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This Day in History - 23rd November


955 The death of Edred, King of England. The chief achievement of his reign was to bring the Kingdom of Northumbria under total English control.

1499 The Pretender to the throne, Flemish impostor Perkin Warbeck, was hanged for reportedly attempting to escape from the Tower of London. He had invaded England in 1497, claiming to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, the younger son of King Edward IV.

1852 Britain's first four pillar boxes came into service on the Channel Island of Jersey. The idea came from English novelist Anthony Trollope who worked for the General Post Office in London before becoming a writer.

1887 Boris Karloff, English actor famous for his roles in horror films, was born.

1896 The first Royal Command Performance for the British Sovereign. The event was in the Red Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, before H.M. Queen Victoria.

1905 British Liberal Party leader Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman advocated Home Rule for Ireland, by instalments, in a controversial speech in Scotland.

1910 American born Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London after being found guilty of poisoning his wife and dismembering her body.

1915 ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag’, the famous First World War song, was published, by Felix Powell and George Asaf, who were really two brothers from Wales.

1954 The birth of Ross Brawn, English motorsport engineer and Formula One team principal. He worked as the technical director of the championship-winning Benetton and Ferrari Formula One teams.

1962 British surgeon John Charnley developed a technique at Wrightington Hospital Lancashire that revolutionised hip replacement operations. He was later knighted for his efforts and his work became the standard procedure across the world.

1963 The BBC broadcast the first ever episode of Doctor Who, starring William Hartnell as the Doctor, and Ann Ford as his first female companion. It is the world's longest running science fiction drama.

1976 British comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II. 

1978 A Birmingham nightclub was ordered to open its doors to black and Chinese people.

1979 In Dublin, Thomas McMahon was found guilty of the murder of Lord Mountbatten, and given a life sentence.

1984 Almost 1,000 passengers were trapped in smoke filled tunnels for three hours after a fire at Oxford Circus underground station.

1990 The death of the author Roald Dahl. His notable works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, George's Marvellous Medicine and The BFG (Big Friendly Giant

1993 English artist Rachel Whiteread won both the £20,000 Turner Prize award for best British modern artist and the £40,000 K Foundation art award for the worst artist of the year. She was the first woman to win Turner prize. and 2001 she became the third artist to provide a sculpture for the empty fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, an inverted 11 ton resin cast of the plinth itself.

2014 Veteran sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (aged 75) spoke of the 'warm and friendly' reception he received after claiming third place in his class of the singlehanded transatlantic Route du Rhum race, from St Malo in France to Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Sir Robin, a grandfather of five, was the first person ever to sail single-handed and non-stop, around the world, in 1969.