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.

1344: The Order of the Garter, the most senior knighthood in the UK, is founded by Edward III.

1445: Henry VI marries 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.

1662: Connecticut is chartered as an English colony

1702: Queen Anne is crowned at Westminster Abbey.

1775: Birth of landscape artist J. M. W. Turner. On the same day, the opera “Il Ré Pastore” (The Shepherd King) by Mozart is first produced in Salzburg.

1838: The English steamship “Great Western” crosses the Atlantic and docks in New York City.

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.

1891: Jews are expelled from Moscow.

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.


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1964: Singles chart:

  1. World Without Love – Peter and Gordon
  2. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
  3. I Believe – The Bachelors
  4. Don’t Throw Your Love Away – The Searchers
  5. My Boy Lillopop – Millie
  6. I Love You Because – Jim Reeves
  7. Tell Me When – The AppleJacks
  8. Not Fade Away – The Rolling Stones
  9. Little Children – Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas
  10. Just One Look – The Hollies
1967: The Monkees

1967: Album chart:

  1. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack
  2. More Of The Monkees – The Monkees
  3. The Monkees – The Monkees
  4. Best Of – The Beach Boys
  5. Green Green Grass Of Home – Tom Jones
  6. Images – The Walker Brothers
  7. Fiddler On The Roof – Original London Cast
  8. Come The Day – The Seekers
  9. Four Tops Live – The Four Top
  10. Between The Buttons – The Rolling Stones

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.

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 of 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 first 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 includes 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 the fastest goal in Premier League history when he nets after 7.69 seconds in the 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.

Steph Houghton

BIRTHDAYS: Lee Majors (Harvey Lee Yeary) actor, 84; David Cross, violinist (King Crimson) 74; Michael Moore, documentary maker, 69; Captain Sensible (Ray Burns), singer/musician, 68; David Gedge, singer, (The Wedding Present) 63; Valerie Bertinelli, actress, 63; John Hannah, actor, 61; Jónsi (Jón Þór) Birgisson, singer-songwriter (Sigur Ros), 48; John Cena, wrester/actor, 46; Kal Penn (Kalpen Suresh Modi) actor and former member of the Obama administration, 46; John Oliver, TV host, 46; Jaime King, actress/model, 44; Taio Cruz, singer-songwriter, 38; Alistair Brownlee, athlete, 35; Steph Houghton, footballer, 35; Dev Patel, actor, 33; Gigi (Jelena) Hadid, model, 28; Josh Kiszka, vocalist (Greta van Fleet), 27; Jake Kiszka, guitarist (Greta van Fleet) 27; Prince Louis of Cambridge, 5.