This Day in History - 1st April
May Day - originally a Roman festival which began on 28th April and lasted several days to mark the commencement of summer. In England, middle and lower classes would gather flowers - ‘go a maying’ - and the prettiest village maid was crowned Queen of the May, celebrated with dancing around the maypole.
1517In 'Evil May Day' riots in London, London apprentices attacked foreign residents. Wolsey suppressed the rioters, of whom 60 were hanged.
1707The Act of Union joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1769The birth of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. Known as the Iron Duke. He defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
1840The first British Penny Black stamp went on sale. Invented by Rowland Hill, it was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp and it became valid for postage on 6th May. The Penny Black public house in Northwich, Cheshire is a Grade II listed, Tudor style building that was formerly the district's post office.
1851Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London. Over 10,000 exhibitors set up eight miles of tables. Although technological wonders from around the world were on display, the exposition was dominated by Britain, which was the premier industrialized nation and workshop of the world.
1873The death, in Zambia, of the missionary, doctor and explorer David Livingstone. He was from humble beginnings and was born in Blantyre, eight miles south east of Glasgow.
1875Alexandra Palace reopened after a fire in 1873 burnt it down. It was designed to be 'The People’s Palace' and was later nicknamed 'Ally Pally'. In 1936 it became the headquarters of the world's first regular public television service, operated by the BBC.
1916The end of the Easter Rising in Ireland, following a week of bitter fighting in Dublin after Irish Nationalists rose against British rule on Easter Monday, 24th April. More than 400 lost their lives.
1955Stirling Moss and co-driver Dennis Jenkinson became the first British drivers to win the Mille Miglia. His Mercedes Benz finished 30 minutes ahead of the second car, driven by the legendary Argentinian, Fangio.
1973More than a million workers joined a one day strike in protest at the pay restraint policy and price rises by the Conservative government under Edward Heath.
1982British planes attacked two airstrips near Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands to rid the islands of Argentine forces.