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This Day in History - 14th August


1852 The first public lavatory was opened, on London's Fleet Street.

1888 An audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan's 'The Lost Chord', one of the first recordings of music ever made, was played during a press conference in London to introduce Thomas Edison's phonograph. The gramophone records that followed were one of the dominant audio recording formats throughout much of the 20th Century.


1908 The world's first international beauty contest was held at Folkestone, Kent.


1930 The 'cautious' (!) use of contraceptives was approved by the Church of England.


1934 The birth of Trevor Bannister, the English actor best known for having played the womanising junior salesman Mr. Lucas in the sitcom Are You Being Served? and for his role as Toby Mulberry Smith in the long-running sitcom Last of the Summer Wine.


1941 World War II: Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Atlantic Charter of war, stating their post-war aims.


1945 World War II: Following the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II.


1948 Australian cricketer Don Bradman played his last Test match innings at the Oval Cricket Ground in London. After receiving a standing ovation, he was bowled out for nought - blinded, it's claimed, by the tears in his eyes.


1948 The closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in London.


1960 The birth of Sarah Brightman, English soprano and former wife of Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Her duet 'Time To Say Goodbye' with the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli sold 12 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.


1967 All UK offshore pirate radio stations were declared illegal when the UK Marine Broadcasting Offences Act became law at midnight On This Day, but Radio Caroline continued to broadcast until March 1968.


1969 The first British troops were deployed in Northern Ireland to restore order.' Operation Banner', as it was named, was initially to be a limited operation but it lasted for 38 years.


1979 John Stonehouse, the former government minister who faked his own death, was freed from prison.


1979 The Fastnet Yacht Race was struck by tragedy when Force 10 gales and mountainous seas claimed the lives of 15 sailors and 3 rescuers. It was the worst disaster in the history of ocean yacht racing and the biggest rescue operation launched by UK authorities since the Second World War . 75 boats capsized, 5 sank and 24 crews abandoned ship. Only 85 yachts out of the 303 entries reached the finish line.


1984 The death (aged 89) of J.B. Priestley, English novelist, playwright and broadcaster. 


1990 A survey revealed that many people had yet to pay anything towards the new community charge - or poll tax. The tax replaced domestic rates in Scotland from 1989, prior to its introduction in England and Wales from 1990. In 1993 the charge was replaced by Council Tax, two years after the abolition of the 'poll tax' was announced.


2013 Mark Sutton, the 42 year old English stuntman who parachuted into the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony dressed as James Bond, was killed in a wingsuit flying accident in the Swiss Alps. The 2012 stunt had shown 'James Bond' being summoned to the Palace before skydiving with the Queen (fellow stuntman Gary Connery) into the Olympic stadium with Union-Jack emblazoned parachutes.