#TodayInHistory – November 14 min read
November 1 – Some important events on this day.
835 👉🏼 All Saints Day made compulsory by Pope Gregory IV throughout Frankish Kingdom
996 👉🏼 First recorded use of modern name for Austria in the ‘Ostarrîchi Document’
1512 👉🏼 Sistine Chapel ceiling opens to public
1570 👉🏼 All Saints Flood, tidal wave in the North Sea devastates the coast from Holland to Jutland; killing more than 1,000 people.
1755 👉🏼 Lisbon earthquake kills more than 50,000 in Portugal
1814 👉🏼 Congress of Vienna opens to re-draw the European political map after the defeat of France, in the Napoleonic Wars
1834 👉🏼 First published reference to poker (as Mississippi riverboat game)
1848 👉🏼 WHSmith opens its 1st railway bookstall, at Euston Station in London.
WHSmith is one of the most famous names in British retailing, and opened its first railway bookstall on this day at Euston Station in London. It was a smart move that led to a booming business and within 50 years the company was running more than a thousand such outlets.
It started in the 18th Century as a news vendor shop set up by Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna. Named after him, the shop traded as HW Smith but it was far from successful, bringing in a profit of just over £1 a week, a poor return even in those days.
Henry died from influenza in 1792 leaving Anna, the mother of two sons, wondering what to do about the business. “Sell” was the obvious option and she put out advertisements for an “industrious person” to step in. But there were no takers.
So she decided there was nothing for it but to throw herself into making something of the venture and gradually she built up trade.
By 1812 it was a going concern and after Anna’s death in 1816 her youngest son William Henry took over the business. He was bright and quickly came up with a revolutionary idea: in those days newspapers were a day old by the time their readers received them simply because after being printed they would have to wait for evening stage coaches to distribute them around the country.
Instead, William sent employees to collect the newspapers straight from the presses, allowing them to be rushed onto early morning coaches, thus delivering them the same day. He soon had thousands of grateful customers across the country.
Today, WHSmith is an international business also into the United States and Canada and now trades in countries as diverse as Finland, China and Australia.
It operates over 1400 stores, primarily in the UK, comprising 867 outlets at airports, train stations, hospitals, workplaces and motorway service areas, and 607 High Street stores, and It employs about 15,000 people.
Nine out of ten people in the UK live within a 20-minute drive of a WHSmith store, the company claims, and it sells 1.1 million magazines every week, 18,000 each hour it is open.
With a turnover well exceeding £1 billion, WHSmith also sells more than 30 million books every year. And all because a troubled but determined little 18th Century lady refused to give up….
1894 👉🏼 Vaccine for diphtheria announced by Dr Roux of Paris
1911 👉🏼 The first aerial bomb is dropped by an Italian pilot on Turkish troops in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War
1916 👉🏼 Paul Miliukov delivers in the Russian State Duma the famous “stupidity or treason” speech, precipitating the downfall of the Boris Stürmer government
1922 👉🏼 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk takes Constantinople from Mehmed VI, proclaiming the Republic of Turkey and bringing an end to the Ottoman Empire.
The collapse and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire was a long and bitter affair, comprising revolutions, a disastrous world war and infighting.
Mehmed VI became the sultan just prior to the end of World War I and while the Ottomans were in the middle of exterminating the Armenian population. He would not last long. Months after his reign was proclaimed, Allied forces occupied Constantinople at the end of the war, and this awoke a Turkish national uprising led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
On this day, the sultanate was abolished and Mehmed was expelled from the country – he is photographed above leaving his palace through the back door – where he would begin an exile in Italy that lasted until his death in 1926. Ataturk took over and formed the modern Turkish republic.
1941 👉🏼 Japanese naval staff offiicers Suzuki & Maejima arrive at Pearl Harbor
1952 👉🏼 “Ivy Mike”, the first thermonuclear weapon to utilize the H-bomb design of Edward Teller and Stanislaw Ulam, is detonated in the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean
1959 👉🏼 Montreal Canadiens’ goal tender Jacques Plante becomes first NHL net-minder to wear a fibreglass protective face mask
1972 👉🏼 1st gay theme TV movie – “That Certain Summer”
1997 👉🏼 “Titanic” directed by James Cameron, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival (Academy Awards Best Picture 1998)
2012 👉🏼 Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars, predicted to have formed 500 million years after the big bang
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