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This Day in History - 23rd October


1642 The first major battle of the English Civil War took place at Edgehill in South Warwickshire. Charles I and Prince Rupert led the Royalists and the Earl of Essex led the Parliamentarians. It was an inconclusive result that prevented either faction gaining a quick victory in the war, which eventually lasted four years.

1843 Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square was finally completed. It commemorates Admiral Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson was born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. 


1906 In Britain, women suffragettes, campaigning for the right to vote, held a demonstration at the House of Commons. Ten were arrested and sent to prison.


1922 The shortest term of office this century for a British Prime Minister began on this day when Andrew Bonar Law took office. Due to ill health, he was replaced six months later by Stanley Baldwin.


1931 The birth of Diana Dors, an actress remembered for her 'sex symbol' roles.


1951 Conservative leader, Winston Churchill, wound up his election campaign by denying that he was a warmonger: "If I remain in public life at this juncture it is because I believe I may be able to make an important contribution to the prevention of a 3rd World War."


1954 Britain, the US, France and the USSR agreed to end the occupation of Germany. On the same day, the Western nations agreed to allow West Germany to enter NATO.


1966 John Surtees, British racing driver, won the Mexican Grand Prix.


1967 British farmers began slaughtering cattle following a severe outbreak of 'foot and mouth' disease.


1972 Access credit cards came into use in Britain.


1987 Former Champion Jockey Lester Piggott was jailed for three years for tax evasion.


1991 The House of Lords ruled that husbands could legally be convicted of raping their wives.


2001 The Northern Ireland peace process reached an historic breakthrough as the IRA announced that they were decommissioning their weapons.


2009 BNP leader Nick Griffin complained to the BBC over his controversial appearance on Question Time, saying that he had faced a "lynch mob". He was robustly questioned about his views on race, immigration and the Holocaust from a largely hostile audience. He criticised Islam, defended a past head of the Ku Klux Klan but insisted that he was "not a Nazi". Critics said the show had given the BNP huge publicity and the BNP claimed 3,000 people registered to join the party during and after the broadcast.


2012 The switchover to digital televison in the UK was complete when the analogue TV signal in Northern Ireland was turned off on Tuesday night at 23:30 BST. Simultaneously BBC Ceefax, the world's first teletext service, launched on 23rd September 1974 took its final bow with a series of graphics on Ceefax's front page.


2013 Prince George, future king and future head of the Church of England was baptised at the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace.


2014 The death, aged 72, of the 1970s singing star Alvin Stardust. He died of metastatic prostate cancer.