13th December 1967. Football Hooliganism.

The 1960.s was the decade of free-expression and ‘do your own thing’, deference for any kind of authority declined and a moral relativism obscured the lines between right and wrong.

This was reflected Today in 1967 by the Editor of Punch Magazine writing under the heading: ‘The Hooligan Element’ on the troubles affecting the game of football.

He wrote that, ‘the Hooligan element is composed of misfits and the deprived youngish people who have no knowledge of sport other than league tables. Recent outbreaks of violence have produced the usual splurge of stupidity in the popular press’.

Warming to his theme he said, ‘feelings in international games is in inverse ratio to political relations’, citing the cricket ‘body-line’ controversy of 1932.

Birmingham City v Leeds 1985.

Admittedly railway carriages were being routinely wrecked along with shops, and missiles were hurled onto the pitch, mainly toilet rolls, and ‘vulgar verses sung to revered tunes and came from certain elements’ [they are always ‘elements’]. ‘insufficiently educated to indulge in partisan spectatorship’.

‘Parents, schools and government were all blamed along with slums and effective barriers were required at grounds. More organised games were needed at school, thus giving all the boys a decent chance to indulge in ear-biting, body checking, sliding and tackling, all this would turn them into decent, knowledgeable and sympathetic crowds. If only!

Violence as always been an element of sport going back to medieval times and reported from the early days of organized football particularly. In 1888 the 5th Round between Cup holders Aston Villa and Preston was abandoned when spectators invaded the pitch in the second half. Preston were 3-1 up at the time and the result stood.

In the 1892 Cup Final at Fallowfield the ground was besieged by a crowd which broke the barriers causing a collapse of the wooden terracing and there was sporadic violence to 1914.

The problem went quiet interwar but the 1955-6 season saw Liverpool and Everton fans  wrecking railway carriages, and by the mid 1960.s, when the Editor of Punch was pontificating, an average of 25 Hooligan incidents were reported annually resulting in a moral panic and outrage: hooliganism was born.


wikipedia.org.football hooliganism.

theguardian.13.12.2001.football hooliganism.



12th December 1939. Remember HMS Duchess and Barham.

HMS Barham built at Clydesbank and named after Charles Middleton 1st Baron Barham was a Queen Elizabeth Class Battleship of 32.000 tons and a product of the 1912 Naval Programme.(1)

HMS Barham underway at low speed mid 1930.s

HMS Duchess, a D-Class destroyer was built at Palmer’s Shipyard, Jarrow and ordered under the 1930 Naval Estimates and along with her sister ships Delight, Duncan and Dainty were in the Mediterranean  when war began in 1939 and scheduled to escort the Barham back from Gibraltar on December 6th.

By the time the ships Today were 9 miles west of the Mull of Kintyre, off Scotland, they encountered thick fog causing the Barham to ram the Duchess which sank after its depth charges exploded resulting in the loss of 124 crew including the captain Lt.  Commander Robin White.

HMS Duchess

Barham leading Malaya and aircraft carrier Argus in 1920.s






Less than two years the Barham itself was sunk on 25th November 1941 after she and her sister ships Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, with eight destroyers, had been providing cover for an operation by Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers to intercept two Italian convoys thought to be heading for Benghazi.

However the German U-boat U331 commanded by Baron Dietrich von Tiesenhausen had penetrated the screen and though Valiant took avoiding action, the Barham’s aft-magazine exploded blowing out the starboard side. Her captain G.C. Cooke and 861 crew died. There were 396 survivors including Vice-Admiral Pridham-Whippell,

Owing to the effect on public morale the Board of Admiralty censored all news of the disaster, the next of kin being ordered to secrecy. It wasn’t until the 27th January 1942 that it was officially announced.

(1) Sir Charles Middleton (Bart) later Lord Barham was created Rear Admiral of the Blue 24.9.1787 and contrary to custom combined this office with that of Comptroller of the Navy. He became 1st Lord of the Admiralty 30.4.1805, after the resignation of Lord Melville.


wikipedia.org.barham and duchess/Pics.

11th December 1282. Death of Llywelyn the Last.

Today in 1282 the Battle of Orewin (Irfon) Bridge near Builth Wells saw the defeat of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (or the Last), grandson of Llywelyn (Fawr) the Great and last ruler of Wales before the conquest by Edward I.(1)

Monument at Builth Wells.

In the previous reign of Henry III, Llywelyn and brother Owain had signed the Treaty of Woodstock which restored their control over parts of Gwynedd, west of the River Conway, with the rest remaining under English rule.

However within two years Llywelyn had gained control of land lost and most of Pura Wallia, the parts of Wales under native control, and by early 1258 was using the title Prince of Wales which the English crown however refused to acknowledge.

Then Henry III was temporarily deposed by Simon de Montfort after the Battle of Lewes in 1264, which Llywelyn took advantage of by allying himself to the usurper.

It resulted the next year in an alliance being signed at the Treaty of Pipton in 1265 between Montfort and the Welsh prince which set out terms Llywelyn had desired for years, the formal recognition as Prince of Wales and overlord of other Welsh rulers.(2)

Wales after the Treaty of Montgomery.


Two years later saw the Anglo-Cambrian, Treaty of Montgomery by which Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was acknowledged as Prince of Wales, by a weakened Henry III, which recognised his right as ruler of Gwynedd, over a wider Wales, though he was expected to do homage to the King. (3)

Montgomery Castle from the south.

Matters changed after Edward I succeeded in 1272 as relations deteriorated which saw the new powerful king declare war on the Prince of Wales in 1276, with the Treaty of Aberconway (1277) superseding Montgomery, which savagely curbed the Welsh powers.

Then in December 1282 an army moved out of Montgomery Castle to Builth Wells which resulted in battle and the death of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd thus marking the end of Wales as an independent principality.

(1) Llywelyn the Last. (c1229-1282).

(2) Dated 22.6.1265.

(3) Montgomery Treaty. 29.9.1267.


wikipedia.org.llylwelyn ap gruffudd/Pics.

bbc.co.uk/blog/wales. 11.12.2012. The last stand of Llywelyn the Last.

10th December 1663. Hudibras.

10th December, the shortest day in Old Style Dating (OS).

Today a Thursday in 1663 Pepys wrote in his Diary: ‘Thence to St.Paul’s Churchyard to my booksellers, [where he chose amongst other books], Hudibras, both parts, the book now in great fashion for drollery, though I cannot, I confess, see enough where the wit lies’.

Hudibras was Samuel Butler’s narrative poem, a satiric polemic written in a mock heroic, jaunty style (Hudibrastic) on Roundheads, Puritans and Presbyterians and other factions which had engaged in the recent civil-war and warning against the zealotry of that war.

Hudibras sails forth with his faithful attendant. William Hogarth.

Hudibras, the title coming from Edmund Spenser’s, Faerie Queen, came out in three parts 1663, 1664 and 1678, with Mercurius Aulicus, an early newspaper, reporting unauthorised pirated editions by 1662, thus a popular work published as it was after Cromwell’s Protectorate and the Restoration and warning against the religious bigotry of the civil war.

Influenced by Rabelais and Cervantes’ Don Quixote, it is hardly a balanced poem, singling out the Parliamentarians for attack, Butler being a strong Royalist, it was also a parody on the dreadful poetry of the time.

The hero Sir Hudibras was a colonel in the Parliamentary Army, a knight errant in the style of medieval chivalry, travelling with his squire Ralpho and engaged in comic misadventures, though essentially stupid, greedy and dishonest.

It was written in close Chaucerian couplets: ‘When civil dudgeon first grew high/And men fell out they knew not why’.(1)

The book coined the saying, ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’, though a rephrasing of the injunction in the Book of Proverbs: ‘He that spareth his rod, hateth his son’. (2)

Hudibras fell from fashion in the 19th century, a time of the reinvention of Oliver Cromwell as an upholder of freedom, not as a usurper and tyrant, thus the sentiments of Hudibras were out.

(1) The poem, the first collected edition came out in 1674-8, was written in Iambic Tetrameter: da-Dum-da-Dum/da-Dum-da-Dum.

(2) Proverbs. 13:24. Quoted in P11 Canto I II 839-44.



pepysdiary/10 Dec 1663.


9th December 1854. Into the Valley Rode the 600.

Alfred [Lord] Tennyson known for patriotic poems especially concerning the disastrous charge of The Light Brigade in October 1854, when 600 were sent into the Valley of Death, but who remembers his poem The Charge of the Heavy Brigade when 800 British cavalry defeated 3,000 mounted Russians on the same day.

Charge of the Heavy Brigade 25th October 1854. William Simpson. Courtesy Zenophon Group International.

The Charge of the Light Brigade was composed in minutes after Tennyson had read an account of the battle in the Times newspaper. A week later it was published Today in the Examiner in an epic poem which examined the reality of violence in battle, into the ‘Mouth of Hell’, and the glory of dying for one’s country.

Charge of the Light Brigade by Richard Caton Woodville Jnr (1856-1927), painted 1894.

The poem related to the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade, by the 17 Lancers at Balaclava on October 25th 1854, part of the siege of the port and fortress of Sevastopol and regarded as the Russian’s principal naval port in the Black Sea.

It was to see cavalrymen sent on a suicidal mission into the teeth of the Russian guns when commanders misunderstood Lord Raglan’s orders, and charged the wrong guns.

It was a handwritten note dictated by Lord Raglan commander of the army in Balaclava which was to have such fatal consequences. It was signed by Richard Airey, Quartermaster-General saying that Lord Raglan wanted the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns.(1)

It was delivered by Captain Nolan, aide-de-camp, who was later blamed for the advance on the wrong Russian guns  instead of those of the lightly defended redoubts on Causeway Heights.

George Bingham, 3rd Earl Lucan. 1860. He was  Commander of the Cavalry Division.

According the Lord Lucan the cavalry commander, Nolan wrongly signalled the direction, to the far end of the valley: ‘there my lord is your enemy, there are your guns’.

Of the 673 men taking part 118 were killed and a similar number taken prisoner with the majority of the horses killed or wounded.

It was a classic case of bungling by Commanders such as the Earl of Cardigan who had purchased his command and Lord Lucan later promoted Field Marshal.

In that the Crimean War was the first to be reported by the press back home it was clear that reform was needed as it had exposed the cult of noble non-meritocratic and incompetent leadership.

Reports by the likes of Florence Nightingale, also revealed the lack of proper clothing, food and shelter resulting in thousands dying from cold, exhaustion and disease.

The result was a later reform of the army and other areas of public life along with the acknowledgement that a rising meritocratic middle-class were demanding access to the professions.

(1) The yellowing  scrap of paper is held in the archives of the National Army Museum.


telegraph.co.uk/news. Peter Foster 25.9.2003.

bbc.co.uk/tennyson’s poem.


victorianweb.org/hist/Pic courtesy Zen-mil.org/crimea.

8th December 1828. ‘White-Collar Crime’.

In the 1820.s a considerable number of forged bills were in circulation which resulted in an inquiry by the Committee of Bankers for the Prevention of Fraud and Forgery. (1)

One of those implicated in such crime resulted Today in the execution of the wealthy Quaker, Joseph Hunton for the forging of ‘bills of exchange’.(2)

The bill was drawn by Dickson & Co., of Ironmonger Lane, London, warehouse-men of which Hunton was a partner who had begun in Yarmouth ‘slop-selling’ before moving to London where he continued as a trader.

He was examined before the Lord Mayor then committed for trial at the Old Bailey. However he absconded and the City Constable was dispatched to Plymouth where Hunton had boarded a packet-ship for New York under the name of Wilkinson.

It appears he entered the ship dressed as a Quaker but soon adopted a disguise of ‘light-green frock, pair of green pantaloons with black stock and foraging cap’.

Charged with circulating bills on dead people he was later found guilty at the Old Bailey of twice forging Bills of Exchange (something like a modern cheque), thus defrauding Sir William Curtis & Co.(3)

Hunton and most people expected the mercy of the Crown to be extended, ‘to the object of public commiseration’, as the London Times said on November 21st.

Even Nathan Mayer Rothschild founder of the banking group signed a petition along with other City notables, which The Times on December 6th said, ‘proves sufficiently that in the opinion of the common public, fraud is not an appropriate subject for capital punishment…the penalty was deemed essential for the moneyed interest, but by the petition had shown unnecessary’.

One outcome of the Hunton trial and reflecting the interest in serious crime which had been a feature for centuries, was the increase in published material which brought lurid crime and its investigation into homes. 

Broadsheet on Hunton’s trial and execution.

These ‘Broadsides’ were printed on one side with crude wood-cuts and sold in their thousand on street corners at a 1d (penny): sunday newspapers have taken their place.

(1) In 1826 an Act put an end to notes of less than £5 which required the redemption of these smaller notes by 5th April 1829. The number of people hanged for the capital offence of forging notes, even smaller ones was one of the main reasons compelling Parliament to act.

(2) He was executed by the well-known William Foxton with a long rope as Hunton was small of stature.

(3) A Bill was written by drawer to a drawee to pay money to the payee and prior to paper money were quite common.






7th December 1976. Nationalization.

Today in 1976 the Commons approved a Labour Party Bill for Nationalization of the aircraft and shipbuilding industries, a month after being rejected by the Lords. (1) 

In late May 1976 the first reading was won by a single vote after abuse of the pairing system. If it had been a draw the Speaker following precedence laid down by Speaker Denison in 1860.s would have supported the ‘Noes’.

After the Vote Labour MP.s sang the ‘Red Flag’ inciting Tory’s Michael Hesseltine to pick up the Commons’ Mace and offering it to the Opposition.

Nationalisation goes back to the founding fathers of the Labour Party and Clause 4 of its Constitution which aimed to secure, ‘common ownership of the means of production and the best system of popular administration and control of each industry and service’, as enshrined by Sydney Webb in 1918.

The government had taken over the coal mines in 1917 and in 1919 the Sankey Commission recommended their Nationalisation. The Heyworth (Chairman of Unilever) Committee recommended public ownership of gas whilst the Scott Report proposed the same electricity.

It was in 1926 that Tory Stanley Baldwin created the Central Electricity Generating Board to standardise the nation’s electricity supply, which had 600 supply companies and local authority undertakings, having different voltages and even Direct Current in some places.

In 1933 the National Coalition Government brought London’s road and rail services together under the London Transport Board. Six years late Tory Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain nationalised British Oversees Aircraft Corporation.(2)

Looking forward to the end of the war the National Executive of the Labour Party in 1944 proposed the Nationalisation of the Bank of England, but the rank and file led by Ian Mikardo MP ensured that coal, gas, electricity, civil-aviation, road, rail, ports and steel were added to the list.

A new era in mining which was to make a profit in 1949.

Post-war, after the landslide victory of the Labour Party the culmination of moves for state control was realised when on January 1st 1947, 1,500 coalmines were Nationalised with Emmanuel Shinwell, Minister of Fuel and Power, raising his hat to a sign, saying that ’the National Coal Board now manages this colliery on behalf of the people’.

Sign being posted at Waterloo in London.

Exactly a year later the railways were controlled along with electricity later in the year, even travel agents, Thomas Cook came under the British Transport Commission (BTC).

The Gas Industry was collected into government hands in May 1949, though Iron and Steel had to wait until 1951, the last year of the Labour government.

The Tories now in office weren’t quick to dismantle public control except in road transport when the 1953 Transport Act broke the BTC monopoly in long distance public road-haulage and it took the age of Thatcherism before Privatisation returned.

(1) The bill wasn’t to receive the Royal Assent until March 1977 after Jim Callaghan had replaced Harold Wilson.

Introduced on 20th November 1975 the second reading took place on 2nd December and the Standing Committee sat for 58 sessions between 11th December and 13th May.

The Government on 14 December 1975 had an overall majority of only one and by 6th April had lost it altogether.

(2) However on the other hand in 1927 the London Hammersmith Council decided to privatise the refuse service causing the ‘Red Flag’ to be sung in the Town Hall.