BRITAIN: This week in history 31 March to 6 April

Britain magazine
Winchester cathedral

Each week BRITAIN magazine brings you a round-up of the significant historical dates in the week ahead; this week we look at a great April Fools prank and the opening of the first British public park…

31 March

Eleanor of Aquitaine died on this day in 1204. Eleanor was a powerful woman in the Middle Ages. Her large inheritance left her as an eligible heiress. She was married to King Louis VII of France and Henry of Anjou who was later the King of England. She was imprisioned as a result of a foiled plot against the king and only released by her eldest son, Richard I, after his death.

Britain magazine
The BBC’s ‘spaghetti fields’

1 April

In honour of April Fools traditions, the BBC decided to play a prank on the nation on this day in 1957. They ran a spoof documentary on the evening broadcast of Panorama about spaghetti crops in Switzerland. It was narrated by Richard Dimbleby and it was believed to be one of the first times an April Fools Day hoax was ran on television.

2 April

Charles Dickens married Catherine Hogarth on this day in 1836. They married in Chelsea and lived their lives together in Bloomsbury where they had 10 children. It was to be a busy month for Dickens as it was in the same month that he published his first novel, The Pickwick Papers.

Britain magazine
Winchester cathedral

3 April

Edward the Confessor was crowned at the Cathedral of Winchester on this day in 1403. He was the last king of the House of Wessex and the penultimate Anglo-Saxon king.

Mary Carpenter was born on this day in 1807. She was a strong reformer who pioneered social and educational changes. She founded many charitable schools for the poor, known as Ragged Schools.

Britain magazine
Birkinhead

5 April

It was on this day in 1847 that Birkinhead Park opened in the Wirral. It was the first civic park in Britain, funded by the public. The park was designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and aimed to replicate the natural countryside with meadows, belts of woodland and lakes. It has been said that the design for Birkenhead was used as inspiration for many other later parks throughout the world – such as New York’s Central Park.

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This week in history: 25-30 March
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Anglo-Saxon Britain

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