[The blast radius of the Silvertown Explosion was estimated at 7 hectares, and was heard as far as 160 km (100 miles) away; it even blew out windows at the Savoy Hotel in central London, although because it occurred at ten minutes to seven in the evening neighbouring factories were empty and area residents would have been on the lower floors of their homes, minimizing the potential casualties considerably. Still, the damage caused was estimated at £2.5 million, although the reconstruction and relief effort ended up costing £3m.]
1764 - John Wilkes was expelled from the House of Commons for seditious libel. His crime? Co-authoring a racy parody of Alexander Pope's poem An Essay on Man with Thomas Potter entitled An Essay on Woman which his rival - fellow Hellfire Club member, former First Lord of the Admiralty, future Postmaster General, delicatessan innovator, and noted douchebag - John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, read aloud in the House of Lords in hopes of discrediting him. Montagu succeeded, making Wilkes an outlaw and eventually leading to a massacre of his supporters following Wilkes' arrest in May 1768.
1806 - The United Kingdom occupied the Cape Colony at the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa eleven days after the Battle of Blaauwberg, at which Lieutenant General Sir David Baird defeated Lieutenant General Jan Willem Janssens of the Dutch Batavian Republic.
1812 - After a ten day siege during the Peninsular War, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, ordered British soldiers of the Light and third divisions to storm the Spanish cathedral town of Ciudad Rodrigo, a siege which lasted ten days.
1839 - The British East India Company captured Aden.
1915 - Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in the UK were bombed by German zeppelins, marking the first aerial bombardment of civilian targets in history. Leave it to the Germans...
1917 - 73 were killed and 400 injured when 50 tons of TNT exploded at the Brunner Mond munitions plant in the London suburb of Silvertown.
1988 - Irish author Christopher Nolan won the UK's prestigious Whitbread Book Award for his memoir of growing up with cerebral palsy.
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