this is the week that was

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24 July:

1824: The first public opinion poll is held in Delaware and shows Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams in the contest for the US presidency. A tradition of incorrect predictions was thus established.

1851: End of the Window Tax, which had run since 1696.

1853: Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, drowns in an attempt to swim the whirlpool rapids of Niagara Falls.

1936: The GPO speaking clock service begins. It attracts 250,000 calls in its first week.

1969: President Nixon announces it has been "the greatest week in the history of the world since the creation" as the Apollo XI astronauts return from the moon.

25 July:

1587: China bans Christianity.

1865: Death of British Army Surgeon Major-General James Barry, who is then discovered to have been a woman, Miranda Stuart.

1888: Touch-typing is demonstrated by Frank McGurrin, official stenographer of Salt Lake City Federal Court. He wins a typing contest against four- finger typist Louis Taub.

1890: In London, Thomas Edison demonstrates his latest invention: talking dolls.

26 July:

1745: The first recorded women's cricket match.

1956: Unveiling of ERNIE, the computerised premium bond winning-number picker.

1965: The GPO announces a switch to numbers-only dialling.

27 July:

1918: The first women's national athletics championships are held in Vienna.

1964: Winston Churchill makes his final appearance in the House of Commons.

28 July:

1586: The potato is introduced into Ireland. Sir Walter Raleigh plans to use them to feed the animals on his estate near Cork.

1655: Death of Cyrano de Bergerac.

1741: Death of Antonio Vivaldi.

1750: Death of JS Bach.

29 July:

1926: London County Council medical officers praise women's fashions on grounds of hygiene.

1981: Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer.

30 July:

1918: Captain Sarret of France makes the first parachute drop from an aircraft.

1966: England wins the Football World Cup.

1968: The state of California fines its public defender for being too fat at 17 stones.

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