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This Day in History - 20th October


1632 The birth of English architect Christopher Wren. He was responsible for the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral following the Great Fire of London.

1714 The Coronation of King George I.

1720 The English pirate of the Caribbean, John Rackham was captured by the Royal Navy. He is most remembered for two things: the design of his Jolly Roger flag, a skull with crossed swords, which contributed to the popularization of the design, and for having two female crew members, Mary Read and his lover Anne Bonny.

1822 The first edition of the Sunday Times newspaper.

1822 The birth of Thomas Hughes, English author who wrote Tom Brown's Schooldays.

1842 The death (from consumption) aged just 26, of Grace Darling, an English lighthouse keeper’s daughter from the Longstone Lighthouse.


1890 The death of Sir Richard Francis Burton, English explorer, writer, soldier and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa and the discovery of Lake Tanganyika. Burton was one of the first non Muslims to enter the secret cities of Mecca and Medina.

1904 The birth of Dame Anna Neagle, British actress and former chorus dancer.

1915 Prime Minister David Lloyd George granted women their 'Right to Serve', thus opening up many new areas of employment for women. Trade Unionists were concerned that the move would depress wages.

1946 'Muffin the Mule', a wooden puppet operated by Annette Mills (sister of actor Sir John Mills) first appeared in a children's television programme on BBC TV.

1955 The publication of 'The Return of the King', the 3rd and final volume of 'The Lord of the Rings' by J.R.R. Tolkien

1959 Women's colleges at Oxford University were given equal rights to those of the men's.

1960 D.H Lawrence's controversial novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' put Penguin Books in the dock at the Old Bailey, London. They were accused of publishing obscene material but were eventually found not guilty.

1973 Queen Elizabeth II opened the new Sydney Opera House in Australia, designed by Danish architect John Utzon.

1988 The British Government announced plans to change the law so that remaining silent could incriminate rather than protect a suspect.

1996 Oscar winners 'Wallace and Gromit' disappeared after being left in a taxi in New York. Both the life-size plastic models from Britain's award winning animation film were later found safe and well!

1997 'Brown Monday' on the London Stock Exchange with £10 billion being wiped off the value of shares after British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown failed to clarify his Government's stance on the European single currency.

2010 Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the biggest UK spending cuts for decades, with welfare, councils and police budgets all hit.

2012 Two people were taken to intensive care after hit-and-runs in Cardiff left a woman dead and 13 people injured.