Icons of England
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1800-1820

William Blake writes Jerusalem, Pride And Prejudice is published and there are various battles against the French (again)

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1803: First English Orange Day Parade

These parades had been held in Ireland since 1797, celebrating the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic former King James II. They were organised by the Orange Order, then, and now, the largest Protestant organisation in Northern Ireland. This first parade on English soil, in Oldham, shows the growing confidence of the Irish immigrant community.

1804: First steam locomotive

Richard Trevithick builds the first successful steam locomotive. Although use of this technology did not become widespread until Stephenson's "Rocket", this was a major step forward in harnessing the power of steam which was to transform English industry and transport.

1804: Blake writes Jerusalem

Jerusalem began life as a preface to a long epic poem called Milton. One of his continuing series of Prophetic Books, the work was composed over four years, starting in 1804, and illustrated by Blake with the engravings for which he was by then famous.

Jerusalem

1804: Wordsworth spots some daffodils

"I wander'd lonely as a cloud/That floats on high o'er vales and hills,/When all at once I saw a crowd,/A host, of golden daffodils." These famous lines are the opening of Wordsworth's poem inspired by the Lake District, Daffodils. It is a landmark of the so-called Romantic poetry movement.

22 Oct 1805: Nelson dies

Nelson is hit by a French musket ball on the deck of HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar

1807: Last slave trading ship sails

The final British ship carrying slaves to America leaves from Liverpool. The government abolished trading in slaves the following year.

SS Empire Windrush

1807: Hibernian School opens

Hibernian School was founded in 1807 in Liverpool by the Benevolent Society of St Patrick. The aim was to provide free education to "Poor Children descended from Poor Irish Parents". It was funded by private charity, not by the State. The need for such a school demonstrates the increasing size of the Irish immigrant community in that area.

1807: Tales From Shakespeare published

In between bouts of madness and matricide, brother and sister team Charles and Mary Ann Lamb found time to write these prose stories, re-telling the plots of a selection of Shakespeare's plays to make them accessible and entertaining for children. They are still widely read as a companion to the plays.

1809: Mr Hawkes receives royal warrant

Thomas Hawkes receives the royal warrant to be the official velvet cap maker to George III and his Queen. He teamed up with neighbouring tailor, Mr Gieve, and they opened a shop at No1 Savile Row. Savile Row still represents the best in English gentlemen's tailoring.

1810: First Indian restaurant in London

Dean Mahomed opens the Hindoostane Coffee House at 34 George Street, Portman Square, an area popular with "nabobs" (returnees from India with the East India Company). Unfortunately, the venture was not a success, although the curries were pronounced the finest in the land, and Dean Mahomed filed for bankruptcy. His next venture was more successful and "the shampooing surgeon" – or Dr Brighton, as he was know – became famous for his therapeutic massage and health spa alternative medicine treatments.

1811: Luddite Riots

The Luddites were protesting against the mechanisation of the textile industry which was putting workers out of jobs. They wrecked the machines responsible for destroying their livelihoods. Outbreaks of violence occurred over the next five years. Named after the mythical leader Nedd Ludd, the name Luddite is still used to refer to someone who hates technology.

1812: HMS Victory retires

The Victory is retired from frontline duty and anchored at Portsmouth Harbour, where she remains for 110 years.

11 May 1812: Prime Minister shot!

Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister, is the first and only British PM to be assassinated. The assassin was Liverpudlian John Bellingham who blamed Perceval for his financial difficulties.

1813: Pride And Prejudice published

Elizabeth Bennett was Jane Austen's favourite heroine, and even if she isn't yours, who can fail to be enchanted by this tale of matrimonial plotting in Georgian England?

Jan 1814: Last frost fair

Due to changes in bridge-building after this massive freeze, the Thames became too fast-flowing to become solid enough to support substantial weight. This winter people drove carts and horses over the ice, nicknaming the new thoroughfare City Road. The frost fair consisted of stalls selling goods, food and souvenirs as well as donkey rides across the ice. It was a major attraction. Previous frost fairs are mentioned in Virginia Woolf's novel Orlando and there is mural commemorating one as you walk to the Globe along Bankside from Southwark Cathedral.

1814: First brass band formed

Stalybridge Old Band is the oldest brass band in the country. Stalybridge is also where Beatrix Potter lived for many years.

1814: Lord's moves to present home

Known as the Home of Cricket, the first Lord's cricket ground was in Dorset Square, Marylebone, in 1787. The present site in St John's Wood is actually the ground's third home.

1815: Humphrey Davy invents safety lamp

Davy's safety lamp superseded the use of candles for illumination in mines. Candles were dangerous because the naked flames could easily ignite gases in the mines and cause explosions. You can see an original Davy Lamp in the Science Museum.

1815: Death of Gillray, caricaturist

James Gillray's caricatures were satirical masterpieces, showing up political abuses and humbug in every institution. It is somehow appropriate that he died in the year Napoleon was defeated, as his caricatures of the man had been instrumental in stirring up English public opinion to fight him.

18 Jun 1815: Battle of Waterloo

Napoleon's final defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington. This victory was so significant that the phrase "meeting your Waterloo" has entered the English language as a phrase meaning "to suffer a crushing defeat".

1818: Frankenstein published

Mary Shelley writes Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, as a result of a night spent with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron and friends in Switzerland where they scared each other with German ghost stories

1818: History Of The Fairchild Family

Mary Martha Sherwood was a prolific evangelical writer. This book was one of the most widely read children's books of the century.

Alice In Wonderland

16 Aug 1819: Peterloo Massacre

A peaceful gathering assembled to hear Henry Hunt and other speakers on the subject of political reform is attacked by soldiers armed with sabres. Eleven people are killed and 400 injured. The incident, rightly, became a national scandal with eyewitness accounts selling like hot cakes. However, the government reaction to the event was to clamp down even harder on reformers and so-called political agitators.