This week in history

On this week in history (18th to 24th December inclusive) as follows:

• 1154 – Henry II accedes to the throne of England
• 1848 – Emily Bronte, English author of Wuthering Heights, dies of tuberculosis at the age of 30
• 1905 – The first ever motorised ambulance service for road accident victims is set up in London
• 1919 – 6 months after his pioneering transatlantic flight with Sir Arthur Brown, British aviator Sir John Alcock is killed in a flying accident
• 1919 – British prime minister David Lloyd George announces that Ireland will have self-government with 2 parliaments
• 1935 – Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is premiered in the USA
• 1946 – Clement Attlee’s Labour government announces the nationalisation of British railways and ports
• 1964 – Britain bans the death penalty
• 1973 – Charles Atlas, the original strongman, dies aged 79
• 1974 – The Beatles partnership is legally dissolved
• 1983 – Ex President Gerald Ford makes an appearance in the soap opera Dynasty
• 1989 – The EEC signs a ten year trade pact with the Soviet Union
• 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the USSR
• 1991 – It is announced that American and Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a fleet of 500 year old ships buried 8 miles from the Nile
• 2007 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest reigning monarch in British history

And some notable birthdays include:

• 1167 – John, English Monarch, who was forced by his rebellious Barons to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede
• 1491 – Ignatius Loyola, Spanish founder of the Jesuit order
• 1732 – Sir Richard Arkwright, English inventor and industrialist who invented the mechanised spinning process powered by water
• 1777 – Alexander I, Russian Tsar who defeated Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812
• 1894 – Sir Robert Menzies, Australian statesman and prime minister
• 1905 – Anthony Powell, British novelist best known for the novel sequence ‘The Music of Time’
• 1907 – Dame Peggy Ashcroft, English stage and screen actress
• 1922 – Ava Gardner, American screen actress
• 1923 – Gordon Jackson, British stage and screen actor
• 1937 – Jane Fonda, American screen actress
• 1947 – Steven Spielberg, American film director
• 1949 – Maurice and Robin Gibb, English born pop musicians and singers with the group The Bee Gees
• 1952 – Jenny Agutter, British stage and screen actress
• 1954 – Chris Evert, American tennis champion
• 1963 – Brad Pitt, American screen actor

The ‘on this week in history’ feature will begin again in the new year.