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This Day in History - 31st October


1795 The birth of John Keats, English romantic poet.

1828 The birth of Sir Joseph Swan, English chemist and inventor. Both he and Edison were separately credited with the invention of the electric lamp. Edison was first, but his had a much shorter life and was therefore not practical.


1863 The Maori Wars resumed as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato in North Island. In 1995 the Waikato Tainui tribe completed negotiations with the New Zealand government and accepted a settlement package worth approximately 1 percent of the value of the lands confiscated in 1863.


1888 Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop patented pneumatic bicycle tyres.


1903 Hampden Park football ground - Glasgow, was opened.


1915 For the first time during World War I, British troops wore steel helmets.


1926 Jimmy Savile, radio and TV entertainer was born. In October 2012 numerous allegations were made that Savile had sexually abused up to 200 young people, dating back to 1958. In the aftermath, his gravestone at Scarborough was removed at the request of Savile's family and plaques and statues of him in other locations were removed to prevent further defacement.


1940 World War II: The Battle of Britain ended. Britain had successfully avoided a possible German invasion.


1941 A fire in a clothing factory in Huddersfield, Yorkshire killed 49.


1951 Zebra crossings came into use for the first time in Britain.


1955 Princess Margaret called off her plans to marry divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend.


1956 Britain and France bombed Egypt in retaliation for the barring of their ships from the Suez Canal.


1964 The Windmill Theatre off London’s Piccadilly Circus finally closed after 32 years. Their slogan ‘We Never Closed’ was a tribute to them staying open to troops during the war.


1971 A terrorist bomb exploded at the top of the Post Office Tower in London. The building has been closed to the public ever since.


1982 The Thames barrier, part of London's flood defences, was raised for the first time.


1988 Coventry became Britain's first city to introduce a by-law banning the drinking of alcohol in public places. Coventry was made famous much earlier by Lady Godiva who, in July 1040, clothed only in her long hair, rode through the city after her husband agreed to repeal the taxes if she would strip naked and ride through the streets. 


1997 A 19 year old British au pair Louise Woodward, was found guilty by a court in America of murdering 8 month old Matthew Eappen.


2008 Officials asked for the Welsh translation of a bilingual road sign which in English read - "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only." When the automatic e-mail came back from Swansea council it read "Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i'w gyfieithu" and this was duly printed on the road sign. Only later was it discovered that the Welsh part of the sign said "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."


2013 TV cameras were allowed to record proceedings at the Court of Appeal in England and Wales for the first time. Senior judges and major broadcasters welcomed the move, which the head of BBC News said was a "landmark moment".


2019 Brexit did not happen ..... again!