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Until 1857, it was legal for British husbands to sell their wives.
The going rate was £3,000 .. About £223,000 in today’s money.

People in Victorian Britain who couldn’t afford chimney sweeps dropped live geese down their chimneys instead.

In 1811, nearly a quarter of all the women in Britain were named Mary.

King Herod’s first wife was called Doris.

Victorian guidebooks advised women to put pins in their mouths to avoid being kissed in the dark when trains went through tunnels.

When Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, he ordered all Monopoly sets to be destroyed.

The first commercial chewing gum appeared in 1871, after Thomas Adams had failed to make car tyres from the same ingredients.

Chess, ludo and snakes and ladders were all invented in ancient India.

When Lord Byron left England for the last time in 1816, his creditors entered his home and repossessed everything he owned, right down to his tame squirrel.

In his first year at Harrow, Winston Churchill was bottom of the whole school.

Beer was the first trademarked product – British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.

Great Britain was the first country to issue postage stamps, on 1 May 1840.
Hence, UK stamps are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin.

The first parachute jump from an airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912.

Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.

In 1701, Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius devised the centigrade temperature scale.

In 1709, Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano.

In 1707, the Act of Union between Scotland and England, creating Great Britain.

The Ancient Egyptians were the first people to divide a circle into 360 degrees – one degree for each day in the Egyptian year.

Widespread Forgery Of Britain’s First Banknotes.
The Bank of England was founded in 1694 to raise money for King William III to fight a war against France.

It stored cash for clients in return for a receipt that promised to pay back the money.
These notes could be openly traded as a cash substitute.
Forgery was widespread in the early years when notes were little more than written promises to pay the bearer.
To tackle the crime, the courts deemed it a capital offence.
Between 1697 and 1832 more than 600 counterfeiters were hanged.

Innocent Man Hanged For Murder.
During the 20th Century, 865 people were executed in the UK.

In 1950, 25-year-old Welshman Timothy Evans was found guilty of murdering his wife and child.
He was executed at Pentonville.
Three years later, Timothy’s neighbour John Christie admitted the crime.

Mary Richards, 59, was jailed for five years in 1880 for stealing 130 oysters.

Dorcas Mary Snell, 45, was jailed for five years with hard labour in 1883 for stealing a single slice of bacon.
She was released after serving two years of her sentence.

Elizabeth Murphy, 19, was jailed for five years with hard labour in 1884 for stealing an umbrella.
She served three years of her sentence before getting parole in 1887.

The Black Death arrived in the UK in the summer of 1348 via ships landing at Bristol.
By May 1349, more than a third of the population, about 1.5 million, are dead.

A cholera epidemic in 1849 killed about 20,000 people in the UK.

Britain is hit by a flu pandemic in March, 1918. About 225,000 died.

The Great Plague killed more than ten thousand Londoners in 1665, and is followed the next year by the Great Fire of London.

More than 8,000 people died in the great storm between 24th November and 2nd December, 1703.

In 1740, the River Thames freezes over and icebergs appear in the English Channel.
Many die of cold and the famine and drought which follow.

Between 7th September 1940 and 10th May 1941, an estimated 18,800 tons of bombs were dropped on London.
About 43,000 people died.

Ludwig Van Beethoven, who was profoundly deaf, died in 1827, aged 57.
A post-mortem immediately after his death showed significant liver damage, probably caused by too much alcohol.
He had been very ill for some time beforehand.
Beethoven died during a violent thunderstorm and his last words were reputedly:
“I shall hear in Heaven”.

Sweden was a military superpower in the 1600’s, conquering large chunks of Europe.

Ghana was called The Gold Coast until independence in 1957.

In December 1960, the SS Oriana crossed from Southampton, UK to Sydney, Australia in three weeks and was awarded the “Golden Cockerel” for the fastest passenger boat.

North Korean tanks and troops swept south on the 25th June 1950, starting a three-year conflict that claimed as many as 4 million lives.

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