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This Day in History - 9th January


1735 The birth of British admiral, John Jervis (Earl of St. Vincent). In 1797, he and Nelson, who was then a captain, defeated the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent.

1742 The birth, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, of Philip Astley, regarded as being the 'father of the modern circus'. His Amphitheatre included music, domesticated animals, acrobats, and clowns. Astley's circus was so popular that he was invited in 1772 to perform before Louis XV of France in Versailles and he established 18 other permanent circuses in cities throughout Europe.

1799 Income tax was introduced into Britain by William Pitt the Younger, to raise funds for the Napoleonic War. The rate was two shillings in the pound.

1806 Lord Nelson, naval commander and hero of the Battle of Trafalgar, was buried beneath the dome of St Paul's cathedral, in London, after a grand and solemn procession along the river to Whitehall and thence to the City. 

1816 Sir Humphry Davy tested his Davy safety lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery. In January 1819, Davy was awarded a baronetcy, at the time the highest honour ever conferred on a man of science in Britain. A year later he became President of the Royal Society.

1854 Birth of Jenny, Lady Randolph Churchill, wife of Lord Randolph and mother of Winston.

1854 The first free lending Library opened, on Marylebone Road, London.

1888 The London Financial Guide was launched. It became The Financial Times on 13th February.

1898 The birth, in Rochdale, Lancashire, of Dame Gracie Fields, internationally famous singer.

1909 Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, planted the British flag 112 miles from the South Pole, the furthest anyone had ever reached at that time.

1929 Alexander Fleming successfully treated his assistant Stuart Craddick’s infection with a penicillin broth, at St Mary’s, Paddington.

1957 Sir Anthony Eden resigned as prime minister of Britain due to ill health, after just one year and 279 days in the post. He was succeeded by Harold Macmillan.

1972 The Queen Elizabeth, the liner that had been turned into a sailing university, caught fire and sank in Hong Kong harbour. She had been the world’s largest passenger liner for over thirty years.

1972 British miners began their first strike since 1926, campaigning for improved pay and conditions. A season of power cuts followed.

1997 The lone yachtsman, Tony Bullimore, feared drowned after his boat, (Exide Challenger) capsized in the Southern Ocean five days previously, was found safe and well.

2014 The closure of Clerkenwell fire station, close to King's Cross in London. Built in 1872, it was the UK's oldest fire station.

2015 A New York judge sentenced the extradited radical preacher Abu Hamza to life in prison for supporting terrorist organisations. The Muslim cleric rose to prominence for his fiery sermons at a north London mosque prior to the protracted extradition battle. The US justice department and Theresa May, the UK home secretary, hailed the sentence.

2015 Wing Commnder Nikki Thomas became the first woman to command an RAF fast jet squadron, taking charge of the newly reformed No. 12 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk.