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This Day in History - 26th December


1135 The Coronation of King Stephen, grandson of William the Conqueror. Stephen's reign was marked by civil war and unsettled government. He was succeeded in 1154 by Henry II.

1716 Thomas Gray, English poet, classical scholar and professor at Cambridge University, was born.

1791 The birth of Charles Babbage, English mathematician, philosopher, and mechanical engineer who originated the idea of a programmable computer.

1860 The first ever inter-club football match took place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at Hallam's Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Sandygate has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the 'Oldest Ground in the World'.

1874 Boxing Day was officially recognized in Britain as a Bank Holiday. The name originates from the custom of Christmas boxes being given to a lord's serfs and dates back to the middle ages.

1900 A relief crew arrived at the the lighthouse on the Flannan Isles, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, only to find that the previous crew of three lighthouse keepers had all disappeared without a trace. The mystery has never been resolved, but rumours and myths still abound.

1913 A large Hippodrome was opened at Golders Green as a variety hall to take advantage of the newly arrived London underground.

1932 The BBC presented the first televised pantomime, Dick Whittington.

1943 A Royal Navy convoy, including the battleship Duke of York and cruiser Jamaica, attacked and sank the mighty German battlecruiser Scharnhorst, of North Cape, Norway. She was the last major German battleship.

1948 The first annual Reith Lecture on the BBC. They were inaugurated to mark the historic contribution made to public service broadcasting by Sir John Reith, the corporation's first director-general.

1959 The first charity walk took place, along the Icknield Way (Buckinghamshire & Norfolk), in aid of the World Refugee Fund.

1970 British Olympic medallist Lillian Board, MBE, died after losing her battle against a virulent form of cancer. The twice European Gold medallist and Olympic silver medallist who helped set four world records on the track, died late in the afternoon after she slipped into a coma on Christmas Eve.

1988 Crash investigators uncovered wreckage which they hoped would hold the key to the Lockerbie air disaster of 21st December. Two men, said to be Libyan intelligence agents were later put on trial for planting the bomb.

2001 A man captured as he tried to ignite explosives hidden in his trainers aboard an American Airlines jet was identified as Richard Reid, a 28-year old unemployed British citizen.

2011 The 11 year old racehorse Kauto Star created history with a fifth 'King George VI Chase' victory at Kempton Park. The previous record of four wins had been held by the legendary Desert Orchid since 1990.

2012 The death of Con Shiels, aged 96, the last survivor of the Jarrow March of 1936, a protest against unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression. 

2013 Nottingham's official Robin Hood (Tim Pollard) and Maid Marian (Sally Chappell) announced the birth of their baby girl, Scarlett Louise. As Robin and Marian, Mr. Pollard and Ms. Chappell promote tourism and take part in civic events including the annual Robin Hood Pageant.

2013 More people accessed the BBC iPlayer on tablets than on computers for the first time, after thousands had unwrapped new devices for Christmas. Over the festive period, there were 1.96 million requests for Doctor Who's Christmas special The Time of the Doctor, in which Peter Capaldi arrived to succeed Matt Smith.

2015 Weeks of heavy rain led to the worst floods Hebden Bridge (West Yorkshire) had ever seen. 1600 businesses were affected. 45% of flooded premises suffered structural damage, 75% lost stock and 46% lost office equipment - almost double the losses faced after the floods in summer 2012.