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This Day in History - 8th October


1200 Isabella of Angoulême (in western France) was crowned Queen consort of England as the second wife of King John until John's death in 1216. She had five children by the king including his heir, later Henry III. In 1220 she remarried and had a further nine children.

1744 The birth of Henry Duncan, a minister of the Church of Scotland who founded the world's first commercial savings bank, paying interest on its investors' modest savings. 


1806 Napoleonic Wars: British forces laid siege to the port of Boulogne by using Congreve rockets, invented by Sir William Congreve. His effective rockets were made up of an iron case containing black powder for propulsion and a conical warhead.


1908 The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book, was published. It has never been out of print in its entire history.


1915 The Battle of Loos, one of the fiercest of World War I, ended with virtually no gains for either side. Almost 430,000 French, British and Germans were killed. The British used poison gas for the first time in the battle.


1928 The birth of the actor Bill Maynard. He appeared with comedians Terry Scott and Ronnie Barker, played in some of the Carry On films and for 9 years he was the old rogue Claude Jeremiah Greengrass in the popular and long-running television series Heartbeat.


1929 Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons, was born.


1952 112 people were killed and 340 injured when two express trains collided at Harrow & Wealdstone, in NW London, and a third train ran into the wreckage. The driver of the Perth train had passed a caution signal and two danger signals before colliding with the local train, which accelerated the introduction of a system that warned drivers that they had passed an adverse signal.


1965 London's Post Office Tower, once Britain's tallest building, opened. Prime Minister Harold Wilson made the first telephone call.


1967 A motorist in Somerset becomes the first person to be breathalysed in Britain.


1967 Clement Atlee died, aged 84. As Prime Minister he introduced radical reforms of the social welfare system and introduced the National Health Service.


1973 London Broadcasting Company, Britain's first legal commercial radio station, began transmitting.


1980 British Leyland launched the Mini Metro.


1987 The coroner's inquest into the capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise returned verdicts of unlawful killing. The ferry disaster, in March, killed 187 people.


1990 Hectic trading in the City marked Britain's first day as a full member of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) of the European Monetary System.


1994 The Sunday Times alleged that Margaret Thatcher's son Mark, had received £12 million commission from a £20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, negotiated whilst she was Prime Minister.


1999 A survey for the UK's National Farmer's Union discovered that pop music increased egg production in chickens!


2014 Motorist Jonathan Weekes (48, of Tredegar) put a blue flashing light on top of his Vauxhall Insignia and pretended to be a policeman. Unfortunately for him he pulled over a real police officer for speeding, saying 'If you had been going any faster I would have booked you.'