It happened today – this day in history – April 23

871: Death of Ethelred I, King of Wessex.

1014: King Brian Boru of Ireland defeats Viking forces at Battle of Clontarf, freeing Ireland from foreign control.

1124: Death of Alexander I, King of Scots.

1445: Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou.

1564: Birth of William Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon.

1597: Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” is first performed on his 33rd birthday, with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.

1616: Death of William Shakespeare on his 52nd birthday.

1661: Charles II is crowned in London.

1702: Queen Anne is crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1775: Birth of landscape artist J. M. W. Turner.

1849: Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and members of the Petrashevsky Circle are arrested in St. Petersburg.

1850: Poet William Wordsworth dies aged 80.

1861: Gen Robert E Lee is named commander of Virginia Confederate forces in the American Civil War.

1867: Queen Victoria and Napoleon III turn down plans for a channel tunnel.

1915: War poet Rupert Brooke dies aged 27.

1939: The first performance of Béla Bartok’s 2nd Concerto for violin.

1948: On the eve of playing in the 1948 FA Cup final Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews is named as the first winner of Football Writers’ Association ‘Footballer of the Year’ award.

1959: The first heliport in Britain opens in London.

1960: Paul McCartney and John Lennon appear as The Nerk Twins at The Fox And Hounds in Caversham, Berks, Paul’s aunt’s pub where they are staying.

1963: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones meet for the first time at a Stones performance at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, Surrey. They quickly become friends.

1968: The new 5p and 10p decimal coins are introduced to the British currency, although until 1971 they act as shilling and two shilling pieces.

1972: Singles chart:


  1. Amazing Grace – Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
  2. Back Off Boogaloo – Ringo Starr
  3. Without You – Nilsson
  4. Sweet Talking Guy – The Chiffons
  5. Come What May – Vicky Leandros
  6. Young New Mexican Puppeteer – Tom Jones
  7. Debora – Tyrannosaurus Rex
  8. Run Run Run – Jo Jo Gunne
  9. Radancer – Marmalade
  10. Until It’s Time For You To Go – Elvis Presley
1972: Deep Purple – Machine Head

Album chart:

  1. Machine Head – Deep Purple
  2. Prophets Seers And Sages/My People Were Fair – Tyrannosaurus Rex
  3. Harvest – Neil Young
  4. We’d Like To Teach The World To Sing – The New Seekers
  5. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  6. Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne
  7. Nilsson Schmilsson – Harry Nilsson
  8. Paul Simon – Paul Simon
  9. Electric Warrior – T. Rex
  10. Slade Alive – Slade

1979: Blair Peach, a 33-year old New Zealand-born teacher for special needs children in east London and anti-racism activist dies from head injuries after protesters demonstrating against a National Front meeting clash with members of the police’s controversial Special Patrol Group in Southall.

1984: Scientists isolate the HIV virus as the cause AIDS.

1986: Director Otto Preminger dies age 79.

1989: Wine merchant William Sokolin breaks a bottle of 1787 Château Margaux, possibly belonging to Thomas Jefferson, worth $500,000 at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

1990: Death of actress Paulette Goddard (Marion Levy) aged 79.

1991: Founder member of The New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders (John Anthony Genzale, Jr), dies of a drug overdose.

1992: McDonald’s opens its 1st fast-food restaurant in China. On the same day, Princess Anne (the Princess Royal) and Captain Mark Phillips divorce after 19 years of marriage.

1993: Eritrea votes to secede from Ethiopia.

1995: Peter Hodgson, from Liverpool finds a tape in his attic containing 16 of the earliest recordings made by The Beatles in 1959. The tape included Hello Little Girl, a Lennon-McCartney composition that the Beatles never recorded. The sessions had been made on a reel-to-reel recorder that Hodgson’s grandfather had lent to Paul McCartney.

1996: P L Travers, writer of Mary Poppins, dies aged 96.

1998: James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, dies in prison.

2001: Jane Andrews, a former personal assistant to the Duchess of York, goes on trial accused of murdering her boyfriend.

2007: First President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, dies of congestive heart failure aged 76.

2011: Death of Only Fools And Horses writer John Sullivan.

2012: Rangers FC owner, Craig Whyte, is banned for life from any involvement in Scottish football. On the same day, 38,000 London Marathon entrants have their home and email contacts published in a data protection breach.

2013: West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle scores the fastest century in history (from 30 balls).

2018: A van is deliberately driven into pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, killing 10 and injuring 13.

2019: Ed Sheeran is forced to knock down an outdoor sauna and ditch a huge pub sign at his £1.5 million Suffolk mansion after failing to get planning permission. On the same day, Southampton striker Shane Long scores fastest goal in Premier League history when he nets after 7.69 seconds in 1-1 draw at Watford.

2020: US President Donald Trump suggests to the dismay of officials at a White House press briefing that COVID-19 might be treated by injecting disinfectant or UV lights into the body.

BIRTHDAYS: Lee Majors (Harvey Lee Yeary) actor, 82; David Cross, violinist (King Crimson) 72; John Miles, singer-songwriter/musician, 72; Michael Moore, documentary maker, 67; Captain Sensible (Ray Burns), singer/musician, 66; David Gedge, singer, (The Wedding Present) 61; Valerie Bertinelli, actress, 61; John Hannah, actor, 59; Jónsi (Jón Þór) Birgisson, singer-songwriter (Sigur Ros), 46; John Cena, wrester/actor, 44; Kal Penn (Kalpen Suresh Modi) actor and former member of Obama administration, 44; John Oliver, TV host, 44; Jaime King, actress/model, 42; Taio Cruz, singer-songwriter, 36; Alistair Brownlee, athlete, 33; Steph Houghton, footballer, 33; Dev Patel, actor, 31; Gigi (Jelena) Hadid, model, 26; Josh Kiszka, vocalist (Greta van Fleet), 25; Jake Kiszka, guitarist (Greta van Fleet) 25; Prince Louis of Cambridge, 3.