26 May 1805: Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned King of Italy.
26 May 1868: Michael Barrett is hanged outside Newgate prison, the last public execution in England.
26 May 1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin a "bed-in" for world peace at the Hotel de la Reine, Montreal, Canada.
26 May 1988: Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats opens in Moscow.
27 May: Shared birthday of the horror film actors Vincent Price (1911) and Christopher Lee (1922). Peter Cushing, born 26 May 1913, misses joining them by one day.
27 May 1851: The world's first international chess tournament begins in London.
27 May 1863: Broadmoor is established, the first asylum for the criminally insane.
27 May 1988: A Canadian is acquitted of murdering his mother - he drove 14 miles to her home, hit her with an iron bar and stabbed her - on the grounds that he did it all while sleepwalking.
28 May 1742: England's first indoor swimming pool opens in London.
28 May 1891: The Cafe Monico, Piccadilly, hosts the first world weightlifting championships.
28 May 1951: First broadcast of The Goon Show.
29 May 1871: Britain's first official bank holiday, Whit Monday.
29 May 1942: Bing Crosby records "White Christmas".
30 May: Deaths of Joan of Arc (1431), Christopher Marlowe (1593), Rubens (1640), Alexander Pope (1744), Voltaire (1788) and Boris Pasternak (1960) but, by way of compensation, the birth (1908) of Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
30 May 1911: Sir WS Gilbert drowns in a swimming pool while giving swimming lessons to two schoolgirls.
31 May 1669: Bad eyesight forces Samuel Pepys to stop writing his diary.
31 May 1825: William James of Britain patents a device for scuba diving.
31 May 1859: Big Ben begins telling the time.
31 May 1909: Count Zeppelin flies in his airship for a record 37 hours before crashing into a pear tree when landing to refuel in Stuttgart.
31 May 1927: The last Model T Ford - number 15,007,003 - rolls off the assembly line.
31 May 1988: A Norwegian soldier wins in court the right to wear ear- rings on parade.
1 June 1880: The world's first public telephone comes into operation in Connecticut.
1 June 1935: Compulsory driving tests are introduced in Britain.
1 June 1938: Superman flies into action for the first time in DC Comics.
1 June 1966: Bob Dylan is booed by purists at the Albert Hall for using an electric guitar.Reuse content