May 1st

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The Empire State Building opened on this day in 1931.

In 1931, the Empire State Building was officially opened on May 1st.

With its tip standing at 1,451 ft (443.2m), it was the world’s largest building up until 1971 when it was surpassed by the original World Trade Centres. It cost a grand total of £40.9 million (roughly £376 million nowadays) to build and has over 2 million square feet of space within its walls.

Other notable events on May 1st throughout history:

  • Betting shops become legal in the UK. (1961)
  • The Daily Mail ceases life as a broadsheet and starts in its current, smaller form. (1971)
  • Elton John becomes the first pop star to perform is Israel. (1979)
  • Disney Hollywood Studios is opened in Orlando, Florida. (1989)
  • Formula One driver, Ayrton Senna is killed in a crash during a race. (1994)
  • Dennis Bergkamp is named PFA Player’s Player of the Year, only the second foreign national to win the award*. (1998)

 

*Eric Cantona was first, for Manchester United, in the 1993/94 season.

April 30th

Happy 35th Birthday to the Jubilee Line.

Happy 35th Birthday to the Jubilee Line.

On this day in 1979, the Jubilee Line was opened by the Prince of Wales. It remains the most recent line to open on the London Underground.

The Jubilee line serves 27 stations across London (13 of which are underground) and served 213 million passengers in 2011.

The Line sits underneath one of London’s subterranean rivers, the River Fleet, which itself is 40 feet underground.

Other Events On This Day include:

  • Adolf Hitler committed suicide with his wife, Eva Braun. (1945)
  • Anne Frank’s diary was published in Britain for the first time. (1952)
  • The war in Vietnam ends as Saigon’s government announces unconditional surrender to the Vietcong. (1975)
  • A plane carrying Sting crash lands in Italy, with the ex-Police front-man escaping unscathed. (2001)

Saint George’s Day.

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St George & The Dragon by Gustave Moreau

Today, and on the 23rd April every year, is Saint George’s Day.

Saint George is the patron saint of England and this date is believed to be the date of his death in the year AD 303.

George was venerated as a Christian martyr following the ending of his life which saw him serve honourably as a member of the Roman army. Having been born in Lydda, Roman Palestine to Greek Christian parents; the most notable story that follows St. George’s legend is his encounter with the fabled dragon – i.e. ‘George and The Dragon’.

It is believed (again – a bit of a trend in ‘legendary’ tales) that George confronted a dragon in ‘Silene’ in Libya with the town’s pond being inhabited by a plague-bearing dragon, a local princess was offered up to the dragon as a sacrifice, when George happened to ride past.

Having wounded the dragon defending the princess, he led it back to Silene (using the princess’ girdle as a leash) and announced to the town’s folk that, should they convert to Christianity, he would slay the beast for them.

The rest, as they say, is (kind of) history…

Hillsborough: 25-years on.

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The tribute Liverpool FC erected outside their stadium remembering the 96 fans who died that day.

On this day 25 years ago, 96 football fans lost their lives supporting their team in the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield.

FA Cup semi-finals are traditionally held at a neutral venue, meaning both sets of fans had travelled from out of town for the second-last stage of the English League’s premier domestic cup. However, the game was abandoned after just six minutes as officials realised the human crush in the Liverpool-supporting side of the stadium was out of control.

On top of the 96 fans that lost their lives, the vast majority of whom were Liverpool fans, 766 others were injured as the fences around the pitch were either scaled or torn down as desperate fans tried to escape.

Much controversy has followed in the 25-years since, but for this day, we remember the 96 who lost their lives, their family and friends who still grieve their loss.

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The scene at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium a couple of days after the Hillsborough disaster.

 

First Apple Computer Ever Exhibited.

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Apple’s very first computing device, the Apple I.

On April 11th, 1976 the first ever Apple computer was demonstrated at the Homebrew Computer Club in Palo Alto, California.

The brainchild of Steve Wozniak, he and fellow Apple mastermind, Steve Jobs, sold their prized possessions to generate the relevant funding; a HP-65 calculator and a VM Microbus, respectively.

The Apple I came with a mind-blowing 4KB of memory, which could be double to 8KB with expansion cards.

Due to its rareness and the legacy it began, the Apple I has become something of a collector’s item down the years.

In 1999, a fully-functioning Apple I was sold at auction for $50,000, then in November 2013, a motherboard from an Apple I was sold to a private collector for $330,000 – it had the original hallmarks of Wozniak’s signature on both the box and board itself.

First Same-Sex Marriage Law Passed.

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One of Holland’s first same-sex marriages in 2000.

 

On April 1st, 2000 four-same sex couples officially became the first legally-recognised gay married couples in the world following a law passed in the Netherlands.

In a predecessor to last weekend’s first UK same-sex marriages, four couples were married by the Mayor of Amsterdam. Despite two same-sex couples being married in Ontario, Canada in January, 2000 Canada didn’t officially ratify the marriages until 2003.