Britain's Flags

On This Day - 21st November

1695 The death of Henry Purcell, English composer and organist. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers and no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar.

1840 Victoria Adelaide Marie Louise, Princess Royal and first child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was born.

1843 Thomas Hancock patented vulcanized rubber. In 1825 he had produced the first toy balloons in Britain, consisting of a bottle of rubber solution and a condensing syringe.

1913 The birth of twins Roy Boulting and John Boulting, known collectively as the Boulting brothers. They were English filmmakers who became known for their popular series of satirical comedies in the 1950s and 1960s.

1916 HMHS Britannic, the largest Olympic-class ocean liner of the White Star Line and sister ship of RMS Olympic and RMS Titanic was sunk, with the loss of 30 lives. There were a total of 1,066 people on board, with 1,036 survivors taken from the water and lifeboats, about two hours after the ship sank at 9:07 am. She was the largest ship lost during the First World War.

1918 At the end of World War I, the German Fleet was surrendered to Britain at its northern naval base at Scapa Flow.

1920 The Irish Republican Army shot and killed 31 people in Dublin in what became known as the country's first 'Bloody Sunday'. The death toll included fourteen British informants, fourteen Irish civilians and three Irish Republican Army prisoners.

1922 Ramsay MacDonald was elected leader of the Labour Party.

1936 The world's first gardening programme, 'In Your Garden, with Mr. Middleton', was broadcast by the BBC.

1953 The British Natural History Museum announced that the 'Piltdown Man' skull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized skulls ever found, was a hoax.

1958 Work began on the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland. It was the longest suspension bridge outside the United States and the fourth-largest in the world at the time of its construction. It was awarded Historic Scotland's Category A, listed structure status in 2001. See the ©BB picture of the Forth Road Bridge. Additional note:- The Queensferry Crossing, (a road bridge close to the Forth Bridge (rail only) and the Forth Road Bridge (vehicles only) opened on 30th August 2017.

1967 The number of animals slaughtered in the latest epidemic of foot and mouth disease reached a record high of 134,000.

1974 The IRA exploded two bombs in two Birmingham Pubs, killing 19 people and injuring 180 others. The Birmingham Six, as they were called by the media, were sentenced to life in prison for the crime but were subsequently acquitted.

1994 Princess Anne left England for a 7 day tour of South Africa and Mozambique. It was the first official visit to South Africa by a member of the Royal Family for 50 years.

2001 UK pop mogul Jonathan King was jailed for seven years for sex attacks on five boys.

2003 An acoustic guitar on which the late Beatle George Harrison learned to play, fetched £276,000 at a London auction.

2012 Bishop Justin Welby called the rejection of women bishops a 'very grim day', as bishops prepared for an emergency meeting on the issue. The ordination of women bishops in the Church of England was passed in the Houses of Bishops and Clergy of the general synod, but failed to gain the required two-thirds majority in the House of Laity.

2014 The Normandy Veterans Association formally disbanded On This Day. At a service in St Margaret's Church, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, the Rector accepted the National Standard of the Normandy Veterans Association into safe keeping.

2014 The Liberal Democrats registered the worst ever performance in a by-election by a governing party. In Rochester and Strood, the party's candidate, Geoff Juby, received 349 votes, just 0.87% of the total. The seat was won by Mark Reckless from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), giving them their second elected MP at Westminster.

2014 Residents and businesses on the Isles of Scilly were able to receive superfast fibre optic broadband following the completion of a project by BT and Superfast Cornwall to lay fibre on the islands, located 28 miles off the Cornish coast. Fibre has been deployed on all five of the inhabited islands, with undersea cables linking St Mary’s, Tresco and Bryher, and microwave links connecting St Agnes and St Martins.