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The History of England - On this Day - 8th April


1093 new Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire was dedicated. The Grade 1 listed cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in England, with the longest nave and overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.

1838 day before his 32nd birthday, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s 236 ft steamship Great Western sailed from Bristol on her maiden voyage to New York. The journey took 15 days, half the time of the fastest sailing ship. She became the first steamship to make regular Atlantic crossings.

1925 Australian Government and the British Colonial Office offered low interest loans to encourage the Enligsh to borrow the money to emigrate to Australia.

1968 Flight 712 bound for Sydney caught fire shortly after take off from London Heathrow Airport. As a result of her heroic actions in the accident which claimed her life, Barbara Jane Harrison, a British air stewardess, was awarded a posthumous George Cross, the only GC awarded to a woman in peacetime.

1997 results of the first ultrasonic scan of the front of the Titanic revealed a series of six short slits as the principal damage to the ship after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic in 1912. There is a memorial in Southampton to the 35 engineer officers who battled to keep Titanic afloat during her fated maiden voyage.

2013 death of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, aged 87. She was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and the first woman to have held the role.