This Week in History: July 9th - July 15th

July 9, 2018
by Graham Pierrepoint -

Here we are again – the start of a new week, the start of a new journey into the past. How far will we head back this time? What will we learn? Who’s celebrating a big birthday this week? Who’s to say – let’s dive straight in and see what happened this week all the way back across the years, decades and more.

July 9th, 1877 – Wimbledon Begins
It’s on right this second – and the famous Wimbledon Championships, perhaps the most important date on the international calendar, started life this week back in 1877, where Wimbledon men’s singles took to the lawn for the very first time.
Famous Birthday: Tom Hanks (Actor), 61

July 10th, 1040 – Lady Godiva Rides Nude
It’s one of those famous moments from across history that still gets referenced in all sorts of contexts – as, according to legend, Lady Godiva rode naked on horseback across Coventry in an effort to help lower taxes. Would the same sort of protest work today?
Famous Birthday: Nikola Tesla (Inventor), 1856 - 1943

July 11th, 1944 – FDR Runs Again
While the idea of four terms may appeal to current US President Donald Trump, we’re not used to the idea of anything beyond two Presidential terms – eight years – these days. Franklin D Roosevelt, however, decided to announce his intention to run as President for a fourth time on July 11th 1944 – which he would go on to win. Sadly, he would pass away the next year, less than a year into his new term.
Famous Birthday: Leon Spinks (Boxer), 64

July 12th, 1957 – Lung Cancer and Smoking are Linked
The idea of smoking causing lung cancer may seem as old as the hills, but it really isn’t – as the US Surgeon General in 1957 – Leroy Burney – would publicly advise of the link just 61 years ago this week. Since then, strides have been made to increase public awareness of the effects of smoking tobacco upon lung health.
Famous Birthday: Malala Yousafzai (Human Rights Activist), 20

July 13th, 1930 – The First World Cup Begins
The football (or soccer) world cup is well underway at the time of writing, heading into the semi-finals – and the very first competition took place 88 years ago today, with the host nation and eventual winners being Uruguay. Uruguay have recently, in the 2018 competition, bowed out against France in the quarter-finals.
Famous Birthday: Sir Patrick Stewart (Actor), 77

July 14th, 1850 – Homemade Ice Has a Birthday?
Yes – while ice is – quite obviously – a natural phenomenon, it was only on this day back in 1850 that the freezing of water into cold, convenient ice for home use was first demonstrated by John Gorrie, an American physician.
Famous Birthday: Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Actor), 33

July 15th, 1996 – Charles and Diana Divorce
It was the Royal Marriage that simply wasn’t to be – amid press scandals, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, signed divorce papers 22 years ago today, almost a year before the latter’s untimely and tragic death.
Famous Birthday: Forest Whitaker (Actor), 56

Join us again for more time travelling next week!


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