On this day in history… 16 May

Who? What? Where? When? We present a few token dates for your historical diary, as we look back at the events of 16 May throughout the centuries

Mary Queen of Scots

Above: The ill-fated Mary Queens of Scots

16 May 1568

Mary Queen of Scots was forced to flee to England in a fishing boat on 16 May 1568, following an unsuccessful attempt to regain the throne during the Battle of Langside.

She travelled southwards seeking the protection of her first cousin once removed, Queen Elizabeth I, but, perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her cousin confined in a number of castles and manor houses.

After 18 years and 9 months in custody, Mary was tried and executed on 8 February 1587 for her involvement in plots to assassinate Elizabeth.

16 May 1763

One of England’s most noted authors, Samuel Johnson, would meet his future biographer James Boswell in London on this day in 1763.

Staffordshire-born Johnson was famed for publishing A Dictionary of the English Language in 1755 and the work is recognised to be one of the finest achievements of scholarship.

What is even more astounding is that Boswell’s biography about the literary figure, Life of Samuel Johnson (1791), is considered to be a work of art in itself, arguably becoming one of the greatest biographies written in English.

Charles Rosher

Above: Two-time academy award winner, Charles Rosher

16 May 1929

The first ever Academy Awards of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929. Tickets to the event cost $5 and a total of 270 people attended the event, which lasted 15 minutes.

The Outstanding Picture Oscar was awarded to American director, Lucien Hubbard, for his film Wings. However, Charles Rosher from London was the first cinematographer to receive an Academy Award, along with Karl Struss for their production, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.

16 May 1936

Miss Daphne Kearley became the first and only pre-war British air hostess. Kearley, originally from Golders Green, was paid £12 a month and worked for Air Dispatch.

In addition to her normal duties, she also provided typing skills, taking dictation and producing letters for business passengers between Croydon and Le Bourget in France. However, her airline meals were often luxurious for the era, consisting of smoked salmon and caviar.

16 May 1991

It was on this day in 1991 that Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address a US congress. The speech was delivered during a 13-day visit to the country: Her Majesty’s first trip to the area since 1976.

The Queen’s presence reaffirmed the ties between both nations, speaking of “the spirit of democracy” that is shared by the U.S. and Great Britain. She also delivered an evocative message, calling for the two nations to continue to fight for common values through the “social instrument” of the United Nations.

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Written by Terri Eaton // 16th May 2012

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