‘The London Book of Days’ is a wonderful new memoir documenting noteworthy daily events in the capital from over the last few hundred years. Author Peter de Loriol has compiled a year’s worth of memorable moments from our great city’s past; some you’ll recognise, others will surprise you. We like it so much that we’ve decided to post our fave weekly highlights from the vaults of time which we think might raise a smile and even ruffle some dusty feathers! Here’s what happened this week in London…
April 8th 1953: A central line train to Epping crashed into a stationary train in a tunnel at Leyton. The second coach of the Epping train telescoped into the tunnel, killing eleven people. (East Ham Recorder)
April 9th 1838: The present building housing the National Gallery was opened. (The Times)
April 10th 1858: The Great Bell of Westminster, Big Ben, was cast in the Whitechapel foundry on this day. (The Times)
April 11th 1659: William III and Mary II were crowned joint monarchs of Great Britain by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to officiate. (London Gazette)
April 12th 1989: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats was performed today for the 3,358th time at the New London Theatre, Drury Lane. Premiered on 11 May 1981, this became London’s longest running musical. It finished its run in 2002. Les Miserables has since then become London’s longest running musical.
April 13th 1459: On this day there was a pitched battle between the men of the Fleete Streete area and men from the Court of Westminster. (Stow)
April 14th 1471: The Battle of Barnet, just outside Barnet, was a decisive engagement in the Wars of the Roses fought on this day. Edward IV led the House of York whilst Henry VI led the House of Lancaster. This and the subsequent Battle of Tewkesbury marked the downfall of the House of Lancaster and the rise of the House of York.
For more info about ‘The London Book of Days’ (£9.99), see thehistorypress.co.uk.