Happy Anniversary: Manhole covers held to ransom

William Hartston
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:28

A FORTNIGHT of neglected anniversaries to take us through the festive season:

20 December

1957: Elvis Presley receives his call-up papers to join the army.

21 December

1846: An anaesthetic (ether) is used for the first time by the surgeon Robert Liston for a leg amputation at University College Hospital, London.

1880: Women given the vote in the Isle of Man, as long as they are widows or spinsters owning property rated at pounds 4 a year or more.

1911: The Jules Bonnet gang make the first successful escape in a getaway car after a bank robbery in Paris.

22 December

1922: The Metropolitan Police allow covered-top buses to go on trial in London.

1938: A coelacanth is found off the coast of South Africa after having been believed extinct for 70 million years. (Some sources give 29 December, but what's a week in 70 million years?)

1943: The government says there are only enough turkeys for one family in ten.

1987: Thieves in Xianying, China, steal and hold to ransom 2,249 manhole covers.

23 December

1834: Joseph Hansom patents the 'safety cab'.

1888: Vincent van Gogh cuts off his ear.

1987: Santa Claus, by arrangement with the Finnish Tourist Board, has an audience with the Pope.

24 December

1922: The BBC broadcast the first play written for radio: The Truth About Father Christmas by Phyllis M Twigg.

1974: The Beatles partnership is formally dissolved.

25 December

1800: Queen Charlotte imports form Germany Britain's first Christmas tree.

1913: A New York couple are arrested and fined dollars 15 for kissing in the street on Christmas Day.

1983: A 70-year-old woman in Oakland, California, celebrates Christmas by shooting dead her 72- year-old husband because he was having an affair.

26 December

1717: Harlequin Executed, the first pantomime, is presented at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, London.

27 December

1904: The first performance of Peter Pan stars Daphne du Maurier's father in the role of Captain Hook.

1945: The International Monetary Fund is established.

28 December

1934: The first cricket Test match for women, England v Australia, begins in Brisbane.

29 December

1890: The Battle of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, becomes the last major conflict between US troops and American Indians.

1914: First zeppelin sighted off British coast.

30 December

1894: Death of Amelia Janks Bloomer, the feminist whose ankle- exposing trousers gave a new word to the language.

31 December

1695: Window tax imposed.

1923: Chimes of Big Ben first broadcast.

1935: The game Monopoly patented by Charles Darrow.

1938: Dr R Hargen's 'Drunkometer', the first breathalyser, is used by police in Indianapolis.

1987: The year finishes one second early to make a necessary adjustment to the Georgian calendar.

1 January

1660: Samuel Pepys begins his diary.

1808: The import of slaves to the United States ends.

1955: Luncheon vouchers first issued in Britain.

1961: The farthing is no longer legal tender.

1988: Eric Bristow becomes the first darts player to receive an MBE.

2 January

1839: Louis Daguerre takes the first photograph of the moon.

1987: Publishers of the Noddy books give way to anti-racist lobby and change golliwogs to gnomes.

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