What happened in October? A daily overview

01 October

On 1st October 1974 McDonald's opened its first London restaurant in Woolwich. Just four years later there were 25 branches throughout the capital, mostly in suburban high streets. The distinctive throwaway packaging used by the company has always been a feature of the McDonald's dining experience - as well as being a target for environmentalists, who have accused the company of contributing to London's litter problem. Read more

02 October

On October 2nd 1947 the new paddle steamer Waverley was launched from A. & J. Inglis's yard on the Clyde. The Waverley is the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer, replacing another vessel of the same name, which was lost during the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk. The ship is nearly 240 feet long but only 30 feet wide. Originally coal-fired, she now runs on oil. Read more

03 October

On October 3rd 1952 Britain becomes the third nation, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to carry out a test of a nuclear weapon. A bomb of about 25 kilotons is detonated off the coast of the Monte Bello Islands, near Australia followed by tests on May 16 and June 19, 1956. The June blast had a 60 kiloton capacity. At one monitoring point, over 3,200 kilometres to the east, radioactive iodine concentrations increased a hundredfold. Maralinga is Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal dialect for `Field of Thunder`. Aborigines may have been directly affected by the blasts. Compensation is currently being sought in Australian courts. Read more

04 October

The Boys' Brigade was founded in Glasgow on 4th October 1883 by Sir William Alexander Smith. The First Glasgow Boys' Brigade was the first of all the voluntary uniformed youth organisations, represented in 60 countries worldwide. For the first year of the Company's formation it was the only one however shortly thereafter this new organisation for boys began to spread and by 1886 the movement numbered 2,000 mostly in Scotland although centered around Glasgow, companies had been formed from Ayr in the southwest to Inverness in the north. From then on the movement filtered southward to England soon reaching as far south as London. Read more

05 October

On 5th October 1936 around two hundred unemployed men led by local politicians and accompanied by two doctors, three journalists, a barber and a dog set out from the town of Jarrow, their mission to draw attention to the mass unemployment and poverty in their area and in Tyneside in general by presenting the Tory Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, with a petition with 11,572 signatories requesting that the necessary active assistance be given by the Government for the provision of work in the town of Jarrow The march eventually reached London on 31st October. Read more

06 October

October 6th 1985. The events on Broadwater Farm, in north London changed relations between the black community and the British police forever. PC Keith Blakelock was brutally murdered by a raging mob of some upto forty young men. 250 police officers were injured. It was the most ferocious night of rioting in living memory. But after the riots early in the 1980's, local bobbies tried community policing, and working with community leaders. Their combined efforts started to bring crime down on the estate. The farm recovered enough of its reputation to merit a much heralded visit from Princess Diana in February 1985. Read more

07 October

KLM is reputed as the oldest airlines company in the world founded on 7th October in 1919. KLM is also known as Royal Dutch Airlines, the KLM airlines has an commercial air plane fleet of 190 consisting of Boeing and Airbus airliners. The Dutch airline company formed a merger with Air France in 2004 now known as Air France KLM. KLM operates domestic and international scheduled passenger and cargo services to over 200 destinations across Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean. The airline flies to seven UK airports. Read more

08 October

The BT or Post Office Tower was operationally opened on Friday 8th October 1965 by the Prime Minister (Harold Wilson) making an inaugural telephone call to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Mr Wilson later unveiled a plaque near the foot of the Tower and then rode in a lift to the restaurant floor for a view of London 540 feet below. Read more

09 October

The 9th of October 1779 saw the first `Luddite riots`. Little detail is known about the first Luddite Attack in 1779, indeed it is arguable that the movement did not truly begin until 1811 But the Luddite movement would not have taken its name, and perhaps never have been inspired to develop as it did, without the events of 1779 in Anstey, Leicestershire. Here it was that according to myth an apprentice stocking maker, either angered by the threat to his livelihood according to one version, or annoyed at his father giving him a beating per another, broke some stocking frames with a hammer. Read more

10 October

Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) on 10th October 1903. At first Emmeline intended that the main aim of the organisation was to recruit working class women into the struggle for the vote. In 1907 Emmeline moved to London and joined her two daughters in the militant struggle for the vote. For the next seven years she was imprisoned repeatedly. Now in her fifties, Emmeline's actions inspired many other women to follow her example of committing acts of civil disobedience. In one eighteen month period, she endured ten hunger-strikes. Read more

11 October

The start of the Boer War between the British Empire and the Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal in southern Africa The Boer War was a watershed event for the British Army, the Boers employed hit-and-run tactics that not only caused losses the British could not afford, they did not conform to the usual `gentlemanly` rules of war. The British Army started off with 12,546 men in South Africa when the war began, but the number of officers and men actually employed from first to last, during the war, was officially given as 448,435. Read more

12 October

The Morris Minor was introduced at London's first post-war motor show at Earls Court on 12th October 1948. Designed by the legendary Alec Issigonis (later knighted and better known as the designer of the Mini), the Minor offered a range of technical innovations at a budget price. Advertising for the new Minor made much of its 'big car' features. The 1949 sales brochure proudly trumpeted that the new Morris was `the world's supreme small car` and `designed on big car lines then scaled down to make it the most economical Real Car ever to be built anywhere in the world`. The marketing people concentrated on the new features, including the mono-construction body, independent front suspension and seating arrangements, with all passengers seated within the wheelbase. Read more

13 October

13th October 1894 was the date of the first ever Merseyside derby. The game was played at Goodison Park and a League record attendance of 44,000, paying £1,026 12s 10d in receipts, turned out to witness the game. With the Lord Mayor of Liverpool in attendance the game started at a frantic pace and after eleven minutes Everton won a free kick. Stewart sent over a perfect cross and McInnes timed his header perfectly to put the home side into the lead. Liverpool pressed forward relentlessly but their naivety was exposed twice as Latta and Bell both scored on the counter attack to give Everton a 3-0 winning margin. Read more

14 October

On 14th October 1913, tragedy came to Senghenydd when over 400 men were trapped underground by an explosion and fire which ripped through the underground tunnels just after 8am, just 2 hours into the morning shift. The explosion was so intense it was heard 11 miles away in Cardiff. Rescuers battled for days to recover the wounded and dead. The first funeral was held 3 days later but it was not until the middle of November that all the bodies were recovered. The 439 dead included 63 teenagers and 162 young men in their twenties. Read more

15 October

The great storm beginning on 15th October 1987 was the worst to affect the south east of England since 1703. After the storm had passed the landscape was changed - some 15 million trees were felled and whole forests decimated. Buildings suffered severe damage and ships were driven on to shore. 16 people died as a direct result of the storm damage. The storm developed rapidly - so much so that weather forecasters were unable to predict the track and ferocity of the storm. As it became apparent that this was an abnormal condition, severe warnings were flashed to emergency services. Read more

16 October

On 16th October 1834 the Houses of Parliament were almost completely burnt down in a fire on 16 October 1834, which destroyed everything except Westminster Hall, the crypt of St Stephen’s Chapel and the Jewel Tower. The Houses of Parliament, as we know them today, were rebuilt after the fire. The process, which incorporated Westminster Hall and the remains of St Stephen’s Chapel, took just over 30 years. The rebuilding was completely finished by 1870. Read more

17 October

First held at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland on 17 October 1860, the Open Championship is the oldest major golf tournament. The event was inspired by the Earl of Eglinton and Colonel James Fairlie and intended to determine `the champion golfer in the world`, but the first competition was far from open. Just eight professional golfers entered, playing three rounds over Prestwick's 12-hole layout in a single day for the prize of an ornate red leather belt with a silver buckle and various decorations. Willie Park from Musselburgh won the title after finishing with a score of 174 for the 36 holes and the tournament became a regular fixture at the Ayrshire course for the next 12 years. Read more

18 October

Red Rum is the only horse to win the National three times. Red Rum died on October 18, 1995. He was buried at the winning post of the Aintree Racecourse. His grave is marked by an engraved stone listing his Grand National record, and a life-size bronze commemorates this legendary horse, along with a race staged at Aintree's Festival Meeting,The epitaph reads `Respect this place, this hallowed ground, a legend here, his rest has found, his feet would fly, our spirits soar, he earned our love for evermore`. Read more

19 October

On Thursday 19 October 1989 three of the 'Guildford Four' were released by the Court of Appeal after they had spent 14 years in jail. Those released were Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, and Carole Richardson. Paul Hill was held in custody pending a hearing in another case but was released later. The court decided that the original confessions had been fabricated by the police. The investigation into the case, considered to be the biggest miscarriage of justice in Britain, was carried out by Avon and Somerset Police. They found serious flaws in the way Surrey police noted the confessions of the four. Read more

20 October

Muffin the Mule was the first great star of children's television in Britain. He made his television debut as a puppet on 20th October 1946 with Annette Mills. He became such a popular feature on For the Children that in 1952 the programme was name after him and became Muffin the Mule. Despite Mills' death in 1955, Muffin continued alongside co-producer Ann Hogarth until 1957. In 2006 Muffin returned to the BBC for his 60th birthday. This time round Muffin is an animated character who lives on a farm and helps other animals get out of trouble. Read more

21 October

The Battle of Trafalgar was fought on the 21st of October 1805 off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast, between the combined fleets of Spain and France and the Royal Navy. It was the last great sea action of the period and its significance to the outcome of the war in Europe is still debated by historians. The gloss of the victory was taken off for the British ships with the news of Nelsons death. It is hard now to appreciate the effect of this news on the ships crews and on the nation as a whole, although Nelson is still regarded as a national hero in Britain, in 1805 he was THE national hero, and to lose him at the moment of his greatest victory was a bitter blow. Read more

22 October

On 22nd October 1962 President John F. Kennedy announces on national television that military spy planes had discovered the existence of Soviet missile sites in Cuba. He ordered a naval blockade of Cuba and demanded the removal of the missiles. During the next six days, the crisis escalated to a breaking point as the world tottered on the brink of nuclear war. Finally, on October 28, in exchange for a secret U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev announced his country's willingness to remove the weapons. The crisis ended as suddenly as it began, and the world breathed a sigh of relief. In November, Kennedy called off the naval blockade, and the missiles were removed from Cuba by the end of the year. Read more

23 October

John Boyd Dunlop died in Dublin on 23 October 1921. He popularised the pneumatic inflatable rubber tyre and is chiefly remembered for founding the company that bears his name, Dunlop Tyres. In 1888 Dunlop patented the idea, and in 1889, Dunlop Tyres began production of pneumatic tyres at a factory in Dublin. In 1890, Dunlop's patent was challenged by Robert William Thomson, a Scottish inventor who had patented the idea of a pneumatic tyre in France in 1846 and in the USA in 1847. However, Thompson's approach to producing tyres had been rather different (and rather more expensive), and Dunlop was able to continue to manufacture tyres of his own design. In 1891 Dunlop Tyres began production from its vast factory known as Fort Dunlop at Erdington near Birmingham. Read more

24 October

Sheffield FC - the world’s first ever football club - was established on 24 October 1857. Football in the mid-nineteenth century had been largely a game enjoyed by big groups of people and played in Universities. It was taken into a new era by two keen sportsmen in Sheffield, Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest, founders of Sheffield FC. The Club played an instrumental role in the development of the Football Association in 1863, with Sheffield rules being adopted as a base to develop national laws. The city pioneered many innovations in football during those early years. Read more

25 October

The Battle of Balaclava was fought on the 25 October 1854, and was the second major engagement of the Crimean War and is perhaps best known for its immortalisation in the famous poem `Charge of the Light Brigade` by Alfred Tennyson. The Charge of the Light Brigade is the most famous of cavalry charges in so much that poorly relayed battle orders led the Brigade charging the wrong target and find themselves charging directly onto Russian artillery with cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them. Read more

26 October

The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a event of legendary proportion which has been portrayed in numerous Western films. The actual event occurred on October 26, 1881. Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday fought against Billy Claiborne, Frank McLowry, Tom McLowry, Billy Clanton, and Ike Clanton. Both McLowrys were killed, as was Billy Clanton. Read more

27 October

Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea on 27th October 1914.He attended the Swansea Grammar School for boys in the city where his father, David, was an English Literature teacher. His mother, Florence Hannah, was Welsh speaking but Dylan was brought up speaking English by his father, which is still the predominant language spoken in Swansea. Dylan’s most famous work is Under Milk Wood a play for voices which starts with the line To begin at the beginning. The play is based in the village of Llareggub, it is a fictional village made up by him, which is most famous for how it is read in reverse. It is believed that the people were based on Laugharne villagers but the actual location was that of New Quay in west Wales. Read more

28 October

The Royal Marines celebrate 28 October 1664 as their foundation day, for it was then, in the early stages of the Second Dutch War that the Admiral's Regiment (or the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot) was ordered to be raised. The vast majority of marines served aboard ship, in small detachments forming part of the crew. The most ancient role of marines was (and still is) to fight as sea going soldiers, using virtually the same weapons and tactics as on land. The marines were granted the title `Royal` in 1802. Read more

29 October

The 1929 stock market crash was one of the worst financial disasters in the history of United States of America. The stock market crash was also known as ‘The Wall Street Crash of 1929’ it was also termed as the ‘Great Crash’ and the Crash of ‘29. The crash of the market started on the 24th of October which was termed as Black Thursday, it continued till 29th of October which was termed as Black Tuesday. The Crash occurred when the share prices on the New York Stock Exchange Collapsed. In the words of Richard M. Salsman, Anyone who bought stocks in mid-1929 and held on to them saw most of his adult life pass by before getting back to even. Read more

30 October

On Sunday, October 30, 1938, millions of radio listeners were shocked when radio news alerts announced the arrival of Martians. They panicked when they learned of the Martians' ferocious and seemingly unstoppable attack on Earth. Many ran out of their homes screaming while others packed up their cars and fled. Though what the radio listeners heard was a portion of Orson Welles' adaptation of the well-known book, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, many of the listeners believed what they heard on the radio was real. Read more

31 October

Halloween is an international celebration1 which occurs on the 31st day of October. In the past it has also been known as All Hallow's Eve, being the day before All Saint's Day on 1 November. The holiday evolved from pagan and early Catholic influences in the European continent, and was wondrously perverted and commercialised by Americans. Pagans call it Samhain, the final feast of the year after the harvests. This is the time when the world was believed to die, with the promise that it would be reborn next spring. Halloween has, admittedly, taken on some dark connotations over the centuries, but that's predominantly due to the input of cultures that believe when we die, it's over. Read more