Tag Archives: Tyburn

Almanac – May 24

1725 – Jonathan Wild died.  He was perhaps the most infamous criminal of London — and possibly Great Britain — during the 18th century, both because of his own actions and the uses novelists, playwrights, and political satirists made of them.

 He invented a scheme which allowed him to run one of the most successful gangs of thieves of the era, all the while appearing to be the nation’s leading policeman. He manipulated the press and the nation’s fears to become the most loved public figure of the 1720s; this love turned to hatred when his villainy was exposed. After his death, he became a symbol of corruption and hypocrisy.

When Wild was taken for execution to the gallows at Tyburn , Daniel Defoe said that the crowd was far larger than any they had seen before and that, instead of any celebration or commiseration with the condemned,

    “wherever he came, there was nothing but hollowing and huzzas,
    as if it had been upon a triumph.”

Wild’s hanging was a great event, and tickets were sold in advance for the best vantage points. Even in a year with a great many macabre spectacles, Wild drew an especially large and boisterous crowd. The hangman, Richard Arnet, had been a guest at Wild’s wedding.

In the dead of night, Wild’s body was buried in secret at the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church next to Elizabeth Mann, his third wife.  His burial was only temporary.

In the 18th century, autopsies and dissections were performed on the most notorious criminals, and consequently Wild’s body was exhumed and sold to the Royal College of Surgeons for dissection. His skeleton remains on public display in the Royal College’s Hunterian Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

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Almanac – March 04

1193 – Salāh al-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb died.  Better known in the Western world as Saladin,  he was the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty.

A Muslim of Kurdish origins, Saladin led Islamic opposition against the European Crusaders in the Levant. At the height of his power, his sultanate included Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and parts of North Africa.

Saladin died of a fever. In his  possession at the time of his death were 1 piece of gold and 47 pieces of silver. He had given away his great wealth to his poor subjects leaving nothing to pay for his funeral. He was buried in a mausoleum in the garden outside the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, Syria.

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1702 – Jack Sheppard born. Notorious English robber, burglar and thief of early 18th-century London. He was arrested and imprisoned five times in 1724 but escaped four times, making him a notorious public figure, and wildly popular with the poorer classes. Ultimately, he was caught, convicted, and hanged at Tyburn, ending his brief criminal career after less than two years.

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1878 – Peter D. Ouspensky born. Russian esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915.

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1950 – Adam Rainer died. The only man in recorded human history  to have been both a dwarf and a giant.

Born in Graz, Austria-Hungary in 1899,  in 1917, at age 18, he was measured at  4 ft 0.25 in. – a  typical defining characteristic of dwarfism is an adult height below 4 ft 10 in.

Then, probably  as a result of a pituitary tumor, he had a dramatic growth spurt so that by 1931 he had reached a height of 7 ft 2 in.

As a result of his gigantism he became bedridden for the rest of his life. When he died in 1950 he had reached a height of7 ft 8 in.

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Almanac – January 30

1649 – Charles I executed. The execution took place at Whitehall, London,  on a scaffold in front of the Banqueting House. Charles was separated from the people by large ranks of soldiers, and his last speech reached only those with him on the scaffold. He declared that he had desired the liberty and freedom of the people as much as any, “but I must tell you that their liberty and freedom consists in having government…. It is not their having a share in the government; that is nothing appertaining unto them. A subject and a sovereign are clean different things.” 

Kind of :  I know best because I’m king, and I’m king because I know best, so suck on that, scum. The same attutude (replacing king with rich) is prevalent in our current Consevative government.

Closer to the fact was the statement from The Ordinance For The King’s Trial

“Charles Stuart, the now king of England… hath had a wicked design totally to subvert the ancient and fundamental laws and liberties of this nation, and in their place to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical government.”

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1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England was ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch, Charles I,  he himself deposed.

 

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1969 – The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert was broken up by the police.

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1971 – Carole King‘s album Tapestry  released – it would become the longest charting album by a female solo artist and sell 24 million copies worldwide.

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1980 – Professor Longhair died.  New Orleans blues singer and pianist. Professor Longhair is noteworthy for having been active in two distinct periods, both in the heyday of early rhythm and blues, and in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The journalist Tony Russell, in his book The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray, stated “The vivacious rhumba-rhythmed piano blues and choked singing typical of Fess were too weird to sell millions of records; he had to be content with siring musical offspring who were simple enough to manage that, like Fats Domino or Huey “Piano” Smith. But he is also acknowledged as a father figure by subtler players like Allen Toussaint and Dr. John.”

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Almanac – November 16

1724 – Jack Sheppard executed.  Notorious English robber, burglar and thief of early 18th-century London.  He was arrested and imprisoned five times in 1724 but escaped four times, making him a notorious public figure, and wildly popular with the poorer classes. Ultimately, he was caught, convicted, and hanged at Tyburn, ending his brief criminal career after less than two years.

His slight build had aided his previous prison escapes, but it condemned him to a slow death by strangulation by the hangman’s noose. After hanging for the prescribed 15 minutes, his body was cut down. The crowd pressed forward to stop his body from being removed, fearing dissection; their actions inadvertently prevented Sheppard’s friends from implementing a plan to take his body to a doctor in an attempt to revive him. His badly mauled remains were recovered later and buried in the churchyard of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields that evening.

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1873 – W. C. Handy born. Widely known as the “Father of the Blues”,  Handy remains among the most influential of American songwriters.. While he was not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a regional music style with a limited audience to one of the dominant national forces in American music.

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1933 – Garnet Mimms born. American singer, influential in soul music and rhythm and blues. He’s responsible for one of my favorite Northern Soul numbers – “Looking For You”

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1938 – LSD  first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland.

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1971 – Edie Sedgwick died. American actress, socialite, fashion model and heiress,  best known for being one of Andy Warhol‘s superstars. Sedgwick became known as “The Girl of the Year” in 1965 after starring in several of his  short films.

Bob Dylan‘s “Just Like a Woman” and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” from his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde are purportedly about Sedgwick, and  his 1965  single “Like a Rolling Stone” was also reportedly inspired by her.

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Almanac – November 03

1783 – John Austin, a highwayman, was the last person to be publicly hanged at London’s Tyburn gallows.

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1899 – Rezső Seress born. Hungarian pianist and composer. His most famous composition is Szomorú Vasárnap (“Gloomy Sunday“), written in 1933, which gained infamy as it became associated with a spate of suicides.

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1926 – Annie Oakley died. American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Oakley’s amazing talentand timely rise to fame led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, which propelled her to become the first American female superstar. She died of pernicious anemia in Greenville, Ohio at the age of sixty-six.

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1957 – Wilhelm Reich died.  Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.

He coined the term “orgone” – derived from “orgasm” and “organism” – for a cosmic energy he said he had discovered, which he said others referred to as God. In 1940 he started building orgone accumulators, devices that his patients sat inside to harness the reputed health benefits, leading to newspaper stories about sex boxes that cured cancer.

Following two critical articles about him in The New Republic and Harper’s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and associated literature, believing they were dealing with a “fraud of the first magnitude.” Charged with contempt in 1956 for having violated it, Reich was sentenced to two years in prison, and in August that year six tons of his publications were burned by order of the court, one of the most notable examples of censorship in the history of the United States. He died in jail of heart failure just over a year later, days before he was due to apply for parole

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1957 – The Soviet Union launched  Sputnik 2. On board was the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika. She was destined to also be the first animal to die in orbit.

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1979 – Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party were shot dead and seven are wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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1986 – Iran-Contra Affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reported that the United States has been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

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1993 – Leon Theremin died.  Russian and Soviet inventor. He is most famous for his invention of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments.

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2002 – Lonnie Donegan died. Scottish-born skiffle musician, with more than 20 UK Top 30 hits to his name. Known as the “King of Skiffle” and is often cited as a large influence on the generation of British musicians who became famous in the 1960s.

The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums states Donegan was “Britain’s most successful and influential recording artist before The Beatles. He chalked up 24 successive Top 30 hits, and was the first UK male to score two U.S. Top 10s”.

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