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This Day in History - 16th August


1513 King Henry VIII of England and his troops defeated the French in the Battle of the Spurs, at Guinigatte, NW France.

1743 The earliest prize-ring code of boxing rules was formulated in England by the champion fighter Jack Broughton.


1819 The Peterloo massacre took place at St Peter's Field, Manchester when militia, with sabres drawn, charged on a crowd of 60,000–80,000 gathered to hear discussion on the reform of parliamentary representation. 15 people were killed and 650 injured.


1858 A telegraphed message from Britain's Queen Victoria to US President Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable.


1897 Endowed by the sugar merchant Henry Tate, the Tate Gallery, in London, was opened.


1900 Second Boer War: The Battle of Elands River (in western Transvaal) ended after a 13-day siege. The battle began when a force of 2,000 - 3,000 Boers had surrounded a force of 500 at a supply dump at Brakfontein Drift. Outnumbered and surrounded, the garrison was asked to surrender, but refused. The siege was lifted, with a 10,000-strong column led by Lord Kitchener.


1913 The completion of the Royal Navy battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary, the last battlecruiser built by the Royal Navy before World War I.


1930 The birth, at this terraced house in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, of Ted Hughes, English poet & former Poet Laureate. He served as Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998. There is a commemorative blue plaque at his former home on Aspinall Street.


1930 The first British Empire Games (now the Commonwealth Games) were held at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


1952 Twelve bodies were recovered and 24 people were missing, feared dead, in a flood which swept through Lynmouth in north Devon.


1960 Britain granted independence to the crown colony of Cyprus.


2001 Paul Burrell, former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales, was charged with theft from her estate relating to a total of 342 items, reportedly worth £5m.


2004 Flash floods devastated the north Cornwall coastal village of Boscastle after the area's average August rainfall fell in just two hours.


2011 Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw were jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder during the period of violence and looting that started on 6th August in a number of UK towns and cities. The men both admitted encouraging crime in Northwich, Cheshire, although there were no outbreaks of disorder in the town. In his defence, Blackshaw's solicitor said "Northwich, as far as we understand, has remained peaceful."