Tag Archives: Tower of London

Almanac – May 09

1671Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempted to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

 

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Almanac – February 18

1478 – George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was “executed in private” at the Tower of London.
A tradition grew up that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. This may have originated in a joke, based on his reputation as a heavy drinker. However, a butt was equal to three hogsheads — 477.3 litres (105 imperial gallons) easily enough to drown in.

A body, believed to be that of Clarence, which was later exhumed, showed no indications of beheading, the normal method of execution for those of noble birth at that time.

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1930 – Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft,  doing so as part of the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

On the same trip, which covered 72 miles in a Ford Trimotor airplane from Bismarck, Missouri to St. Louis, she also became the first cow milked in flight. This was done ostensibly to allow scientists to observe midair effects on animals, as well as for publicity purposes.

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1941 – Irma Thomas born. American singer,  known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans“.  A contemporary of Aretha Franklin and Etta James, but while never experiencing  their level of commercial success, she still  has a large cult following among soul aficionados.

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Almanac – February 12

1554 – A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason, aged 16 or 17.

She was an English noblewoman and de facto monarch of England from 10 July until 19 July 1553.

During her short reign, Jane resided in the Tower of London. She became a prisoner there when the Privy Council decided to change sides and proclaim Mary as Queen on 19 July.

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1870 – Marie Lloyd born. English music hall singer, comedienne and musical theatre actress during the late Victorian era. She was perhaps best known for her many songs based on everyday subjects for working-class women, including “The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery”, her first major success, “My Old Man (Said Follow the Van)” and “Oh Mr Porter What Shall I Do”.

She received much criticism for her use of innuendo and double entendre during her performances, but enjoyed a long and prosperous career and was affectionately called the “Queen of the Music Hall” by her audiences.

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1929 – Lillie Langtry died.  British music hall singer and stage actress famous for her many stage productions including She Stoops to Conquer, The Lady of Lyons and As You Like It.

She was also known for her relationships with nobility, including the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Shrewsbury and Prince Louis of Battenberg.

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1984 – Death of Anna Anderson . She claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, believed executed by Bolshevik soldiers on the night of July 16 / 17 1918.

Anderson’s body was cremated upon her death ,  but DNA testing in 1994 on available pieces of Anderson’s tissue and hair showed no relation to the DNA of the Imperial family

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2000 – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins died.  American musician, singer, and actor. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You”, Hawkins oftn used macabre props onstage, making him one of the few early shock rockers.

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Almanac – December 11

1282 – Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of an independent  Wales, was killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, Wales.

There are legends surrounding the fate of Llywelyn’s severed head. It is known that it was sent to Edward I of England  at Rhuddlan and after being shown to the English troops based in Anglesey, Edward sent the head on to London, where it was set up in the city pillory for a day, and crowned with ivy {i.e. to show he was a “king” of Outlaws} and in mockery of the ancient Welsh prophecy, which said that a Welshman would be crowned in London as king of the whole of Britain. Then it was carried by a horseman on the point of his lance to the Tower of London and set up over the gate. It was still on the Tower of London 15 years later.

The last resting place of Llywelyn’s body is not known for certain, however it has always been tradition that it was interred at the Cistercian Abbey at Abbeycwmhir.

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1926 – Big Mama Thornton born. American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter.

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1964 – Sam Cooke died. American gospel, R&B, soul, and pop singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur, considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music.

He was fatally shot by the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled that Cooke was drunk and distressed, and that the manager had killed Cooke in what was later ruled a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned.

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2008 – Bettie Page died. American model who became famous in the 1950s for her pin-up photos. Often referred to as the “Queen of Pinups”, her jet black hair, blue eyes, and trademark bangs have influenced many – The Cramps, for example.

From 1952 through 1957, she posed for photographer Irving Klaw for mail-order photographs with pin-up, bondage or sadomasochistic themes, making her the first famous bondage model.

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Almanac – August 15

1057 – Macbeth (Mac Bethad mac Findlaích ) killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada (the future King Malcolm III.)  According to tradition, the battle took place near the Peel of Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire. Macbeth’s Stone, some 300 metres  south-west of the peel, is said to be the stone upon which Macbeth was beheaded – although The Prophecy of Berchán ( a verse history which purports to be a prophecy) has it that he was wounded and died at Scone, sixty miles to the south, some days later.

1928 – Nicolas Roeg born. English film director and cinematographer.  He started his film career by contributing to the visual look of Lawrence of Arabia and Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death, and co-directing Performance in 1970. He would later direct such landmark films as Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

1941 – Corporal Josef Jakobs executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 7:12 am, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for treason. He  was a German spy who was captured shortly after parachuting into the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Convicted of espionage under the Treachery Act 1940, he was shot by a military firing squad.

1963 – Execution of Henry John Burnett, the last man to be hanged in Scotland

1965 – The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded by some as the birth of stadium rock.

1967 – René Magritte died. Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images that fell under the umbrella of surrealism.

1969 – Woodstock opened,  more properly the  Woodstock Music & Art Fair   –  “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”.  And rain. And mud

1977 – The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, received a radio signal, the so-called Wow ! signal,  from deep space – a strong narrowband radio signal detected by Jerry R. Ehman. The signal bore expected hallmarks of potential non-terrestrial and non-Solar System origin. It lasted for the full 72-second duration that Big Ear observed it, but has not been detected again.

Amazed at how closely the signal matched the expected signature of an interstellar signal in the antenna used, Ehman circled the signal on the computer printout and wrote the comment “Wow!” on its side, and so it became known.

2008 – Jerry Wexler died.  A music journalist turned music producer, he was regarded as one of the major record industry players  from the 1950s through the 1980s. He coined the term “rhythm and blues” in  1948 as a musical marketing term replacing the term “race music”, and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.

Mr. Frankenstein

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