On This Day...
Roving reporter, Rupert Besley, has delved into the extensive Pangolin archives - held in the basement of the Mappin Terraces at London Zoo - to take our beloved readers for a bit of a rolling stagger down Memory Lane. This was no mean feat as that worthy terrain is infested with emus.
25 Years Ago
Residents of Alma Terrace in the picturesque Hampshire village of Little Humping were plunged into darkness shortly before midnight, when a streetlamp bulb blew close to the junction with Sebastopol Road. ‘This is the second time in thirteen and a half months,’ said local resident Trevor Pidcock, 59, whose brother Norman, 61, had a similar thing happen to him in Argentina just over 12 years previously. Red-faced council officials were busy liaising with technical staff in a bid to solve the ongoing problem.
50 Years Ago
Scientists from around the world gathered in Denmark for the first test-firing of a new generation of ground-to-air missiles built entirely of Lego. The launch mission was aborted when two sections of rocket wing fell off in the opening seconds of final countdown.
5 Years Ago
The memorial service took place yesterday for Lady Eglantine Hart-Farquhar, late of the Bombay Rifles. Lady Hart-Farquhar, whose interests were listed in Who’s Who as tadpoling and kung-fu, was a distinguished poet as well as a crackshot with a submachine gun. Above all she will be remembered in the village of Farquharsgrove for her unusual outfits and her generous loan each year of the small field known as The Marsh for staging the village fete. A packed church joined in a hearty rendition of the final anthem, ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes’.
Forty Years Ago
The furnace was fired up for the last time at Frigholm Forgemasters, makers for more than 130 years of convict branding irons and suppliers to the Empire. ‘A sad day indeed,’ said works manager Reuben Glumthwaite, reflecting on the loss of a once proud industry, whose belching chimneys had in happier times dominated the skyline for the full length of the Grimebeck Valley.
Twenty Years Ago
Young Britart sensation Dwain Cuttles proved a sell-out at his first exhibition, Smile, held in London’s glitzy Bond Street. Red spots spread like measles over the 250 exhibits, each an actual-size cracker joke, hand-stitched by Lebanese craftworkers in the East End and then hung upside-down. Strikingly dressed as the Mona Lisa, Mr Cuttles maintained an enigmatic smile all evening as he gathered in the many cheques written out by eager collectors.
Twenty-Five Years Ago
Spectators were obliged to run for cover at the Strathfaffin Games near Scourie when novice entrant Norma McGurk took to the field. In only her third ever Highland Games, Sister Norma, ‘the Flinging Nun’, brought records tumbling in a bravura performance of accuracy and strength. Interviewed after, the soft-spoken Carmelite put her remarkable powers down to clean living and beef tea.
80 Years Ago
At their annual assembly held this year in Prestatyn, members of the South Pennine Wing-Collar & Spatmakers’ Guild heard an impassioned call to arms from their Stitchmaster-General, Ernest J Prinkhole. ‘This is no time for words,’ he told the conference and called upon delegates to join him in urging immediate action from the government to halt the decline of a once great industry, now dying on its feet. In less than 200 years, he warned, spats could become a thing of the past. His motion was carried unanimously by a silent show of immaculately cuffed hands.
One Year Ago
In a prepared statement released to the Press, Drayne Tubbles, lead singer of The Flies, made clear his wish to step out of the limelight for an unspecified length of time, ‘wiv this court case and fings like coming up’. Whilst promising his fans around the world he would be back, Tubbles requested journalists everywhere to respect the privacy of his many friends and families, closing with the advice to lay off you scumbags or else.
120 Years Ago
Inventor Thruxton Plinge unveiled his design for the world’s first mobile phone. The Plinge Mobilatory Telephonic Network Ltd carried out a series of successful demonstrations on a pavement in Pinner. As assistant technician Arthur Wormit strode up and down the footpath, waving one arm and bellowing into the mouthpiece, it was clear that he was able to receive, between intervals, several distinct words in reply. With user harnessed to a trolley capable of reeling out several kilometres of telephonic cable and manservants deployed in key positions to haul in spare line and re-connect to different public call-boxes, the system was hailed as an important advance for British communications. However, a sceptical public remained unconvinced of the need for any such network in years to come, given the abundance of errand-boys, two a penny on the streets of Pinner.
15 Years Ago
Worcester schoolboy Kyle Peeley of 14, Leylandii View, had a shock from his lunchbox when he discovered that the sausage roll he was enjoying, obtained from his favourite supplier, contained not one but two human fingers. ‘It’s not what you expect to find in a sausage roll,’ said mother of Kyle, Dawn Peeley, aged 39.
10 Years Ago
Plumber Lionel Ferritt promised the present writer to ‘be round Tuesday’ to make good the damage done to ballcock and cistern during a previous repair. No further sign of Mr Ferritt has been recorded since.
60 Years Ago
Children clad as violets and daisies lined the avenue of Soking Towers near Bedford to receive the traditional Poore Soddyes Bountie of two sweets and one hatpin, established by ancient charity in the reign of Edward IV and distributed each year on St Hildagurt’s Day by members of the Soking family. Lady Lavinia, with bull mastiff in tow, accompanied the 14th Lord down the line, sharing a joke or pat on the head with several children along the way. The ceremony closed with the traditional Hurlyng of Shillyngs into the Armada Drum held by Lady Lavinia.