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This Day in History - 18th October


1016 The Battle of Assandun (Essex). The battle was the conclusion to the Danish reconquest of England. The Vikings, led by Canute the Great were victorious over the Anglo-Saxons led by King Edmund Ironside.

1541 The death of Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scotland; the elder of the two surviving daughters of Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, and the elder sister of Henry VIII.

1674 The birth, in Swansea, of Richard ‘Beau’ Nash, a gambler who made Bath a city of fashion; improving its streets and buildings. 

1826 Britain's last state lottery was held, prior to the launch of the National Lottery in 1994.

1851 Herman Melville's book Moby-Dick was first published as 'The Whale' by Richard Bentley of London.

1865 The death of Tory politician and twice Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. He dominated British foreign policy when Britain was at the height of her power. Palmerston's abrasive and arrogant style earned him the nickname Lord Pumice-stone.

1871 The death of Charles Babbage, English mathematician, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer. He is considered a 'father of the computer' as he is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs.

1910 The trial began at the Old Bailey of the American Dr. Crippen, accused of murdering his wife Cora Henrietta Crippen. Born in Michigan in 1862 Hawley Harvey Crippen moved to Camden in 1897 and became the first suspect to be captured using the aid of wireless telegraphy. When he and his lover Ethel Neave were spotted escaping on board the liner Montrose the authorities were alerted and Crippen was arrested as the liner entered the St. Lawrence River.

1922 The British Broadcasting Corporation was officially formed, to operate from Marconi House in London, under the management of John Reith. It established a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.

1957 The Queen and Prince Philip visited the US and the White House to mark the 350th anniversary of the British settling in Virginia.

1963 Harold Macmillan resigned as Prime Minister because of ill health. Sir Alec Douglas-Home became Prime Minister.

1966 The Queen granted a royal pardon to Timothy Evans, wrongly convicted and hanged in 1950 for the murder of his wife and child. The real murderer was John Reginald Christie who had been hanged for mass murder in 1953.

1977 Hilary Bradshaw became the first woman to referee a rugby match when Bracknell played High Wycombe.

1978 The birth of Mike Tindall, an English rugby player who has captained the England team and is married to Zara Phillips, the daughter of the Princess Royal and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.

1987 Nigel Mansell won the Mexican Grand Prix.

1988 British Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd, banned all broadcasts involving terrorist spokesmen. IRA spokesmen could be seen, but not heard, although their statements could be reported by the media.

1995 Red Rum, three times winner of the Grand National at Aintree, died at the age of 30, an exceptional age for a horse. He was buried at Aintree.

1998 Richard Bacon, presenter of the BBC TV programme 'Blue Peter' was sacked for taking cocaine.

2014 A flock of sheep was left feeling rather woolly-headed after accidentally munching on £4,000 worth of cannabis plants that had been dumped in their field, at the edge of Fanny’s Farm in Merstham, Surrey. By the time that the police arrived, much of the evidence had been eaten.