On this day in British History: January 12th

1866 The Aeronautical Society of Great Britain was formed in London, thirty seven years before the Wright Brothers achieved the first successful powered flight.

1895 The National Trust was founded by three Victorian philanthropists – Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Octavia Hill was concerned about the poor availability of open spaces for poor people. She campaigned against development on existing suburban woodlands, and helped to save London’s Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields from being built on. The National Trust is now the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest UK charities by both income and assets. Its aim is to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty for the enjoyment of the British public.

1950 The British submarine Truculent collided with a Swedish oil tanker Divina, in the Thames. The two vessels remained locked together for a few seconds before the submarine sank, resulting in the deaths of 64 people. An inquiry attributed 75% of the blame to Truculent and 25% to Divina. Truculent was sold and broken up for scrap in May 1950.

1954 The Queen opened New Zealand’s parliament, the first time in that country’s history that a reigning monarch had done so.

1970 The Boeing 747 completed its first transatlantic flight, from New York to Heathrow. It is still often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. The 747 was the first ‘wide-body’ ever produced. It held the passenger capacity record of 660 (in single class layout) for 37 years until October 2007 when the Airbus A380 took to the skies, with a maximum passenger capacity of 850.

1976 Crime writer Dame Agatha Christie died, leaving a final book waiting to be published. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible.

Blimey! is your daily dose of British news and features for anglophiles everywhere! This article was carefully written by Tim Holt, a British blogger, photographer and actor based in the USA. Forever torn between two magnificent slices of sod.

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