What happened in January? A daily overview

01 January

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary. Read more

02 January

Football disaster at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. 66 football fans are crushed to death on the exit steps of the ground towards the end of a match between Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic. At the end of the`Old F`rm` clash at Ibrox, the steel barriers on Stairway 13 in the ground gave way and a total of sixty-six people were suffocated to death and many more injured in the resulting crush. Read more

03 January

Marvin Stone patented the first ever design for drinking straws. Stone made his prototype straw by winding strips of paper around a pencil and gluing it together. He then experimented with paraffin-coated manila paper, so the straws would not become soggy while someone was drinking. Marvin Stone decided the ideal straw was 8 1/2-inches long with a diameter just wide enough to prevent things like lemon seeds from being lodged in the tube. Read more

04 January

Operation Carpetbagger begins as covert air resupply missions are flown over Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy in order to support resistance movements on the continent. The purpose was to deliver supplies to resistance groups in enemy occupied countries and to deliver personnel to the field and occasionally to bring back personnel from the field. During the `moon period` of January, six missions were flown by 36th Squadron and nine by 406th Squadron. Read more

05 January

The first cricket ODI (One Day International) was played on 5th January 1971 between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia, after the planned five-day Test Match is abandoned because of rain. This was a 40 overs match and Australia won by 5 wicket s.The cricket World Cup is played this way. Read more

06 January

History has it that Samuel Morse successfully transmitted his first electric-telegraph message on the 6th of January 1838. The artist and part-time inventor built a telegraph machine using a variety of materials that he found readily at hand, scattered throughout his workshop. Using bits of wire, cotton thread, sundry art materials and old clockwork mechanisms, he succeeded in sending a message coded in the graphic language he devised especially for such a purpose a distance amounting to some ten miles. Read more

07 January

Calais, the last English possession on the mainland of France, was regained by the French on New Year's Eve 1558 when the defenders were drunk. The kings of England once ruled more of France than the French kings themselves, but over centuries their French possessions were whittled away to the point where by 1453 all that was left was Calais and the small territory around it. Read more

08 January

Rationing began on 8 January 1940. Each person was allowed a specific mount of basic foods. In July 1940 a complete ban was put on the making or selling of iced cakes, and in September the manufacture of `candied peel` or `crystallised cherries` meant the death knell for the traditional wedding cake. On 1st December 1941 the Ministry of Food introduced the points rationing scheme for items such as canned meat, fish and vegetables at first. Everyone was given 16 points a month, later raised to twenty, to spend as wished at any shop that had the items wanted. Read more

09 January

In 1972 the Cunard ship the Queen Elizabeth started to burn and burned for 3 days. Queen Elizabeth was launched on September 27, 1938 and due to the war in Europe, her maiden voyage ended on 7 March 1940 with a surprise arrival in New York Harbor. During her war service she carried over 811,000 passengers and sailed over 500,000 miles. At 83,637 gross registered tons, she would be the largest passenger ship afloat for the next 34 years. Read more

10 January

In 1863 the London Underground was first opened, using steam trains running over four miles (six km) of track between Paddington and Farringdon Street. Nowadays there are eleven lines covering 254 miles (408 Km), with 270 stations. It was Charles Pearson who first proposed the notion of ‘trains in drains’ in 1845, when the railway was a relatively new invention. He helped raise the finance from private investors and the City of London, and excavation began in 1860, with a shallow trench dug beneath Euston Road and then covered over. Read more

11 January

On this day in 1569 the first lottery ever known in the UK was drawn at the west door of St. Paul's. The UK National Lottery is unique within Europe in involving private enterprise in its operation. Read more

12 January

In 1895, Octavia Hill, Robert Hunter and Canon Harwicke Rawnsley founded The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest and Natural Beauty in England and Wales to set aside the best and most beautiful parts of Britain for the public and posterity, and to provide sitting rooms for the poor in the countryside. Read more

13 January

Serial killer Peter Manuel is arrested in Glasgow, Scotland, after a series of attacks. His sociopathic audacity developed over time, and after killing a family of three over the New Year`s holiday of 1957, he returned to the house frequently to rest up, help himself to holiday leftovers, and drive around the family car. Before his execution he confessed to all the murders, and even a few others that the police had not originally attributed to him. Read more

14 January

In 1926 Warren Mitchell was born Warren Misell to an Orthodox Jewish family in London.He grew up over his grandmother's fish`and-chips shop in the East End. Warren Mitchell will forever be linked with his character, Alf Garnett, the comedically monstrous Cockney who dominated the ground-breaking series Till Death Us Do Part (BBC, 1965-75). Quite an achievement for the `sophisticated, left-wing Jewish actor,` as playwright Peter Nichols once described him. Read more

15 January

15th January 1559 was chosen as the date for the coronation of Elizabeth 1. For her part, Elizabeth committed herself wholly to the Lord Mayor and the people of London during the d`y`s activities, pledging: And whereas your request is that I should continue your good lady and be Queen, be ye ensured that I will be as good unto you as ever Queen was unto her people. No will in me can lack, neither do I trust shall there lack any power. And persuade yourselves that for the safety and quietness of you all I will not spare if need be to spend my blood. God thank you all. Read more

16 January

In 1957 the Cavern Club opened in Matthew Street. Owned by Alan Sytner, it was set to become the 20th century’s most famous nightclub. The basement looked like a section of subway tunnels. The opening acts at the club were The Merseysippi Jazz Band, followed by the Wall City Jazzmen, Ralph Watmough Jazz Band and the Coney Island Skiffle Group. Tickets were very plain. They pulled in six hundred people as well as twice as many waiting outside in the cold. Within three years, there were a total of 20,000 members. Read more

17 January

In 1773, Captain James Cook became the first person to cross the Antarctic Circle in recorded history. Cook`s reputation has been questioned in recent years, as the indigenous peoples of the lands he discovered make calls for reparations. Although regarded as a gentleman and national icon by white Australia, he is a demonic figure in Aboriginal history; they mourn the anniversary of his arrival in their country as White Invasion Day. Read more

18 January

Bentley Motors was founded in England in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley. Bentley Motors Limited is a British based manufacturer of luxury automobiles and large sportscars. The most notable car in the Rolls-Royce period was probably the Bentley Continental, which appeared in various forms from 1952 to 1965, and again in 1992 with production ending in 2003. Read more

19 January

On the 19th of January 1915 the Germans carried out the first Zeppelin raid against Britain, killing two and injuring sixteen in Great Yarmouth. The most successful Zeppelin raid on London in the entire war was on the 8th of September 1915. This raid caused more than half a million pounds of damage, almost all of it from the one Zeppelin, the L13, which managed to bomb central London. This single raid caused more than half the material damage caused by all the raids against Britain in 1915. Read more

20 January

British negotiator Terry Waite disappears while attempting to win freedom for Western hostages held in Lebanon. Shortly before his capture, it was revealed that he had aided U.S. military official Oliver North in his covert arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. The radical Shiites, deeply distrustful of the American military, likely targeted him for kidnapping in response. After 1,763 days in captivity, Waite was finally released in November 1991. Read more

21 January

In 1976 the British Airways Concorde commenced commercial supersonic trave. A total of 20 Concordes were constructed. More than 2.5 million passengers flew supersonically on the British Airways Concorde alone between 1976 and 2003. A typical flight from London to New York was three hours and 20 minutes, compared with seven hours for a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. As Concorde flew twice as high as conventional long haul jets, turbulence was rare and passengers could see the curvature of the earth through the windows. Read more

22 January

In 1924, Ramsay MacDonald became Britain's first Labour Prime Minister. In total he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in three Governments between 1924 and 1935. As Prime Minister, MacDonald, also occupied the post of Foreign Secretary. He was open about setting foreign affairs as his key priority, and in particular undoing the damage he felt had been caused by the reparations imposed on Germany under the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. Read more

23 January

The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake or Hua County earthquake is the deadliest earthquake on record, killing approximately 830,000 people. It occurred on the morning of 23 January 1556 in Shaanxi, China. More than 97 counties were affected. A 520 mile-wide area was destroyed and in some counties, sixty percent of the population was killed. Most of the population in the area at the time lived in yaodong, artificial caves in loess cliffs, many of which collapsed during the catastrophic occurrence, with great loss of life. Read more

24 January

In 2005 British Experts pinpointed January 24 as the most depressing day of the year. They warned evryone not to take it personally if friends, family and colleagues seem particularly grumpy on that day. A combination of poor weather, personal debt and failed attempts to stick to New Year's`. Dr Arnall said the formula results could vary between individuals. But he believed January 24 would work out as the lowest point for many. Read more

25 January

The first Winter Olympics games took place in the French Alps on this day. Two of the primary sports that took place on this mountain were bob sled and ski jump competitions. In all, 12 events featuring the play of six different sports were scheduled. Athletes from 16 nations of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, United States and Yugoslavia competed in the first Winter Olympic Games, Read more

26 January

Australia celebrates its national day, the date of the landing of the first white settlers at Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788. The European settlement of Australia started because of the overcrowding of British prisons. The First Fleet of eight ships,left Portsmouth harbour on 13 May 1787. These ships were filled with six hundred male and one hundred and eighty female convicts plus soldiers and others. Read more

27 January

A Scottish inventor, Baird was the first person to televise an image using mechanical scanning. His first demonstration of true television took place on 27 January 1926 before an audience of 50 scientists at the Royal Institute in London. By 1927 he had transmitted television over 700 km (435 miles) of telephone lines between London and Glasgow. By 1928 he had succeeded in demonstrating colour television. Read more

28 January

The American space shuttle, Challenger, exploded on this day killing all seven astronauts on board. The five men and two women - including the first teacher in space - were just over a minute into their flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida when the Challenger blew up. The astronauts` families, at the airbase, and millions of Americans witnessed the world`s worst space disaster live on TV. Read more

29 January

On this day in history in 1942, began the radio programme Desert Island Discs. It is the longest running music programme in the history of radio. The programme’s format consists of a permanent interviewer and a weekly guest and the guest is invited to imagine himself the sole castaway on a desert island. The guest then chooses eight pieces of recorded music a written work, other than the Bible and Shakespeare, which are presumed to be already on the island, and one luxury item, which must be inanimate and of no practical value. Read more

30 January

On January 30, 1972, soldiers from the British Army`s 1st Parachute Regiment opened fire on unarmed and peaceful civilian demonstrators in the Bogside, Derry, Ireland, near the Rossville flats, killing 13 and wounding a number of others. One wounded man later died from illness attributed to that shooting. The march, which was called to protest internment, was `illegal` according to British government authorities. Internment without trial was introduced by the British government on August 9, 1971. Read more

31 January

The greatest surge on record for the North Sea as a whole occurred on 31 January and 1 February 1953. Its amplitude reached 2.74 m at Southend in Essex, 2.97 m at Kin`'s Lynn in Norfolk and 3.36 m in the Netherlands. Almost 100,000 hectares of eastern England were flooded and 307 people died. In the Netherlands, 50 dykes burst and 1,800 people drowned. The flood covered nine per cent of all Dutch agricultural land and three per cent of the dairy country. The sea reclaimed over 200,000 hectares of polder country. Read more