this is the week that was

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29 January:

1886: Karl Benz patents the first petrol-driven car.

1927: Opening of the Park Lane Hotel, the first with a private bathroom for each room.

1985: Oxford dons vote against the award of an honorary degree to Margaret Thatcher.

30 January:

1649: Beheading of Charles I.

1933: President von Hindenburg names Adolf Hitler as the new chancellor of Germany.

1948: Assassination of Gandhi.

1961: Contraceptive pills first go on sale in Britain.

31 January:

1606: Guy Fawkes is hanged, drawn and quartered.

1747: The first clinic for venereal diseases opens at the London Lock Hospital.

1983: The wearing of seat belts becomes compulsory in the front seats of cars in Britain.

1 February:

1884: A-Ant, the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, is published.

1911: Edward Mylius is sent to jail for one year for libel, after he called George V a bigamist.

1915: Passport photographs become compulsory on British passports.

1973: Women are first allowed on the floor of the Stock Exchange.

2 February:

1852: Britain's first public lavatory is opened in London.

1880: Frozen meat is imported into Britain for the first time from Sydney, Australia.

1962: A conjunction of eight planets portends the end of the world. Indian astrologers chant a liturgy 4.8 million times, the Burmese Prime Minister sets free goats, pigs, bulls, crabs and doves, and the cataclysm is averted.

3 February:

1942: The Government announces maximum prices for clothes. A suit may cost no more than pounds 4 18 shillings and eightpence.

4 February:

1962: Britain's first newspaper colour supplement appears in the Sunday Times.

1963: Margaret Hunter, a learner driver, is fined for driving on after her instructor had jumped from the vehicle shouting: "This is insane".