Traditionally the beginning of the oyster-eating season.
Greengrocers rise at dawn of Sun
August the fifth – come haste away
To Billingsgate the thousands run
Tis Oyster Day ! Tis Oyster Day !
Every-Day Book, 1829
It was thought that anyone eating an oyster on this day would not lack for money for the rest of the year [an idea no doubt encouraged by oyster-sellers – “the more you eat, dearie, the richer you’ll be.”]
Kids in parts of London used to take more practical steps towards ensuring prosperity by gathering discarded oyster shells and building with them cone-shaped grottos with lighted candles inside or on top, exhibiting them on the streets and begging coins from passers-by for their efforts.
910 – The last major Danish army to raid England was defeated at the Battle of Tettenhall by the allied forces of Mercia and Wessex, led by King Edward the Elder and Earl Aethelred of Mercia.
1850 – Guy de Maupassant born. 19th-century French writer, considered one of the fathers of the modern short story and one of the form’s finest exponents.
1862 – Joseph Merrick born. Englishman with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity, popularly known as the Elephant Man.
1895 – Friedrich Engels died. German-English industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx.
1925 – Plaid Cymru formed with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the Welsh language that was at the time in danger of dying out. As a political party in Wales it advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state. It won its first seat in 1966 and by 2012 had 1 of 4 Welsh seats in the European Parliament, 3 of 40 Welsh seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 11 of 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales, and 206 of 1,264 principal local authority councillors.
1962 – Nelson Mandela jailed. He would not be released until 1990.
1962 – Marilyn Monroe died. Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroners office recorded cause of death as “acute barbiturate poisoning”, resulting from a “probable suicide”. Many theories, including murder, circulated about the circumstances of her death and the timeline after the body was found. Some conspiracy theories involved John and Robert Kennedy, while other theories suggested CIA or Mafia complicity. It was reported that President Kennedy was the last person Monroe called.