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This Day in History - 28th December


1065 Westminster Abbey was consecrated. Its founder Edward the Confessor could not attend due to illness. He died on 5th January l066 and was buried in a shrine before the High Altar in his new church.

1694 Mary II, joint sovereign of England, Scotland and Ireland, died from smallpox, leaving William III to reign alone.

1734 The death of Robert Roy MacGregor, usually known simply as Rob Roy, the famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century. He is buried in Balquhidder churchyard.

1879 The Tay railway bridge collapsed whilst the Edinburgh to Dundee train was crossing. The original crossing was the longest railway bridge in the world but during the storm the wind was said to have blown the iron girders in the central section away 'like matchwood. The engine and carriages plummeted into the icy river below killing 59 people. In 1979 British Rail commissioned a special train to take people across the new bridge at the exact time of the original accident ....... 19:15 GMT. On 28th December 2013 granite memorials to commemorate the disaster were unveiled on both sides of the river.

1904 The first weather reports relayed by wireless telegraphy were published in London.

1918 Constance Markievicz, Irish Sinn Féin politician and suffragette, whilst detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the House of Commons.

1932 Roy Hattersley, Labour MP & former Labour deputy leader, was born.

1934 The first Test Match for women’s cricket was between Australia and England and was held at Brisbane. England beat Australia 2–0 in a three-Test series, with the final match drawn.

1934 Dame Maggie Smith, British actress was born. She made her stage debut in 1952 and has won numerous awards for acting, both for the stage and for film, including five BAFTA Awards, plus the BAFTA Fellowship Award. She currently stars in the drama, Downton Abbey as Violet Crawley, the Dowager-Countess of Grantham, for which she has won an Emmy.

1943 The birth of Richard Whiteley. He was best known for his twenty three years as host of the game show Countdown. At the time of his death in 2005 Whiteley was believed to have clocked more hours on British television screens than anyone else alive.

1950 Derbyshire's Peak District became Britain’s first National Park. 

1957 The Stanley abattoir in Liverpool (one of Britain's largest) closed down after foot and mouth disease was found in cattle.

1963 'That Was The Week That Was', television’s first satirical show, was broadcast for the last time. It was taken off air while still commanding huge audiences because 1964 was to be election year and it was felt that the show could influence voters.

1980 A shake-up of broadcasting franchises paved the way for the launch of breakfast TV. The Independent Broadcasting Authority announced that the breakfast contract would go to TV-am and would launch in 1983.

1993 Customs officials at Felixstowe seized £70m of Colombian cocaine thought to be linked to the Mafia.

2003 The British Government announced plans to tighten airline security by allowing armed guards on some British flights to the USA.