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This Day in History - 2nd November


1470 The birth of King Edward V of England, one of the two 'princes in the Tower'. Along with his younger brother Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, Edward 'disappeared' after being sent (allegedly for safety reasons) to the Tower of London. Responsibility for their deaths is widely attributed to his uncle, Richard III, but the actual events have remained controversial for centuries.

1636 The birth of Edward Colston, Bristol-born merchant and Member of Parliament. Much of his wealth, although used often for philanthropic purposes, was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves. He endowed schools and almshouses and his name is commemorated in several Bristol landmarks, two schools and the Colston bun (a yeast dough flavoured with dried fruit and spices).

1871 British police began their Rogues' Gallery, taking photographs of all convicted prisoners.

1896 The first motor insurance policies were issued in Britain, but they excluded damage caused by frightened horses.

1899 Boer War: The start of the Siege of Ladysmith in Natal when Boers encircled British troops and civilians inside the town. The siege lasted for 118 days.

1917 British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour submitted a declaration of intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The British government hoped that the formal declaration would help garner Jewish support for the Allied effort in World War I.

1924 Almost 11 years after its appearance in America, the first crossword puzzle was published in a British newspaper, sold to the Sunday Express by C.W. Shepherd.

1936 The world's first regular TV service was started by the British Broadcasting Corporation at Alexandra Palace at 3:00 p.m. It was defined as 'high-definition' (with 200 lines of resolution) and was renamed BBC1 in 1964. An estimated 100 TV owners tuned in.

1950 George Bernard Shaw, the renowned playwright died, aged 94.

1951 The final phase of the largest troop airlift since the war brought in British reinforcements to quell unrest in the Canal Zone, Egypt.

1953 The foundation of the Samaritans, (the world's first crisis hotline organisation), by the Anglican priest Chad Varah, who was born in Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire.

1954 The comedy series 'Hancock's Half Hour' was first broadcast on BBC Radio.

1959 The opening of Watford Gap Services, the oldest motorway services in Britain. The M1 - between Junction 5 (Watford) and Junction 18 (Crick/Rugby) opened on the same day. Watford Gap has long been hailed as the unofficial cut-off point between the two parts of the country, with 'southerners' sometimes criticised for not venturing north of it.

1960 Penguin publishers were cleared of obscenity for printing the D.H. Lawrence novel 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. The first edition was printed privately in Florence in 1928 but the unexpurgated edition could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960. The book was notorious at the time for its story of the physical relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, with explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.

1963 Gerry & the Pacemakers reached the number one spot with 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

1964 The first episode of the television soap opera 'Crossroads' was broadcast on ITV.

1981 Citizens Band radio (CB radio) was legally allowed in Britain

1982 The first edition of 'Countdown' the British TV game show involving word and number puzzles. It was hosted by Richard Whiteley and Carol Vorderman and was also the first programme to be aired on Channel 4.

2000 The controversial chief inspector of schools in England, Chris Woodhead, stepped down, to the delight of teachers' unions.

2012 It was announced that more than 100 post boxes, painted gold to celebrate the success of Britain's Olympic and Paralympic athletes, would remain gold on a permanent basis. This one, at Leek in Staffordshire commemorates the Olympic rower Anna Watkin.

2014 The death, aged 85, of Acker Bilk, the legendary jazz clarinettist. He was the first UK act to top the US charts in the 1960s and was known for performing in a flamboyant waistcoat and bowler hat.