HAPPY ANNIVERSARY / A visitor to the British Museum has a really smashing time

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The Independent Culture
SOME of the odder anniversaries of the coming week, historically an inauspicious period for sardines, horses, motorcyclists, drivers and bachelors.

7 February:

1845: The Portland Vase, a Roman relic dating from 25BC and reputedly once owned by the Emperor Augustus, is broken into around 200 pieces by William Lloyd, an intoxicated visitor to the British Museum in London.

1938: Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is given an 'A' certificate by the British Board of Film Censors, because the Wicked Witch character is so scary.

1984: Bruce McCandless performs the first space-walk without a lifeline linking him to the ship.

1989: It rains sardines over Ipswich, Australia. A combination of freak weather conditions and shallow waters caught the fish in an updraught.

8 February:

1924: Nevada State Prison performs the first execution by gas chamber.

1939: Peers pass the Bastardy Bill, making blood tests compulsory in paternity cases.

9 February:

Feast Day of Appollonia, patron saint of toothache sufferers.

1540: Chester holds the first recorded horse-race meeting.

1893: An artist's model named Mona becomes the first to perform a strip-tease in public. The event - strictly amateur - took place at the Four Arts Ball at the Moulin Rouge, Paris. Professional strip- tease followed a year later.

1900: Dwight F Davis creates the Davis Cup for tennis.

1979: The first successful transplant of a fallopian tube is performed in England.

1983: Shergar is kidnapped. A pounds 2m ransom is demanded, but the horse is never seen again.

10 February:

1354: A three-day battle begins on the streets of Oxford between students and townsfolk. Several are killed and many injured before the students are overpowered.

1903: The London County Council names two new streets: Kingsway (after King Edward VII) and Aldwych (after the old Wych or parish).

1905: Wisconsin passes a tax on bachelors over 30.

1942: Glenn Miller is presented with the first gold disc for selling a million copies of 'Chattanooga Choo-Choo'.

1987: Cynthia Payne is acquitted at the Old Bailey on a charge of running a brothel.

11 February:

1765: Wigmakers petition George III for financial relief, following a steep drop in demand for men's wigs.

1852: The first ladies' public lavatory opens in Bedford Street, London.

1858: Bernadette Soubirous has a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.

1899: George Morgan becomes the first motorcyclist killed in an accident on Britain's roads.

1962: An Essex boy claims a world record after dancing the Twist for 33 hours non-stop.

12 February:

1831: Rubber galoshes are first sold by J W Goodrich of Boston.

1898: Henry Lindfield becomes the first motorist killed in an accident on Britain's roads.

1931: Japan broadcasts the first baseball match on television.

1941: An Oxford policeman with septicaemia becomes the first person to be treated with purified penicillin. He improved considerably, but after five days the entire supply of the new drug was used up. He died on 15 March.

1956: Motorists in Slough come up against the country's first yellow no-parking lines.

1976: Restorers working at Romsey Abbey announce the discovery of a 12th-century rose 'with a twig and numerous petals and leaves' preserved in the wall. Two weeks later they decide it is probably an onion.

13 February:

1854: Opening of Cheltenham Ladies College, Britain's first public school for girls.

1917: Women are allowed to become taxi drivers in Britain.

1971: The then American vice president, Spiro Agnew, hits three spectators with his first two shots at the Bob Hope Desert Golf Classic.

(Photograph omitted)

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