In the wake of female political emancipation, concern grew that young women were exercising their social liberties a little over-enthusiastically. The Institute of Hygiene heard from Dr JS Russell that the young lady- about-town, dependent on "the poisons of tobacco and alcohol", was paying heavily for her hectic lifestyle: "Scarcely has the age of 20 been reached before the lines that belong to the face of a woman of middle age have become evident in such girls."
Peering at crude moving pictures of two ventriloquists' dummies, members of the Royal Institution in London in January watched the first-ever television broadcast. Though cinema audiences enjoyed a far superior quality of image, John Logie Baird believed that one day every home in the land would have its own moving picture theatre.
In May, the General Strike attempted to bring Britain to its knees. The decision to disrupt the country's vital services was taken by the TUC in support of striking miners. Despite the TUC's insistence that no one would be without essential provisions, a formal state of emergency was declared. The daily press was a victim of the striking print unions, but the government wasted no time in publishing the temporary and resolutely anti-strike British Gazette, edited by the bullish chancellor of the exchequer, Winston Churchill. Meanwhile, students and white-collar workers got their hands dirty ensuring that trams, lorries and trains operated at least a skeleton service during the seven-day strike.
Harry Houdini, the world-famous escapologist, died, the victim of his own reputation. The 52-year-old had been telling a class of students in Montreal of his immensely powerful stomach muscles, when one student decided to put them to the test without warning. An appendectomy failed to rectify the damage caused by the two punches and Houdini later succumbed to peritonitis. His ability to escape from a water-filled milk churn, in which he had been chained and handcuffed, had made his name, and he was famous for death-defying mid-air stunts and daring escapes from some of the US's most closely guarded prisons.Reuse content