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This Day in History - 15th January


1535 Henry VIII assumed the title 'Supreme Head of the Church'.

1559 Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England at the age of 26. She was the daughter of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn and the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty.


1759 The opening of the British Museum, at Montague House, London. Access often depended on who you were and who you knew. Permission had to be given by the librarian and only 10 people an hour were allowed in. Its permanent collection numbers some eight million works and is amongst the finest, most comprehensive, and largest in existence. It illustrates and documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present day.


1790 Fletcher Christian, eight fellow mutineers from the ship Bounty, six Tahitian men and 12 women, landed on the remote Pacific island of Pitcairn following the mutiny led by Christian.They stripped the Bounty of all that could be floated ashore before setting it on fire.


1797 The first top hat was worn by John Hetherington, a London haberdasher. He was fined £50 the first time he wore his new creation, 'for causing a disturbance'.


1859 The National Portrait Gallery opened to the public in Great George Street. There were only 56 portraits and viewing was by appointment on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


1867 Crowds flocked onto the frozen surface of the lake in London’s Regent's Park during a severe frost. The ice broke, and 40 people died.


1870 Britain's first woman doctor, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, passed the final exam of the Medical Faculty of the Sorbonne and became a fully qualified MD. She had connections with Aldeburgh in Suffolk. 


1880 The London Telephone Company published the first directory, listing 255 subscribers.


1927 BBC radio broadcast the first live commentary of a rugby match. Captain Teddy Wakelam narrated the match at Twickenham, between Wales and England. The following Saturday Wakelam provided the first football commentary from Highbury, where Arsenal was playing Sheffield United.


1962 The centigrade, or Celsius, scale was used in the British Meteorological Office weather forecasts for the first time, more than 200 years after the death of the Swedish scientist who invented it.


1991 Elizabeth II signed letters allowing Australia to become the first Commonwealth country to institute its own separate Victoria Cross award.


1997 Princess Diana, the Princess of Wales, angered government ministers after calling for an international ban on landmines.


2011 The death of Nathaniel (Nat) Lofthouse, OBE, English professional footballer who played for Bolton Wanderers for his whole career. He was capped 33 times for the England national football team between 1950 and 1958, scoring 30 goals and having one of the greatest goals per game ratios of any player to represent England at the highest level.


2014 The death, aged 69, of actor Roger Lloyd-Pack, who played Trigger in Only Fools And Horses. He appeared in dozens of TV shows and films, including Dr Who, The Vicar Of Dibley, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.


2015 The death of Ethel Lang, aged 114. At the time of her death she was the oldest person in Britain and the last living British person to have been born during the reign of Queen Victoria. She lived to see six UK monarchs and 22 prime ministers.


2018 The construction giant, Carillion, went into liquidation. The company employed 43,000 people including almost 20,000 in the UK. Carillion also used thousands of smaller companies to help provide its services.