Historic Events That Happened In October: Among various other events, October saw everything from the end of the Anglo-Saxon era in 1066 to the opening of Britain’s first escalator in the early 20th century. From ancient to modern history, here are 18 historic events that happened in October.
1. 1st October, 1908
Historic Events That Happened In October, The Model T, sold by Ford Motor Company, was first put on the market. It was the earliest effort by manufacturers to make a car that ordinary people could afford.
Modern cars were first built in 1885 in Germany by Karl Benz (of Mercedes-Benz). However, they remained far too expensive for the average worker. Believing that motor cars were necessary for everyone, Henry Ford vowed to build “a car for the great multitude”.
The Model T was a great success, and over the course of the next year, Ford sold 10,607. Between 1913 and 1927, Ford factories produced more than 15 million of them.
2. 3rd October, 1283
Historic Events That Happened In October, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Wales, became the first nobleman in Britain to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Dafydd had fought alongside King Edward I of England against Dafydd’s own brother.
However, Daffyd angered the king by returning to his brother’s side and, as a result, was sentenced to death.
He was executed in Shrewsbury after being dragged through the streets attached to a horse’s tail.
3. 4th October, 1911
Historic Events That Happened In October, Britain’s first escalator opened at Earl’s Court underground station in London, connecting the District and Piccadilly platforms.
While today, many of us choose the escalator over the stairs, at the time, the public was pretty terrified of the strange moving staircase. As a result, the railway company hired a one-legged man to ride up and down the escalator on the day it opened to show how safe it could be!
4. 7th October, 1920
Historic Events That Happened In October, Women became eligible for full membership at Oxford University. A week later, they were given the right to be awarded degrees. This was largely the result of women advocating their right to access an Oxford education since the 1860s.
In light of the news, female students who had been denied a degree since the late 1870s began returning to the university to claim them.
5. 8th October, 1967
Historic Events That Happened In October, British Labour politician Clement (Richard) Attlee died. During his time as Prime Minister (1945-51), Attlee worked to rebuild British life after the war and introduced radical reform to the social welfare system. He was famous for introducing the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948.
6. 9th October, 1967
Historic Events That Happened In October, Transport Minister Barbara Castle introduced the breathalyser – a way of testing a person’s BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) level at the roadside.
Before this, tests included getting drivers to stand on one leg and walk in a straight line.
Despite facing a lot of backlash at its introduction and assistive advertising campaigns, in the first 12 months of its use, road deaths were reduced by more than 1,100 and serious injuries caused by car accidents by more than 11,000.
7. 10th October, 1903
Historic Events That Happened In October, English suffragette Mrs Emmeline Pankhurt founded The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) alongside other suffragettes at her home in Manchester.
Frustrated by the lack of progress in women’s rights, the idea of the union was to take more direct action – based on the motto “Deeds not words”.
Under Mrs Pankhurst’s leadership, the WSPU was a highly organised female-only group and many of the members were imprisoned and went on hunger strike protests.
8. 12th October, 1609
Historic Events That Happened In October, Children’s rhyme ‘Three Blind Mice’ was published in London for the first time in a book of folk music called Deuteromelia, edited by Thomas Ravenscroft, who was still a teenager at the time.
While not confirmed, it’s believed that the origin of ‘Three Blind Mice’ came from the cruel execution of three Protestant bishops, Ridley, Latimer, and Cramner – also known as the Oxford Martyrs – by Queen Mary I, also known as Bloody Mary.
The story of the three Blind Mice, however, only entered children’s literature in 1842.
9. 12th October, 1984
Historic Events That Happened In October, During the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, an IRA terrorist bomb killed five people and injured 34 more at the Grand Hotel in Brighton, where the Conservative party was holding its annual conference.
The IRA’s Patrick Magee had checked into the Grand Hotel under the false name of Roy Walsh about one month before the attack. He planted a bomb with a long delay timer, intending to kill the Prime Minister and her cabinet. Thatcher narrowly escaped the attack.
10. 13th October, 54
Historic Events That Happened In October, Nero succeeded Claudius as Roman Emperor at the age of just 16. Over his rule of nearly a decade and a half, he developed a reputation for cruelty and tyranny that has stuck for nearly 2,000 years.
Among his countless atrocities, according to various Roman historians, Nero commissioned the murder of Agrippina the Younger (his mother and sometimes lover) and his first wife, and killed his second wife himself.
11. 14th October, 1066
Historic Events That Happened In October, Harold II, England’s final Anglo-Saxon King, was killed at the Battle of Hastings in Sussex after being defeated by William the Conqueror’s invading Norman-French army.
William’s coronation as King of England took place on Christmas Day, 1066, at Westminster Abbey. During his reign, French became the language of the king’s court and, gradually blending with the Anglo-Saxon language, gave birth to modern English.
12. 16th October, 1902
Historic Events That Happened In October, The UK’s first Borstal (a type of youth detention centre) was opened in the village of Borstal, near Rochester in Kent.
The so-called Borstal system was intended to remove young offenders from the influence of older habitual criminals. By providing education and training (based on military-style discipline), the aim was to make them less likely to re-offend after release.
Borstals were abolished under the 1982 Criminal Justice Act and replaced by youth custody centres.
13. 17th October, 1860
Historic Events That Happened In October, The first professional golf tournament was played at Prestwick, Western Scotland. Mr Willie Park headed the leader board.
There were only eight professionals playing and no prize money on offer. They were all competing for the Challenge Belt, made from red Moroccan leather with silver panels showing golfing scenes that had been bought from silversmiths James & Walter Marshall for £25.
According to historians, golf originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland that involved hitting pebbles with a bent stick or club. After evolving a bit, the sport gained the royal seal of approval in 1502 by King James IV of Scotland, who became the world’s first golfing monarch.
14. 17th October, 2020
Historic Events That Happened In October, Chicago was declared the ‘rattiest city’ in America for the sixth year running by pest control service, Orkin, which ranks US cities based on the number of new rodent treatments each year.
Efforts to try and tame Chicago’s rat population have been going on for years, with residents even adopting cats to squash numbers!
Other cities in the top 10 alongside Chicago included Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, Baltimore, Denver, and San Francisco.
15. 19th October, 1781
Historic Events That Happened In October, British general, Lord Charles Cornwallis, surrendered to George Washington at the Battle of Yorktown in Virginia, marking the end of the American War of Independence.
Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on 3rd September 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed. After eight long years of war, the Treaty formally recognized the United States as a free and independent nation.
To find out more about George Washington and the birth of the United States, why not tune into our upcoming talk on Rest Less Events about the Founding Fathers?
16. 21st October, 1805
Historic Events That Happened In October, Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded at the Battle of Trafalgar, near Gibraltar, after being shot by a French sniper.
Nelson managed to survive for three hours, which was long enough to hear of the great British victory and give final directions to the English fleet. He also managed to leave a message for his lover, Emma Hamilton, and their child, Horatia.
Admiral Nelson’s death became the central focus of the Battle of Trafalgar – even overshadowing the great victory at the time. When news of his death reached Britain, the nation went into mourning.
17. 22nd October, 1957
Historic Events That Happened In October, Children’s cartoon hero Captain Pugwash made his television debut. The animation was written, illustrated, and produced by John Ryan, and the Captain was brought to life by Peter Hawkins, who provided all the voices.
Captain Pugwash ran from 1957 to 1966 and was brought back to life in color from 1974 to 1975, and again in 1997. The cartoon also ran as a comic strip in the Radio Times.
18. 23rd October, 1642
Historic Events That Happened In October, The first major battle of the English Civil Wars took place at Edgehill, Warwickshire. After major constitutional disagreements between the government and the king, Charles I finally decided to lead his troops against the Parliamentarian army, which was led by the Earl of Essex.
The battle was bloody yet inconclusive. It marked the beginning of a struggle between the crown and parliament that would cost the lives of up to 200,000 people (or 4.5% of the population). This is a loss as great as that of World War I.