this is the week that was

Click to follow
The Independent Online
18 September:

1879: The Blackpool illuminations are first switched on.

1981: President Mitterand formally abolishes the Guillotine.

19 September:

1876: Melville Bissell patents the carpet sweeper.

1888: The world's first beauty contest is held in Belgium.

1893: New Zealand gives women the vote - the first country to do so.

1928: Mickey Mouse (with Walt Disney's voice) speaks in Steamboat Willie, the first talkie cartoon.

1960: 344 tickets are issued on London's first day of traffic meters and parking wardens.

20 September:

1842: Birth of James Dewar, inventor of the vacuum flask.

1961: Antonio Albertondo of Argentina becomes the first to swim the channel and back non-stop. It took him 43hrs 5mins.

21 September:

1576: The astrologer Girolamo Cardano predicted his own death for this date. He woke up feeling fine but killed himself later the same day.

1915: CH Chubb buys Stonehenge at auction for pounds 6,600.

1986: Prince Charles admits on television that he talks to his plants.

1987: Viscount Linley becomes the first member of the royal family to be banned from driving.

22 September:

1735: Robert Walpole becomes the first PM to occupy 10 Downing Street.

1920: The Metropolitan Police Flying Squad is formed.

1955: The first advert is broadcast on British television - for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

23 September:

1846: Johann Galle discovers the planet Neptune.

1848: Chewing gum is first marketed, by John Curtis, under the name State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum.

1897: A nine-year-old boy in Hackney becomes the first motoring fatality on a public highway.

1974: First transmission of Ceefax Teletext on BBC TV.

24 September:

1916: The naturalist John Burroughs says that moving pictures deprive people of brain power.

1928: Sir Oswald Mosley, then a Labour MP, declares that his title "doesn't mean anything" and therefore is not worth giving up.

1963: Doctors in New Zealand perform the first successful blood transfusion to an unborn baby.

1967: A 4lb 2oz aardvark is delivered in a Miami zoo, the first to be born in captivity in the West.