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This Day in History - 24th November


1542 The English army defeated the Scots at the Battle of Solway Moss. It started as a family dispute when Henry VIII of England broke from the Roman Catholic Church and asked James V of Scotland, his nephew, to do the same, but James ignored his uncle's request.

1806 The birth of Reverend William Webb Ellis, Anglican clergyman and the alleged inventor of rugby football whilst a pupil at Rugby School. According to legend, Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a school football match in 1823. The William Webb Ellis Cup is presented to the winners of the Rugby World Cup.

1831 Michael Faraday read his first series of papers at the Royal Society in London on ‘Experimental Research into Electricity’.

1815 Birth of Grace Darling, an English lighthouse keeper’s daughter from the Longstone Lighthouse who rowed out to rescue survivors of the Forfarshire off the Farne Islands and became a national heroine. She died of consumption, aged 26. 

1859 Charles Darwin published his controversial and groundbreaking scientific work 'The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection'. Darwin was born in Shewsbury, Shropshire. 

1939 Imperial Airways and British Airways merged to become BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), which later merged with British European Airways and returned to one of the previous names, British Airways.

1941 The birth of Pete Best, British musician, principally known as the original drummer in The Beatles, until he was eventually replaced by Ringo Starr.

1951 Austin and Morris Motors agreed to merge.

1955 The birth of Ian Botham, former England Test cricketer and Test team captain. He played mainly for Somerset and the County Ground at Taunton has a stand called the Sir Ian Botham Stand. 

1962 ' That Was the Week That Was' went out live from the BBC, introduced by a new presenter, David Frost, and with some material written by an equally unknown John Cleese.

1972 One of only eight 1933 pennies minted was auctioned at Sotherbys for £7,000.

1974 Police charged 6 men in connection with the Birmingham pub bombings 3 days previously.

1987 Free eye tests were abolished by the Conservative government.

1991 Freddie Mercury, English rock singer, died at the age of 45, just one day after he publicly announced that he was HIV positive.

1993 The last 14 bottles of Scotch whisky salvaged from the SS Politician, wrecked in 1941 and the inspiration of the book and film, Whisky Galore, were sold at auction for £11,462.

2005 New laws came in force in England and Wales allowing 'round-the-clock drinking'.

2008 Chancellor Alistair Darling cut VAT, but took borrowing to record levels in moves that he said were needed to save the UK from a deep and long-lasting recession.

2010 Weather forecasters predicted that the UK would be entering a prolonged cold spell which could bring one of the earliest significant snowfalls since 1993. A few days later more than a thousand schools were closed across the UK and snow caused travel chaos in Scotland and the north of England.

2014 Cherry Campbell, aged 9, who plays the title role in CBeebies show Katie Morag became the youngest-ever winner at the Bafta Children's awards.

2014 NHS workers, including nurses, midwives and ambulance staff, staged four-hour strikes in England and Northern Ireland as part of a pay dispute. They were protesting about the decision not to implement a 1% rise for all staff as recommended by a pay review body.