

April 20

1968 - Enoch Powell makes his notorious 'rivers of blood' speech against immigration.

1775 - British begin siege of Boston.

1931 - House of Commons agrees to allow sporting events to be played on Sundays.

April 19

1012 - Viking raiders kill Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury before being bought off with a huge bribe.

​1587 - Sir Francis Drake 'singes the King of Spain's beard' by attacking his fleet in the Spanish port of Cadiz. Sneaky.

​1770 - Capt. James Cook first sights Australia.

April 18

1775 - American Revolutionary War begins with Battles of Lexington and Concord. The British win both.

1949 - The Republic of Ireland is formed, the 6 counties of Northern Ireland remain with Britain.

1809 - 1st run of the 2000 Guineas race at Newmarket.

April 17

1951 - The Peak District is designated Britain's first National Park.

​1397 - Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

1534 - Sir Thomas More is confined in the Tower of London.

April 16

1746 - In the last battle on British soil the Duke of Cumberland defeats the Jacobites at Culloden.

1705 - Queen Anne knights Isaac Newton at Trinity College, Cambridge.

1912 - Harriet Quimby becomes the first women pilot to cross the English channel.


April 15

1941 - German bombers hit Belfast including the Shipyard that built the Titanic, killing 700.

​1755 - Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language published in London.

1802 - William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, see a 'long belt' of daffodils inspiring the former to pen "I wandered lonely as a cloud."

April 14

​1471 - Yorkist forces defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Barnet restoring Edward IV to the throne.

1912 - RMS Titanic hits an iceberg at 11:40 pm off Newfoundland.

979 - Challenge to throne of King Aethelred II of England.

April 13

1640 - Charles I's eleven years of personal rule ends with the calling of the 'short parliament.'

1829 - Catholic Emancipation Act allows Catholics to sit in Parliament and hold public office.

1919 - British soldiers kill hundreds of unarmed Indian civilians at a protest in Amritsar, India.

April 12

1606 - The combined English-Scottish 'Union Jack' is created by royal decree, originally for use at sea only.

1894 - British-Belgian secret accord to divide Central Africa.

1911 - First non-stop London to Paris flight (Pierre Prier 3hr 56 mins).

April 11

1689 - William III and Mary II crowned as joint rulers of Britain.

1941 - Germany blitzes Coventry.

1957 - Britain agrees to Singaporean self-rule.

1471 - King Edward IV conquers London from Henry VI.

April 10

1998 - Peace talks in Northern Ireland end with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

1710 - The first law regulating copyright is issued in Great Britain (paraphrased as 'hey, that's my stuff!').

1858 - Big Ben, the 13.76 tonne bell is recast in the Tower of Westminster.

 April 9

1413 - Henry V is crowned King of England.

1783 - Tippu Sahib drives out British from Bednore, India.

1483 - Edward V (aged 12) succeeds his father, Edward IV as king but is never crowned - instead along with his younger Brother Richard is placed in the Tower, then disappears, presumed murdered.

April 8

1904 - The 'Entente Cordiale' is signed by Britain and France ending centuries if intermittent conflict.

1838 - Steamship 'Great Western' makes maiden voyage from Bristol to New York.

1961 - British liner 'Dara' explodes in the Persian Gulf killing 236.

April 7

​1739 - Dick Turpin, highwayman is hanged for horse theft at York Knavesmire.

1827 - English Chemist John Walker invents wooden matches.

1941 - British Generals Neame and O'Connor captured in North Africa.

April 6

​1320 - Scots reaffirm their independence by signing the declaration of Arbroath.

1925 - First film shown on an airplane flight (British Air/Imperial Air flight, Croydon to Paris - such trend setters).

1943 - British and American forces link up in North Africa in World War II.

April 5

​1847 - The world's first municipal park, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton opens in Birkenhead.

1955 -Winston Churchill steps down from his second term as Prime Minister, retiring at 80.

1621 - Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Mass on its return trip to England.

April 4

1581 - Francis Drake knighted by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind at Deptford.

1900 - Assassination attempt on the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII - shot in protest of Boer War.

1944 - British troops capture Addis Ababa in Ethiopia

April 3

1043 - Edward the Confessor crowned King of England (notice original 'royal wave' in picture).

1721 - Robert Walpole becomes first Lord of the Treasury (effectively the 1st Prime Minister).

1913 - British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst sentenced to three years in prison.

April 2

1801 - Admiral Horatio Nelson destroys the Danish Fleet at Copenhagen ignoring orders to withdraw.

1977 - Red Rum wins the Grand National for a historic third time.

​1982 - Argentina invades the British territory of the Falkland Islands precipitating war.

April 1

1918 - The RAF is created from the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy Air Service.

1318 - Berwick-upon-Tweed is captured by the Scottish from the English.

1891 - The London - Paris telephone connection opens (everyone must have thought it was an April Fool's joke. Why call the French?)

March 31

​1657 - Parliament offers Oliver Cromwell the title of King in "humble Petition and Advice'. He rejects.

1939 - Britain and France issue guarantees that they will declare war if Poland is invaded by Germany.

1990 - New Local taxes spark the 'Poll Tax' riots in London.

March 30

​1603 - The 'Nine years war' between England and Irish rebel Hugh O'Neill ends with the surrender of the Irish.

1856 - The Crimean war ends with the Treaty of Paris, a setback to Russian ambitions.

1944 - The RAF suffers its heaviest loss of the war losing 95 aircraft in an attack on Nuremberg.

March 29

1673 - The Test Act excluding Catholics from holding public office, receives royal assent.

1912 - Captain Robert Falcon Scott makes his last diary entry before dying on his way back from the south pole.

1945 - The last German V1 flying bomb lands harmlessly on open ground in Sittingbourne, Kent.

March 28

​1854 - Britain and France join the Ottoman empire in the Crimean War against Russia to halt Russian expansion (hmmm - this is strangely familiar).

1964 - First pirate radio station: Radio Caroline.

1942 - British Naval forces raid Nazi occupied French port of St. Nazaire.

March 27

1871 - The first international rugby match takes place. Scotland beats England.

​1945 - The last German V2 rocket falls on England killing a woman on Kynaston Road in Orpington, Kent.

1790 - The modern shoestring (string and shoe holes) invented in England.

March 26

1934 - Driving tests are introduced under the Road Traffic Act (say goodbye to fun on the road).

1668 - Britain takes control of Bombay, India.

1886 - First cremation in England.

​1780 - First British Sunday newspaper is published: The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor.

March 25

1305 - Robert the Bruce is crowned King of the Scots and will lead a successful rebellion against the English.

1807 - Slave trade is abolished in the British empire after parliamentary bill gains royal assent.

1199 - Richard the Lion Heart is mortally wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting French forces.

March 24

1603 - Elizabeth I dies and is succeeded by James VI of Scotland unifying the English and Scottish crowns.

1906 - "Census of the British Empire" shows that Britain rules 1/5 of the world.

1922 - Grand National at Aintree sees only 3 horses of 32 starters finish.


March 23

1657 - England and France form alliance against Spain (that's not something you see every day).

1848 - The ship John Wickliffe arrives at Port Chalmers carrying the first Scottish settlers for Dunedin, New Zealand.

1881 - Boers and Britain sign a peace accord ending the first Boer war. 

March 22

​1765 - Parliament passes the Stamp Act - a tax on American documents that ignites calls for independence.

1829 - Britain, France and Russia establish the borders of Greece.

1888 - English Football League established (and sealed the fate of Saturday afternoons for ever).

March 21

​1556 - The first protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer is burnt at the stake for heresy.

1859 - Scottish National Gallery opens in Edinburgh.

​1899 - British and French sign accord over West Africa (West Africans probably not given a pen).

March 20

1616 - Walter Raleigh released from the Tower of London to seek gold in Guyana (we'd take that deal).

1957 - Britain accepts UN role to mediate in Cyprus but Greece rejects it.

1888 - Start of the Sherlock Holmes adventure "A Scandal in Bohemia."

March 19

1982 - Argentinian scrap metal merchants land on South Georgia, Falkland islands and raise the Argentine flag.

1628 - Massachusetts colony founded by Englishmen (little did they know...)

1866 - Immigrant ship 'Monarch of the Seas' sinks in Liverpool - 738 die.


March 18

​1834 - Six farm workers from Tolpuddle, Dorset are sentenced to transportation to Australia for forming a Trade Union.

1891 - Britain is linked to mainland Europe by Telephone (say goodbye to that piece of string).

2003 - British sign language is recognised as an official British language. 

March 17

1921 - Marie Stopes opens the first British clinic to advise women about birth control (in Holloway).

2003 - Britain and US abandon attempts to get UN backing for an invasion of Iraq.

1337 - Edward, the Black Prince is made Duke of Cornwall, the first Duchy made in England.

March 16

1872 - In the first FA Cup final Wanderers defeat the Royal Engineers at the Kennington Oval.

1976 - Prime Minister Harold Wilson announces his shock resignation.

1190 - Jews living in York besieged in Clifford's Tower are massacred or commit suicide rather than submit to baptism.

March 15

1877 - England and Australia play the first ever test match. Australia win by 45 runs -do things change?

1360 - French raid English south coast at Winchelsea.

1957 - Britain is the third nation to explode a nuclear bomb.

March 14

​1757 - Admiral John Byng is executed at Portsmouth for failing in an attack against the French (ouch).

​1991 - The Birmingham six, jailed for killing 21 people in two IRA bombings have their convictions quashed.

1945 - RAF cut the Hannover - Hamm railway link.

March 13

1781 - British astronomer Frederick Herschel discovers the planet Uranus (avoiding jokes here).

1996 - A lone gunman kills 16 children and their teacher in a school in Dunblane.

1894 - Englishman J L Johnstone invents the horse race starting gate.

March 12

1930 - Gandhi starts a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience against British rule in India.

1609 - Bermuda becomes an English colony. Good choice.

1881 - Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world's first black international football player and captain.

March 11

​1708 - Queen Anne withholds Royal assent from the Scottish Militia Bill - the last time a Monarch vetoes legislation.

​1864 - The Great Sheffield Flood (a man-made disaster) kills 250 people.

1963 - Somalia drops diplomatic relations with Britain (really? Look where that got you...)

March 10

1629 - Charles I begins the '11 years tyranny' by dissolving Parliament.

1801 - The first official census is held in Britain revealing a population of approx 10 million people.

1931 - Labour party removes fascist Sir Oswald Moseley.

March 9

1566 - David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary I of Scotland is murdered in Holyroodhouse Palace, Edinburgh.

1949 - England beat South Africa by scoring 174 runs in 94 minutes (ah...the good old days).

1956 - The first weather forecasting phone line set up in London.

March 8

​1702 - Queen Anne ascends the thrown after the death of King William III

​1801 - British drive French forces from Abukir, Egypt.

1962 - The Beatles (with Pete Best) TV debut on BBC performing 'Dream Baby' - most of the band went on to some degree of fame (oops).

March 7

1804 - The Royal Horticultural Society is formed by Joseph Wedgewood to promote good gardening.

1530 - Henry VIII's divorce request is denied by the Pope so he declares himself supreme head of England's Church

1902 - Boers beat British troops at Tweebosch, Transvaal, South Africa.

March 6

1957 - The Gold Coast is the first British colony in Africa to gain independence becoming Ghana.

1961 - First London minicabs introduced (in London - that makes sense, right?)

1836 - HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin reach King George's Sound, Australia.

March 5

1770 - British troops kill three members of a mob in the 'Boston Massacre.'

1936 - the Spitfire makes its maiden flight at Eastleigh Aerodrome.

1946 - Winston Churchill makes his 'Iron Curtain' speech in Fulton Missouri warning of the Soviet threat.

March 4

1941 - A daring raid on the Lofoten Islands, Norway captures a German Enigma machine and code books.

1969 - East end gang bosses Ronald and Reginald Kray are found guilty of murder.

1215 - King John of England makes an oath as a Crusader to Pope Innocent III to gain his support.

March 3

​1985 - The year long Miner's strike ends in defeat for the Miners.

1284 - Statute of Rhuddlan incorporates the Principality of Wales into England.

1891 - The Football Penalty Spot Kick Rule is conceived but does not come into effect until the following season. Let the diving begin.

March 2

1882 - Queen Victoria narrowly escapes assassination as a man shoots at her as she boards a train in Windsor.

1969 - Anglo-French built Concorde makes its maiden flight.

​1717 - 'The Loves of Mars and Venus' becomes the first ballet performed in England.

March 1

1979 - Referendums in Scotland and Wales both reject devolution crippling Britain's Labour govt.

1587 - English parliament leader Peter Wentworth confined in Tower of London (and told to think about what he'd done?)

1854 - SS City of Glasgow leaves Liverpool and is never seen again.

Feb 28

1913 - A 6.8m 4000 kg elephant seal is killed and displayed in South Georgia (S. Atlantic).

1939 - Britain recognises the Franco regime in Spain.

1941 - The first British-Italian dog fights take place above Albania (yes, that's with planes).

Feb 27

1900 - The Labour Representation Committee is formed - the predecessor of the Labour Party.

1696 - Welsh and English nobles lay down the Oath of Association.

1874 - Baseball first played in England at Lords Cricket Grounds.

Feb 26

1797 - Bank of England issues first 1 pound note.

1907 - Royal Oil and Shell merge to form British Petroleum (BP).

1952 - PM Winston Churchill announces that Britain has its own atomic bomb.


Feb 25

1570 - Elizabeth I is labelled a heretic by Pope Pius V, who releases her subjects from allegiance to her.

1838 - London pedestrian walks 20 miles backwards then forwards in 8 hours (and we don't have his / her name!).

1939 - First Anderson Bomb shelter built in an Islington garden.

Feb 24

​1848 - Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is published in London.

1950 - Labour wins British parliamentary election.

1807 - 17 die and 15 are wounded in a crush to witness the execution of Holloway, Heggerty and Elizabeth Godfrey, three London murderers.

​Feb 23

1689 - Dutch Prince William III proclaimed King of England.

1886 - London Times publishes world's first classified ad (who would know to look for it?).

1900 - Boer War battle at Hart's Hill, South Africa.

Feb 22

1797 - American William Tate leads a French army at Fishguard, Wales - the last invasion of Britain by a foreign force.

1997 - The first successful cloning of a mammal, Dolly the sheep, by scientists in Scotland.

1825 - Russia and Britain establish Alaska / Canada border.

Feb 21

1437 - James I of Scotland is stabbed to death by Sir Robert Graham at Perth sparking civil war.

1804 - Richard Trevithick's 1st Locomotive runs for the first time in Wales.  No indication as to whether it ran on time.

1922 - Britain grants Egypt independence.


Feb 20

1472 - Scotland claims the Shetland and Orkney islands after the King of Norway defaults on a dowry payment. Harsh but fair.

1947 - Lord Louis Mountbatten is appointed the last Viceroy of India.

1746 - Bonnie Prince Charlie occupies Inverness Castle.

Feb 19

1959 - Britain, Turkey and Greece sign agreement granting Cyprus independence.

1674 - Netherlands and England sign 'Peace of Westminster' -New York becomes that!

1964 - UK flies 0.5 tons of Beatles wigs to the US. Yes, you read that right.

Feb 18

1915 - Germany starts a U-Boat blockade of Britain in retaliation for blockade of German ports.

1968 - British Standard Time is introduced bringing Britain in line with European time. Abandoned in 1971.

2005 - Hunting of wild mammals with dogs is banned in England and Wales.

Feb 17

1795 - Thomas Seddal harvests an 8.3kg potato from his garden in Chester (and probably made chips with it).

1836 HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin leave Tasmania.

1938 - First public demonstration of Baird colour TV in London.

Feb 16

1646 - Battle of Great Torrington, North Devon - the last major battle of the first Civil War.

1894 - British troops occupy Ilorin, Gold Coast.

1923 - British Archaeologist Howard Carter finds the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen (did anyone know it was lost?)

Feb 15

1942 - Britain's colony of Singapore surrenders to Japanese forces attacking by land.

1971 - Decimal currency replaces the pound, shilling and pence system.

1882 - First cargo of frozen meat leaves New Zealand for Britain on SS Dunedin.

Feb 14

1779 - British navigator Captain James Cook is killed by indigenous Hawaiians after a row over a stolen boat (so much for a tropical paradise!)

1797 - Captain Horatio Nelson distinguishes himself as the Royal Navy defeats the Spanish fleet.

​1989 - British author Salman Rushdie is sentenced to death for blasphemy by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Feb 13

1692 - In the 'Massacre of Glencoe' the Campbells slaughter the MacDonalds for opposing Wiliam III.

​1602 - John Lancaster leads the first East India Company voyage from London.

1858 - Sir Richard Burton (no, not that one) and John Speake explore Lake Tanganyika, Africa.

Feb 12

1554 - Lady Jane Grey is executed for treason after reigning as Queen of England for nine days.

1938 - The first Jewish refugee children from Nazi Germany arrive in Britain on the 'kindertransport.'

1709 - Alexander Selkirk, Scottish Seaman is rescued after 4+ years from Fernandez Island (inspiration for Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe").

Feb 11

1531 - Henry VIII recognised as supreme head of the Church of England

1852 - First British female public toilet opens on Bedford St. London (the first lady to spend a penny was...relieved)

1878 - The first weekly weather report published in the UK

Feb 10

1763 - Treaty of Paris ends French-Indian war surrendering Canada to Britain

1878 - Henry Morton Stanley departs for the Congo (we presume...)

1943 - British 8th Army sweeps through Tunisia

Feb 9

1649 - Charles I is buried without funeral at Windsor rather than Westminster to avoid public disturbances. Sneaky.

1916 - Britain's military service act prescribing conscription is enacted.

Feb 8

1587 - Mary Queen of Scots is executed for treason against Elizabeth I.

1983 - Derby winner Shergar is kidnapped by the IRA and ransomed for two million pounds. He's never seen again.

1622 - King James I disbands the English Parliament (hmm...not a bad idea).

Feb 7

1301 - Edward, eldest son of Edward I is made the first English Prince of Wales - a tradition continued today. Not sure what the Welsh made of that at the time.

1992 - The Maastricht Treaty establishes the European Union of 12 nations including the UK.

1974 - Grenada gains independence from Britain.

Feb 6

1918 - Britain grants all women over 30 and all men over 21 the vote (guess it seemed fair at the time).

1952 - George VI dies at age 56.

1840 - A confederation of Maori Chiefs signs the treaty of Waitangi making New Zealand a British Colony.

Feb 5

1953 - Sweet rationing ends in Britain sparking a scramble for toffee apples and nougat.

1996 - The first genetically modified foods go on sale in the UK: tomato puree with a 'no rotting' gene.

1782 - Spanish take Minorca from the British (later we attacked with beach towels).

Feb 4

​211 - Roman Emporer Septimus Severus dies at York while campaigning to subdue Northern Britain (many have tried!)

1810 - Royal Navy seizes Guadeloupe

1945 - Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin meet at the Black SEa port of Yalta to shape the post WWII world.


This Day in British History (and some British history podcasts thrown in for good luck):

  • So Few. Aug 20th 19403:37
  • Their Finest Hour June 19405:24
  • His Spiritual Message to the World (1931)1:30
  • Do Your Worst and We Will Do Our Best6:00
  • The Navy Is Here Feb 19404:37

History - we have bucket loads of it. Some countries...well, not so much.

So if you are wondering if this is a day of historic British glory or one to quietly brush under the Axminster carpet of time - read on.  We'll put up some stirring stuff here along with events that make you wonder if, at times, it all went horribly wrong.  Either way, get your stiff upper lip ready and check one more time that the extra pint at lunch didn't result in the up-side down hoisting of your Union Jack.  I know it's tricky - just better go check it again now. 

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Got time for a little British historical footage?  Yes, you do.

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or give your ears a chance: here's some British history worth listening to.

Brit News

Here's some other 'on this day' entries (warning: browsing these can be a time sponge - say goodbye to your day)...