Historic February

by Ben Johnson

Among many other events, February saw the French invasion of Fishguard in 1797 (pictured above).

1 Feb. 1901 The royal yacht Alberta brings the body of Queen Victoria into Portsmouth harbour en route to her funeral in London tomorrow. The Queen, aged 82, died on January 22, at Osborne on the Isle of Wight.
2 Feb. 1665 British forces capture New Amsterdam, the centre of the Dutch colony in North America. The trading settlement on the island of Manhattan is to be renamed New York in honour of the Duke of York, its new governor.
3 Feb. 1730 The London Daily Advertiser newspaper publishes the first stock exchange quotations.
4 Feb. 1926 Malcolm Campbell sets a new world land speed record of 174 mph (278 kmph) in Wales.
5 Feb. 1958 Parking meters first appear on the streets of London’s exclusive Mayfair district. The meters were first used in America in 1935.
6 Feb. 1783 Death of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown the greatest English landscape gardener. His work lives on today throughout the great estates of England.
7 Feb. 1301 The son of King Edward I of England becomes the first English Prince of Wales.
8 Feb. 1587 Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded on the orders of her cousin England’s Queen Elizabeth I.
9 Feb. 1964 73 million Americans tune in to the Ed Sullivan Show to watch four lads from Liverpool appear for the first time – The Beatles.
10 Feb. 1354 Students at Oxford University fight a street battle with local townspeople resulting in several deaths and many people injured.
11 Feb. 1975 Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, becomes the first woman leader of the British Conservative Party.
12 Feb. 1554 At the tender age of 16, the “nine days queen”, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded at the tower of London.
13 Feb. 1688 A “Glorious Revolution” brings the Protestant William of Orange and his wife Mary (daughter of James II) to the throne of England after the Catholic King James II flees to France.
14 Feb. 1933 Students at Oxford University, obviously bored fighting the local townspeople, declare that they would not fight for “King and Country”.
15 Feb. 1971 Pennies, bobs and half-crowns all disappear as Britain goes decimal.
16 Feb. 1659 A cheque is used for the first time in Britain as Mr Nicholas Vanacker settles a debt.
17 Feb. 1461 Lancastrian forces defeated the Yorkists at the Second Battle of St. Albans.
18 Feb. 1478 George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence died in the Tower of London said to have been drowned in a butt of his favourite malmsey wine.
19 Feb. 1897 The Women’s Institute is founded in Ontario, Canada, by Mrs Adelaide Hoodless.
20 Feb. 1938 Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary after Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain decided to negotiate with Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
21 Feb. 1804 British engineer Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first steam engine to run on rails.
22 Feb. 1797 Over 1,000 French troops attempted to invade Britain, landing on the Welsh coast. The brave ladies of Fishguard saved the day!
23 Feb. 1863 Lake Victoria, in Africa, was declared to be the source of the River Nile by British explorers John Speke and J A Grant.
24 Feb. 1917 President Woodrow Wilson informs the US nation of the contents of an intercepted message from the German foreign minister offering Mexico an alliance against the US.
25 Feb. 1570 England’s Queen Elizabeth I is excommunicated by Pope Pius V.
26 Feb. 1797 The Bank of England issues the first ever one pound note, in part a result of the panic in London caused by the French invasion of Fishguard.
27 Feb. 1782 The British Parliament votes to abandon the American War of Independence. Perhaps they were more concerned about the potential threat to Fishguard!
28 Feb. 1900 The four-month siege of the British garrison at Ladysmith in Natal, South Africa, ended as a relief force broke through the Boers at Spion Kop.

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