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This Day in History - 19th August


1274 The coronation of Edward I, known as 'Longshanks', as he was 6 feet 2 inches tall.

1561 Mary Queen of Scots arrived in Scotland (following the death of her French husband Francis II,) to assume the throne after spending 13 years in France.


1612 Three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury were put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft. It was one of the most famous witch trials in English history as all three - Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley, and Ellen Bierley were acquitted. The charges against the women included child murder and cannibalism. 


1631 John Dryden, English poet and dramatist was born. He was the first official Poet Laureate of Great Britain.


1685 The beginning of the 'Bloody Assizes' in England with Judge Jeffreys regularly sentencing people to death.


1879 The laying of the foundation stone for the Eddystone Lighthouse.


1897 The London Electric Cab Company began operating the electric-powered taxi cabs in London's West End and the City. They had a range of up to 30 miles, and a top speed of 9 miles an hour. The cabs prove uneconomical and were withdrawn in 1900.


1919 Afghanistan gained full independence from Britain.


1942 British and Canadian troops launched a disastrous attack on German-held Dieppe. Of the 6,000 troops involved, only about 2,500 returned. The rest were killed or captured.


1953 The England cricket team, under captain Len Hutton, won The Ashes against Australia for the first time since the tour of 1932-1933.


1960 Penguin Books received a summons in response to their plans to publish Lady Chatterley's Lover.


1969 The British Army took over control of security in Northern Ireland.


1970 The 1000th episode of Coronation Street was broadcast. It is the world's longest-running television soap opera. 


1975 Campaigners calling for the release of robber George Davis from prison vandalised the pitch at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds.


1987 27 year old gunman Michael Ryan shot dead 16 people during a rampage through Hungerford, Berkshire. 14 people were wounded, and one of the dead was Ryan’s own mother. He proceeded to set fire to his mother’s house, and the worst civil massacre in modern British history ended when he shot himself.


1989 The offshore, North Sea pirate radio station, Radio Caroline, was raided and silenced by the British and Dutch governments. However broadcasts resumed on 1st October of that year and continued on low/moderate power until fuel for the generator ran out on 6th November 1990. Radio Caroline currently broadcasts 24 hours a day via the Eutelsat satellite and Internet radio.