What happened in November? A daily overview

01 November

Premium Bonds first went on sale on 1 November 1956 and were launched by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. Harold MacMillan at a ceremony in Trafalgar Square. He had unveiled the scheme in his Budget on 17 April that year, as a means to control inflation and encourage saving in the period after the war. Premium Bonds, he said, would be `An encouragement to the practice of saving and thrift by those members of the community who are not attracted by the reward of interest, but do respond to the incentive of fortune. My object is to invite people to save for the chance of a prize`. Read more

02 November

Samaritans took its first call on 2nd November 1953. Its original phone number was MAN 9000. Samaritans was started in 1953 in London by a young vicar called Chad Varah, who worked in the city parish of St Stephen, Walbrook in the City. During his career he had offered counselling to his parishioners, and he increasingly wanted to do something specific to help people in distress who had no one to turn to. Read more

03 November

On the 3rd November 1975 the Queen The Queen formally inaugurated BP's oil pipeline from Cruden Bay to Grangemouth, the UK's first oil pipeline. The 130-mile (209-kilometre) pipeline from Cruden Bay to Grangemouth was built by British Petroleum (BP). The pipeline serves the Forties oilfield 110 miles east of Aberdeen. Since 1975 Scotland has become a major centre for the oil and gas industry, with Aberdeen known as the 'energy capital of Europe'. The oil and gas industry in Scotland includes 2,000 companies employing around 100,000 people (6% of the Scottish workforce).2 Read more

04 November

Today is the anniversary of the discovery of the entrance to the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun: `The entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in Egypt in the Valley of the Kings where the English archaeologist Howard Carter had been making extended excavations. One of Carter’s labourers stumbled upon a stone step, the first step in a sunken stairway that ran down into the rock. Later in the month, Carter opened the virtually intact tomb of the largely unknown child-king Tutankhamen, who became pharaoh at age 9 and died at 19`. Read more

05 November

On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason. Read more

06 November

The Sex Pistols played their first act at St. Martin's College on November 6th, 1975. Unfortunately, they were ejected from the stage before they even got to finish their first song. That failed gig was followed by several other small gigs at various art schools and colleges around London. Then, during early 1976, the Pistols began opening to larger venues like the 100 Club. In September of 1976, the band played their first show outside of London - the opening of the Club De Chalet Du Lac in Paris. Shortly afterwards, the Pistols initiated their first major tour of Britain, lasting from mid-September to October. Read more

07 November

At about 8:55 p.m.on Thursday, November 7, 1974, 29-year-old nanny Sandra Rivett went downstairs to the basement kitchen to make some tea for her employer, Countess Veronica Lucan, wife of the Seventh Earl of Lucan. About 15 minutes later when Sandra had not returned, Lady Lucan became concerned. Lady Lucan walked toward the cloakroom on the main floor, believing that the faint noises she heard coming from the small room were probably Sandra’s. Suddenly, she was brutally attacked and bludgeoned repeatedly on the head by a heavy object. When she screamed, a forceful voice commanded her to shut up. The events that followed have created a mystery that spanned almost three decades and resulted in the disappearance of one of Britain’s most famous royal figures. Read more

08 November

Just before 11.00am on 8th November 1987 a Provisional IRA bomb exploded without warning as people gathered at the war memorial in Enniskillen for the annual Remembrance Day service. Eleven people were killed and 63 injured, nine of them seriously, when the three-story gable wall of St Michael's Reading Rooms crashed down burying people in several feet of rubble. The Provisional IRA admitted responsibility the following day. Read more

09 November

On 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall was finally breached by jubilant Berliners , unifying a city that had been divided for over 30 years. The 28-mile (45 km) barrier dividing Germany's capital was built in 1961 to prevent East Berliners fleeing to the West, but as Communism in the Soviet Republic and Eastern Europe began to crumble, pressure mounted on the East German authorities to open the Berlin border. At midnight on 9th November East Germany's Communist rulers gave permission for gates along the Wall to be opened after hundreds of people converged on crossing points. They surged through cheering and shouting and were be met by jubilant West Berliners on the other side. Read more

10 November

On 10 November 1871, David Livingstone, missionary and explorer was `found` by New York Herald reporter Henry Morton Stanley, who greeted him with the famous words `Dr Livingstone, I presume`. Between November 1853 and May 1856 David Livingstone completed a remarkable coast-to-coast journey from Luanda in the west to the mouth of the Zambezi River in the east. It was an epic trip of 4,300 miles and Livingstone became the first European to complete it. Along the way he had discovered a giant waterfall called ‘Mosi-oa-tunya’ (the smoke that thunders). Livingstone named it Victoria Falls after the British monarch. Read more

11 November

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. Germany, bereft of manpower, supplies, and food, signs an armistice agreement with the Allies. The war left 9 million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, some 6 million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure. World War I led to the fall of the imperial dynasties of Russia, Germany, Turkey, and Austria-Hungary, and spurred the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. In 1919, the Treaty of Versailles officially ended the conflict, but its punitive terms destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II. Read more

12 November

On 12th November 1951,in Britain, was the first television transmission of 'Come Dancing'. In its early years Come Dancing was broadcast from amateur dance events held around the country. It wasn’t until 1953 that the show concentrated on the competition element, with couples from all over the UK competing for the coveted Come Dancing trophy. Throughout the fifties the presenters were McDonald Hobley, Peter Dimmock, Sylvia Peters, Peter West, Brian Johnston and Peter Haigh. But the real stars of the show were the dancers and the amazing costumes. Sequins and feathers were where it was at. Read more

13 November

On 13 November 1941 the World War II aircraft carrier Ark Royal was torpedoed and sunk by U-81 near Gibraltar. She was less than three years in service with the Royal Navy, but saw a great amount of action during the first two years of World War II. In September 1939, she was engaged in patrol operations in the North sea. In October she was sent to the South Atlantic to assist in the search of the Graf Spee. Ark Royal's most notorious action was the key role she played during the chase of the battleship Bismarck in May 1941. Read more

14 November

The BBC started its first regular transmissions on 14th November, 1922, although somewhat surprisingly it did so without a licence from the Post Office, which was eventually issued retrospectively in January 1923. By May 1922, the Post Office had received more than twenty applications to broadcast, but most were refused. A conference was held later that month, and from a follow-up meeting in October a decision was made to form a single company that would be responsible for broadcasting in Britain. That company was the British Broadcasting Company, and its first base was in Marconi House, where it used the existing studio and transmitter of the Marconi Company. Read more

15 November

On November 15th 1969 the first commercial is shown in colour, for Bird's Eye peas, on ATV Midlands at 10:05 am during Thunderbirds. Birds Eye Foods makes more than 40 of America's favorite brands. From Birds Eye vegetables to Snyder of Berlin chips. Birdseye made two major contributions to the concept of freezing food-the importance of freezing food so rapidly that there would be no damage to its cellular structure (affecting taste, texture, and appearance) and freezing food in a package that could be sold directly to the consumer. Read more

16 November

U.S. Army Lieutenant William Calley Jr. faces court martial for directing his platoon in the March 1968 massacre of 102 unarmed peasants in My Lai, South Vietnam. The Army hoped to conduct Calley's trial in secret, but a freelance reporter named Seymour Hersh uncovered and published details of the massacre on November 13. Calley was eventually convicted, but was freed three years later when a U.S. federal judge ruled the conviction unconstitutional. The Army had originally sentenced him to life, then changed the sentence to 20 years, then to 10 years in prison, and finally he was freed entirely. Read more

17 November

In 1969, Rupert Murdoch relaunched The Sun after buying it, and added a picture of a model to page three. The first, on 17 November 1969, was Ulla Lindstrom . The first topless model was Stephanie Rahn, on 17 November 1970. Larry Lamb’s justification for publishing ‘page 3' said that, like sport and politics, it’s a part of life - an image of beauty in a world where there is much unpleasantness. The decision to make the page three girl topless was made while Murdoch was out of the country - but it’s unlikey that he disagreed with the effect it made: sales rose 40% to 2.1 million copies within a year. Read more

18 November

On November 18, 1978 912 followers of American cult leader Jim Jones (`Peoples Temple`) died in a remote South American jungle compound called `Jonestown` in British Guyana. Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of `revolutionary suicide.` He could turn out thousands for almost any event or effort. During the 70s he appeared with many prominent politicians including then State Assemblyman Willie Brown. In 1976 Mayor George Moscone gave Jones a seat on the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission. Governor Jerry Brown was even seen attending services at the Peoples Temple. Read more

19 November

The first UK draw of the current National Lottery took place on Saturday 19th November 1994. To play the National Lottery you need to be over 16 years old. You select 6 different numbers from 1 - 49. Each line of numbers you select costs £1. To win the Jackpot you need to match all 6 numbers from one of your lines to the first 6 numbers drawn from the lottery machine. There is also a 7th ball drawn known as the Bonus Ball. This ball is only used if you have matched 5 of the first 6 balls drawn, on one of your lines. If your 6th number then matches the bonus ball you win a substantial cash prize (though not as large as the Jackpot!). There are also cash prizes for matching 5, 4 or 3 numbers from your line to numbers drawn. Read more

20 November

The twentieth-century history of Windsor Castle is dominated by the major fire that started on 20 November 1992. It began in the Private Chapel, when a spotlight came into contact with a curtain and ignited the material. It took 15 hours and one-and-a-half million gallons of water to put out the blaze. Nine principal rooms and over 100 other rooms over an area of 9,000 square metres were damaged or destroyed by the fire, approximately one-fifth of the Castle area. Read more

21 November

On 21st November 1974 the Provisional IRA plants bombs in two Birmingham pubs: the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town. Twenty-one people die and 182 are injured. A few minutes before the explosions a warning had been telephoned to the local newspaper, the Birmingham Post and Mail, but it was far too late. The first Birmingham bomb, at the Mulberry Bush pub in the basement of the Rotunda, a 20-storey office and retail complex and it exploded six minutes after the telephone warning. There was not enough time for police to clear the area. Earlier that year nine soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded on a coach on the M62 near Bradford, while two bombs in Guildford killed four soldiers and injured scores of other people. Read more

22 November

On Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot as he rode in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. At his death, the 35th president was 46 years old and had served less than three years in office. Despite this intimate experience of events surrounding the death of John F. Kennedy, the nation failed to achieve closure. Oswald never confessed, and the facts of the case remain mysterious. The Warren Commission's conclusion Oswald acted alone failed to satisfy the public. In 1976, the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Assassinations reopened investigation of the murder. The Committee reported that Lee Harvey Oswald probably was part of a conspiracy that may have involved organized crime. Read more

23 November

At sixteen minutes past five on 23rd November 1963, a British television institution was born. Doctor Who would go on to become the longest-running science-fiction programme in the world, eventually spawning twenty six seasons of adventures from 1963 to 1989. To this day the Doctor has wandered through time and space in his trusty time machine, an old type-40 TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). Although appearing to be nothing more than a battered blue police box, it is in fact vastly bigger on the inside than on the outside, and always departs with its familiar wheezing, groaning sound. Read more

24 November

On Sunday, November 24th, 1991, Freddie Mercury died peacefully at his home in London of AIDS related bronchial pneumonia. Freddie was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery in accordance with his religion. Many stars from the world or music and showbiz attended the service, including friends Elton John and David Bowie. On April 20th, 1992 a tribute concert in Freddie's memory was held at Wembley Stadium. Tickets to the gig sold out in a matter of hours, even before the full list of bands was available. Many of the worlds most famous rock stars took part in it. This concert was later released on DVD and video for all to enjoy, with the proceeds going to the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Read more

25 November

The Royal Suspension Chain Pier was opened on 25 November 1823 with a procession and firework display, but, to the disappointment of the town, without royalty being present. It proved an immediate success with both cross-channel travellers and also with promenaders who were charged an admission of two pence or one guinea annually. The pier also attracted many artists with its graceful outline, including Constable and Turner. Read more

26 November

At 6.30 am on 26th November 1983, a South London gang of six armed robbers, headed by Brian Robinson and Mickey McAvoy, broke into the Brinks Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport, expecting to make off with about £3 million in cash. Inside help was provided by Anthony Black, a Brinks Mat security guard who happened to be living with Brian Robinson’s sister at the time. Black’s information gave the gang quick access to the site, where they overpowered the guards and encouraged them to provide the combination to the safe, by pouring petrol over them and threatening to set them alight. By 8.15 am they left the Brinks Mat warehouse, and the alarm was raised by one of the guards at 8.30 am. Read more

27 November

On the 27th November, 1975 Guinness Book of Records co-founder and editor Ross McWhirter is shot dead outside his North London home. Police believe it may have been an IRA hit as Mr. McWhirter had offered a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers. The men responsible, Martin O'Connell, Edward Butler, Harry Duggan, and Hugh Doherty were arrested a fortnight later, and sentenced to life imprisonment. They were freed under the amnesty specified in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. After Ross's death, Norris continued to edit the book into the 1980's. Guinness World Records is the world’s best ever selling copyright book! Read more

28 November

On this day in 1919, socialite Lady Nancy Langhorne Astor (1879-1964), a woman of vigor, vitality, and cheek, became the first woman in British history to sit in Parliament. Outspoken and strong-willed, the charismatic and charming Astor was a good friend to writer George Bernard Shaw and a social magnet for the royalty, politicians, and artists of her time. She often exchanged quips with British leader Winston Churchill, who she supported as Prime Minister. She once said, `The main dangers in this life are the people who want to change everything or nothing.` Read more

29 November

Known for his literary works such as the famous Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, born on the 29th November 1898 in Ireland, has gathered a worldwide audience of millions due to his imaginative stories and his clear-cut logic. With a clarity that displays his masterful command of the language, he has offered both academia and mainstream audiences both literary and theological arguments that are still debated to this day. Read more

30 November

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland and St Andrew’s day is celebrated by Scots all over the world on 30 November. The true story of St Andrew has long since been lost but he is said to have been crucified by the Romans and the diagonal shape of this cross is represented on the Scottish flag, the saltire. According to legend, Saint Andrew came to King Angus of Scotland in a vision and not only promised that he would survive but also that he would be victorious in battle. The king vowed that if this came true he would adopt Saint Andrew as the patron saint of Alba. As the two armies met the next day it is said that a white cloud formation of a saltire X-shaped cross formed in the sky. Read more