On this day: King Edward VIII acceded to the throne

King Edward VIII acceded to the throne on the death of King George V in 1936. He was to abdicate 325 days later. Picture: PA
King Edward VIII acceded to the throne on the death of King George V in 1936. He was to abdicate 325 days later. Picture: PA
Share this article
Have your say

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 20 January

1265: England’s parliament met for first time.

1805: London Docks opened.

1841: Hong Kong was ceded by China, in what was termed the “Unequal Treaties”, after the Opium Wars, and was first occupied by Britain.

1846: The Reverend Matthias Lloyd-Thomas of Cwmbran, South Wales, officiated at his 3,000th funeral – the burial of his 95-year-old father. In his 61 years as a minister, he preached more than 10,000 sermons, although he was stone deaf.

1882: Coxon & Co, drapers, of Newcastle upon Tyne, became the first shop in Britain to be lit by incandescent electric light.

1887: United States Senate approved leasing Pearl Harbour in Hawaii as naval base.

1892: The game of basketball, devised by a Canadian doctor, James Naismith, was first played at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1910: Canberra officially became the capital of Australia.

1925: Soviet Union and Japan formed alliance.

1925: Britain and China signed Treaty of Peking.

1936: King Edward VIII acceded to the throne on the death of King George V. He was to abdicate after 325 days, on 10 December, after causing a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to divorcée Wallis Simpson.

1942: Adolf Eichmann and Reinhard Heydrich met to draw up plans for the Final Solution.

1964: British forces quelled mutinies of Tanganyika Rifles and troops in Uganda and Kenya.

1971: Four members of RAF Red Arrows aerobatics display team were killed in mid-air collision.

1987: Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy in the Middle East, was kidnapped while negotiating the release of western hostages in Beirut.

1990: Soviet troops stormed Azerbaijani capital of Baku, leaving dozens dead and wounded, as president Mikhail Gorbachev defended action on national television.

1991: In Moscow, hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens protested against bloody crackdown on Lithuania and demanded resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev.

1991: Captured RAF pilots were paraded on Iraqi television.

1994: Official report into the Braer tanker disaster on the Shetland coast accused the captain of a serious dereliction of duty.


Dr Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, astronaut (second man on Moon in 1969), 84; Tom Baker, actor (fourth Doctor Who), 80; Gary Barlow OBE, singer (Take That), producer and television presenter, 43; Kirsty Gallacher, television presenter, 38; Liza Goddard, actress, 64; David Lynch, film producer, 68; Eddie Shah, publisher, 70; Natan Sharansky, Soviet dissident, 66; Andy Sheppard, jazz saxophonist, 57; Heather Small, singer, 49; Eric Stewart, rock guitarist (10cc), 69; Curtis Strange, golfer, 59; Charlie Swan, jockey, 44; Countess of Wessex, 49; Nigel Williams, novelist, 66; Nicky Wire, rock bassist and lyricist (Manic Street Preachers), 44; John Witherow, South African journalist, 61.


Births: 1775 André-Marie Ampère, physicist; 1910 Joy Adamson, wildlife conservationist, artist and author (Born Free); 1906 Aristotle Onassis, shipowner.

Deaths: 1779 David Garrick, actor and theatre manager; 1790 John Howard, prison reformer; 1984 Johnny Weissmuller, Olympic swimming champion and screen Tarzan; 1990 Barbara Stanwyck, film actress; 1993 Audrey Hepburn, actress.