On This Day – 14th May
1080William Walcher, the Bishop of Durham and Earl of Northumberland, was murdered. As revenge, William the Conqueror ravaged the area and took the opportunity to invade Scotland and build the castle at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
1727Thomas Gainsborough, English painter and founder of the English School of portrait and landscape painting, was born.
1779The classic English horse race The Oaks was first run at the Epsom Racecourse in southern England.
1796Edward Jenner became the first British physician to carry out a successful vaccination; on an eight year old boy against smallpox. His pioneering work laid the foundation for modern immunology techniques.
1847HMS Driver completed the first circumnavigation of the world by a steamship when it arrived back at Spithead on the Hampshire coast.
1856The trial of William Palmer, doctor and poisoner, began at the Old Bailey. Palmer’s victims were poisoned with strychnine. They included creditors, at least four of his 14 illegitimate children, his mother-in-law, his wife who had brought him a large dowry, and other relations. Palmer was found guilty and executed in his native Staffordshire.
1881The death of Mary Jane Seacole, a British-Jamaican business woman and nurse who set up the “British Hotel” behind the lines during the Crimean War. She described it as “a mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers”, and provided succour for wounded servicemen on the battlefield. She was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991 and in 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton.
1889The children’s charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, was launched in London. Liverpool businessman Thomas Agnew had visited the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and was so impressed that he returned to England determined to provide similar help. In 1895 Queen Victoria became its first Royal Patron but it did not change its title to ‘Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’ or similar, as the acronym NSPCC was already well established.
1894Blackpool Tower first opened to the public who paid a 6d (six pence) entrance fee, six pence more for a ride in the lifts to the top, and a further six pence for the circus.
1926Eric Morecambe, comedian, was born. see pictures of the statue of Eric Morecambe …. at Morecambe.
1929Yorkshire and England cricketer Wilfred Rhodes took his 4000th first-class wicket during a performance of 9 for 39 at Leyton. He is the only player in history to have reached that plateau. He was also the first Englishman to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test matches.
1940The birth of the Scottish yachtsman Chay Blyth. He made the first solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe from east to west against the prevailing winds and currents aboard the 59 ft. British Steel.
1951Trains ran on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales for the first time since preservation, making it the first railway in the world to be operated by volunteers.
1957The lifting of restrictions on fuel consumption imposed during the Suez crisis.
1965The field at Runnymede, the site of the signing of the Magna Carta, was dedicated by the Queen as a memorial to the late John F Kennedy, US President.
1967 The consecration of Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Cathedral. The architect, Frederick Gibberd, winner of a worldwide design competition was sued soon after its opening for £1.3 million on five counts, the two most serious being leaks in the aluminium roof and defects in the mosaic tiles, which had begun to come away from the concrete ribs.
2013Stuart Hazell, aged 37, was jailed for a minimum of 38 years after he was given a life sentence for murdering the 12 year old schoolgirl Tia Sharp. He denied killing the youngster and hiding her body in the loft of the home he shared with her grandmother. Tia’s family sat through days of shocking and graphic evidence at the Old Bailey before Hazel eventually changed his plea to guilty, in a dramatic turn of events.
2013 The London offices of BP and Shell were raided by European regulators investigating allegations they had ‘colluded’ to rig oil prices for more than a decade.
2014Google added coast-to-coast public transport information for the whole of Great Britain to its Google Maps app. The data included departure times and routes for buses, ferries, trains and trams in England, Scotland and Wales.
2014Teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton died peacefully in his sleep. The 19-year-old, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, raised more than £3.2m for charity after news of his plight spread on social media. (By 7th April 2015 the figure had risen to more than £4.5m.)
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