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This Day in History - 6th September


1620 149 Pilgrims, The Pilgrim Fathers, set sail from Plymouth in the Mayflower bound for America - the New World. The Pilgrims' story of people seeking to escape the religious controversies and economic problems of their time by emigrating to America, has become a central theme of the history and culture of the United States.

1651 Charles II famously spent the night hidden in an oak tree at Boscobel after his defeat by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester.


1766 The birth of John Dalton, English chemist, meteorologist and physicist. He is best known for his pioneering work in the development of modern atomic theory, and his research into colour blindness.


1852 Britain's first free lending library opened, in Manchester.


1866 Three British tea clippers reached London within 2 hours of each other after a 16,000 mile race from China as there were big bonuses for the first ships home with the new season's tea.


1879 The opening of Britain's first telephone exchange - at Lombard Street in London.


1880 England beat Australia by five wickets at the Oval in the first Test Match played in England. English batsman W.G. Grace scored a century.


1939 World War II: In an episode known as The Battle of Barking Creek, a friendly fire incident near Ipswich resulted in the first war death of a British fighter pilot (Pilot Officer Montague Hulton-Harrop). The incident exposed the inadequacies of RAF radar and identification procedures, leading to them being greatly improved by the crucial period of the Battle of Britain.


1944 World War II: The city of Ypres in Belgium was liberated by allied forces. As it was a difficult name to pronounce in English, British troops nicknamed the city 'Wipers'.


1952 At the Farnborough Airshow, a prototype de Havilland jet fighter exploded, and the debris fell onto the crowd. 26 people died.


1952 Erddig Hall, one of the country's finest stately homes, was granted Grade I listed status. In 2007 it was voted the UK's "favourite Historic House". Erddig's walled garden is one of the most important surviving 18th century formal gardens in Britain.


1960 Ten skeletons were found in 3800 year old graves at Stonehenge. 


1963 Cilla Black signed a contract with Beatles manager Brian Epstein. She changed her name from White to Black after a misprint in the music paper Mersey Beat.


1986 The first series of the British medical drama television series 'Casualty'.


1988 11-year-old Thomas Gregory, from London, swam the channel, reaching Dover after 12 hours. He was the youngest person ever to achieve a cross-channel swim.


1990 Sir Len Hutton, cricketer, and the first professional to captain England, died at the age of 74.


1997 The funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales, was held in Westminster Abbey, London. An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide watched the service on television.


2014 A study by Cass Business School claimed that the secret to a long life is having a waistline no larger than half your height. A waist to height ratio of 80 per cent or more could reduce life expectancy by up to 20 years.