This Day in History - 12th May
1264The start of the Battle of Lewes (Sussex), between King Henry III and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester. It marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort and made him the 'uncrowned King of England'.
1536Sir Francis Weston, Mark Smeaton and several other alleged lovers of Anne Boleyn, wife of King Henry VIII, were tried for treason and executed 'On This Day'.
1812The birth of Edward Lear, English artist, illustrator, author, and poet. In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and in 1867 he published his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat.
1820The birth of Florence Nightingale, English hospital reformer who attended to the wounded during the Crimean War. She was born in Florence, but Embley Park in Hampshire was her family home from 1825 until her death in 1910. ‘The Lady of the Lamp’ had over 10,000 under her care in appalling and unsanitary conditions. Determined to remedy the suffering she had experienced, she raised £50,000 to establish nurses’ training in Britain.
1890The first official County Championship cricket match. Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets.
1906The pro-British magazine John Bull was published by the MP Horatio Bottomley.
1924The birth of the comedian Tony Hancock. He had a major success with his BBC series Hancock's Half Hour, first on radio from 1954, then on television from 1956, in which he soon formed a strong professional and personal bond with comic actor Sid James.
1926The Trade Union Congress called off the General Strike that had brought the nation to a standstill for nine days. Workers across the country had downed tools in support of miners, protesting at a wage cut.
1937The Coronation of George VI. The BBC televised the procession in its first ever outside broadcast. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon became queen consort and was later known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
1967The Government gave the go-ahead to proposals to convert Stansted into an international airport.
1969The minimum voting age in Britain was lowered from 21 to 18.
1994The Labour leader John Smith (aged 55) died in a London hospital after two serious heart attacks.
1997Guinness and Grand Metropolitan, two of Britain's leading drinks companies, agreed to a £23 billion mega-merger that would create the world's largest spirits group, GMG Brands.
2000Ford workers at its Dagenham plant reacted with shock and anger at the news that car production was to be transferred to Germany and Spain, with the loss of 3,000 jobs.
2001For the first time ever the FA Cup Final was held outside England when it took place at the new Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
2010Conservative David Cameron's arrival in Downing Street as Prime Minister of a coalition government, marked the end of 13 years of Labour rule, with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.