This Day in History - 20th May
1191English King Richard I 'the Lion Heart' conquered Cyprus on his way to join the Crusaders in north west Israel.
1217The Second Battle of Lincoln was fought, resulting in the defeat of Prince Louis of France by William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke.
1497The Italian explorer John Cabot, commissioned by England, set sail from Bristol in his ship Matthew looking for a route to the west. At the time, Bristol was the only English city to have had a prior history of undertaking exploration expeditions out into the Atlantic.
1840York Minster was badly damaged by fire.
1867Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone for the Royal Albert Hall.
1895The birth, at this house in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire, of Reginald Joseph Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire aircraft. The single-seat fighter aircraft was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the Second World War and continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s. The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was the only British fighter in production throughout the war.
1903King Edward VII opened the Kew Bridge over the River Thames. Its proper name is the Edward VII Bridge.
1913The first Chelsea Flower Show was held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, attracting around 200,000 visitors. The show started in 1827, moving to larger venues until it settled in Chelsea.
1923British Prime Minister Bonar Law resigned because of ill-health and was replaced by Stanley Baldwin.
1946A bill for nationalization of British coal mines passed the Commons stage.
1958The mayor and corporation of High Wycombe were weighed in, in full view of the public to see whether or not they had been getting fat at the taxpayers' expense!
1965The Chief Inspector of Constabularies announced that Britain's police would be armed with tear gas guns and grenades for use against dangerous criminals, but that it would not be used for crowd control.
1975The death of Dame Barbara Hepworth, English sculptor. Her work exemplifies Modernism and, along with Henry Moore and others, she helped to develop modern art, sculpture in particular, in Britain.
1985The House of Commons agreed to consider Sunday Trading proposals.
1993Britain finally ratified the Maastricht Treaty which allowed greater co-operation between members of the European Union.