It happened today – this day in history – January 1

49: Roman emperor Claudius marries his niece Agrippina.

1502: Portuguese navigators discover Rio de Janeiro.

1515: Francis I succeeds Louis XII as king of France.

1660: The first entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary. On the same day, Thomas Fairfax’s New Model Army occupies York.

1689: The Earl of Danby – a supporter of James II – occupies York.

1724: Glassblower Daniel Gabriel Farenheit proposes a system for making thermometers and the Fahrenheit temperature scale to the Royal Society of London.

1772: The first traveller’s cheques go on sale in London.

1785: The Times is first published as the “Daily Universal Register”.

1797: Albany becomes the capital of New York state.

1801: The Irish Parliament votes to join the Kingdom of Great Britain. On the same day, the dwarf planet Ceres is discovered by Italian monk Giuseppe Piazzi.

1804: Haiti gains independence from France.

1808: Sierra Leone becomes a British colony.

1818: Official reopening of the White House in Washington DC. On the same day, Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” is published anonymously.

1846: Yucatan declares independence from Mexico.

1848: Britain takes the Mosquito Coast from Nicaragua.

1863: The Emancipation Proclamation is issued by Abraham Lincoln to free slaves in US confederate states. On the same day, Franz Schubert’s “Missa Solemnis,” premieres in Leipzig.

1869: Paraguay’s capital Asunción falls to Brazilian forces led by General João de Souza da Fonseca Costa in the War of the Triple Alliance.

1877: Queen Victoria is proclaimed Empress of India.

1879: Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D major premieres in Leipzig. On the same day, novelist E M Forster is born in Marylebone.

1880: Building of the Panama Canal begins.

1892: Ellis Island opens as a US immigration inspection station.

1894: The Manchester Ship Canal opens.

1896: German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen announces his discovery of x-rays.

1899: Cuba is liberated from Spanish rule by the US.

1901: The Commonwealth of Australia is formed when the British (Imperial) Parliament Act, the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900, comes into effect.

1903: Edward VII is crowned Emperor of India.

1908: Jack Hobbs makes his international cricket debut in England’s 2nd Test win over Australia.

1909: The Old Age Pension Law in Britain is finally instituted, providing pensions for every British subject over 70 with a low income.

1916: The first blood transfusion using stored and cooled blood is performed.

1917: T E Lawrence joins the forces of the Arabian sheik Feisal al Husayn, beginning his adventures that will lead him to Damascus by October, 1918.

1922: Coal miners in the Transvaal, South Africa, start a strike in response to a wage cut, which quickly escalates into a large-scale revolt against the government.

1923: Britain’s Railways are grouped into LNER, GWR, SR, and LMSR.

1925: Norway’s capital Christiania changes its name to Oslo.

1937: Safety glass in vehicle windscreens becomes mandatory in Britain.

1947: Britain nationalises its coal industry.

1948: Britain nationalises its railways.

1949: Cricket’s greatest batsman, Australia’s Don Bradman is knighted.


1950: Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh begins an offensive against French troops in Indochina.

1953: Country singer-songwriter Hank Williams dies of a heart attack brought on by a lethal cocktail of pills and alcohol aged 29 in the back of a car while being driven to a gig. On the same day, the first TV detector van, used to track down users of unlicensed television sets, begins operation in the UK.

1956: Sudan declares independence from Egypt and the UK.

1957: Benjamin Britten’s ballet “The Prince & the Pauper,” premieres in London. On the same day, an IRA unit attacks Brookeborough RUC barracks in one of the most famous incidents of the IRA’s Operation Harvest.

1958: The common market (EEC) begins. On the same day, BOAC Britannia flies London to NY in a record 7hr 57m.

1959: Johnny Cash plays a free concert for the inmates of San Quentin Prison, California. On the same day, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista finally flees to the Dominican Republic.

1960: Cameroon gains independence from France.

1962: The Beatles audition for Decca Records. A&R boss at Decca, Dick Rowe, turns them down in what is considered one of the biggest mistakes in music industry history, saying that guitar bands are over. On the same day, Western Samoa gains independence from New Zealand.

1964: The first edition of the BBC TV show Top Of The Pops is transmitted from an old church hall in Manchester, featuring Dusty Springfield, The Rolling Stones, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Dave Clark Five and The Hollies.

1965: Stoke City’s Stanley Matthews becomes the first professional footballer to be awarded a knighthood while still playing.

1970: The Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), an infantry regiment of the British Army, comes into existence.

1973: The UK becomes a member of the European Economic Community.

1975: Presidential aides H R Halderman, John Ehrlichman, John Mitchell and Robert Mardian are convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury in connection with the Watergate scandal.

1980: A mob storms the Russian embassy in Tehran.

1981: Greece joins the EEC.

1982: ABBA make their final live appearance as a group when they play in Stockholm. On the same day, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar becomes Secretary-General of the United Nations.

1984: Stalwart of the British blues movement of the early 1960s, Alexis Korner dies of lung cancer aged 55.

Singles chart:

  1. Only You – The Flying Pickets
  2. My Oh My – Slade
  3. Love Of The Common People – Paul Young
  4. Victims – Culture Club
  5. Marguerita Time – Status Quo
  6. Tell Her About It – Billy Joel
  7. Islands In The Stream – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
  8. Hold Me Now – The Thompson Twins
  9. Pipes Of Peace – Paul McCartney
  10. What Is Love? – Howard Jones
1984: Billy Joel – An Innocent Man

Album chart:

  1. Now That’s What I Call Music – Various Artists
  2. No Parlez – Paul Young
  3. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  4. Colour By Numbers – Culture Club
  5. Stages – Elaine Page
  6. Green Velvet – Various Artists
  7. An Innocent Man – Billy Joel
  8. Pipes Of Peace – Paul McCartney
  9. Can’t Slow Down – Lionel Richie
  10. Chas And Dave’s Knees Up: Jamboree Bag Number 2 – Chas and Dave

1985: The first British mobile phone call is made by comedian Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

1986: Spain and Portugal join the EEC.

On TV today (Wednesday)

11.00American Football
14.00Film: Waterloo Road (1945)
A newly conscripted railway worker (John Mills) goes AWOL when he suspects his new wife is seeing a womanizing draft dodger (Stewart Granger).
15.25Film: The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950)
British comedy starring Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell and Alastair Sim
17.00Film: The Custard Boys (1979)
Adapted from the novel by John Rae about children in a wartime English village.
18.30News summary and weather
19.00Mr Parnes Shilling and Pence
20.00Blue Suede Shoes
21.00Unknown Chaplin
22.00Brigitte Bardot – My Own Story
23.00The Comic Strip Presents… Consuela
Comedy written by Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders

07.00TV-am: Good Morning Britain
09.25Fraggle Rock
09.50Film: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979)
11.25Gymnastics ’85
12.30Wish You Were Here…?
13.00News at One
13.05Film: The Ten Commandments (1956)
Cecil B de Mille epic starring Charlton Heston as Moses
17.00ITN News
17.05A Royal Celebration of Youth
19.00Coronation Street
19.30Des O’Connor Tonight
20.30Mistral’s Daughter
22.30ITN News
22.45Vincent Price’s Dracula
23.45Sonny Hayes and Co

08.00Pages from Ceefax
08.30The Pink Panther Show
09.05Mop and Smiff
09.20The Littlest Hobo
09.45Why Don’t You…
10.10The Hunter
10.15Play Chess
10.25Ivor the Engine
10.30Play School
10.50Edinburgh Military Tattoo 1985
12.10Tom and Jerry
12.20Dot and the Kangaroo
14.00Ice Skating Special
15.15Back to the Drawing Board
16.00Paul Young in Concert
16.50Final Score
17.20The Circus World Championships
18.20Film: Clash of the Titans (1980)
Fantasy adventure starring Harry Hamlin as Perseus
20.15Last of the Summer Wine: Uncle of the Bride
Comedy series
21.55Film: Rocky II (1979)
Boxing sequel written, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone
23.50Barry Manilow

09.00Pages from Ceefax
10.30Film: Huckleberry Finn (1974)
12.20Color Rhapsody
12.30Racing from Cheltenham
14.45What’s Up, Chuck?
15.15Film: Wonderful Life (1964)
Stars Cliff Richard and Susan Hampshire
17.05Ski Sunday Special
17.40Philip Larkin
18.10New Year’s Day Concert
20.15Film: The Front Page (1974)
Comedy drama directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.
21.55Do They Mean Us
22.35Film: Animal Crackers (1933)
Comedy starring the Marx Brothers

1991: Iraq rejects a peace proposal from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

1993: Czechoslovakia separates into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

1995: Fred West, the Gloucestershire builder charged with 12 murders, is found hanged in his prison cell.

1997: Singer songwriter Townes Van Zandt dies age 52.

2002: Twelve of the European Union’s 15 countries adopt the Euro as their currency. On the same day, Eric Clapton marries Melia McEnery the mother of his baby daughter, in Surrey.

2007: Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union.

2008: Malta and Cyprus join the European Union.

2009: Slovakia joins the European Union.

2011: Chuck Berry cuts short a concert in Chicago after collapsing on stage an hour into the show.

2013: Phil Taylor claims his 16th and last PDC World Darts Championship title with a 7–4 victory over Dutchman Michael van Gerwen. On the same day, singer Patti Page (Clara Fowler) dies aged 84.

2015: Lithuania joins the European Union.

2019: Qatar withdraws from OPEC. On the same day, singer-songwriter Pegi Young, former wife of Neil, dies of cancer age 66.

2020: Scotland’s Peter Wright beats Dutch defending champion Michael Van Gerwen, 7-3 to seal his first PDC World Darts Championship in London.

BIRTHDAYS: Frank Langella, actor, 84; “Country” Joe McDonald, singer-songwriter, 80; Morgan (Stephen) Fisher, keyboardist (Mott The Hoople) 72; Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler), DJ, 64; Fiona Phillips, TV presenter, 61; Brody Dalle, (Bree Robinson) musician/singer, 43; Richie Faulkner, guitarist (Judas Priest) 42; Jonas Armstrong, actor, 41; Ali Bastian, model/actress, 39; Naughty Boy (Shahid Khan) producer/songwriter, 36; Colin Morgan, actor, 36; Jack Wilshere, footballer, 30.