QUEEN AT 90: WHAT ELSE WAS HIT­TING THE HEAD­LINES IN 1926

As Bri­tain cel­e­brates the 90th birth­day of Queen El­iz­a­beth II, MARION MCMULLEN looks at the other news mak­ing the head­lines in 1926

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

FEA­TURE PAGE 20

THE world was a very dif­fer­ent place when Princess El­iz­a­beth Alexan­dra Mary was born.

The fu­ture Queen of Eng­land was born by cae­sarean sec­tion at 17 Bru­ton Street in Lon­don at 2.04am on April 21, 1926.

Royal doc­tors de­scribed the pro­ce­dure at the time as ‘a cer­tain line of treat­ment’ while grand­mother Queen Mary de­scribed the new royal baby as ‘a lit­tle dar­ling with a lovely com­plex­ion’.

Home Sec­re­tary Sir Wil­liam Joyn­son-Hicks waited in a nearby room through­out the labour.

The cus­tom, which no longer ex­ists, was to make sure the new ar­rival was a gen­uine royal de­scen­dant and not an im­poster who had been smug­gled in.

The pop­u­la­tion of the UK at the time was 45 mil­lion – it is now more than 64 mil­lion – and a pint of milk would have cost you 1p, a loaf of bread 2p and a dozen eggs 11p.

The new royal baby was just a few days old when the country’s first and only Gen­eral Strike took place.

Bri­tain’s min­ers walked out over at­tempts by pit own­ers to in­crease their work­ing hours, but re­duce their wages.

Other in­dus­tries like trans­port work­ers, dockers, elec­tric­ity, steel and chem­i­cal work­ers joined them in a move of sol­i­dar­ity.

There were es­ti­mated to be more than a mil­lion on strike on the first full day of ac­tion on May 4.

King Ge­orge V was said to have sym­pa­thised with the min­ers telling one coal owner: “Try liv­ing on their wages be­fore you judge them.”

The Gen­eral Strike lasted nine days and brought the country to a vir­tual stand­still as the trans­port net­work was crip­pled, print­ing presses halted and food de­liv­er­ies held up.

The Army es­corted food lor­ries while vol­un­teers got some buses back on the roads and trains run­ning, but there were clashes be­tween po­lice and strik­ers.

Norma Jeane Morten­son, bet­ter known as Hol­ly­wood film star Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe was also born in 1926 .

And there was a mass out­pour­ing of grief from fans when Ital­ian-born screen heart-throb Ru­dolph Valentino sud­denly died at the age of 31 from a per­fo­rated ul­cer.

Al­fred Hitch­cock di­rected his first Bri­tish film, The Lodger, with Ivor Novello in the ti­tle role.

The silent movie also marked the first of Hitch­cock’s fa­mous cameo ap­pear­ances in his own films.

Con­tro­ver­sial en­ter­tainer Mae West was ar­rested in New York for lewd­ness and ‘cor­rupt­ing the morals of youth’ with her bawdy stage play Sex about a Mon­treal pros­ti­tute.

The ac­tress and scriptwriter once said: “Those who are eas­ily shocked should be shocked more of­ten.”

Crime writer Agatha Christie be­came the cen­tre of her own mys­tery when she van­ished for 11 days and a coun­try­wide man­hunt was launched.

She was fi­nally found at a ho­tel in Har­ro­gate say­ing she was suf­fer­ing am­ne­sia and had no idea what had hap­pened dur­ing the miss­ing days.

Red tele­phone boxes de­signed by ar­chi­tect Sir Giles Gil­bert Scott be­gan to ap­pear for the first time, Win­nie The Pooh by AA Milne was pub­lished and the first Lau­rel and Hardy film short was re­leased, called Putting Pants On Philip.

Mean­while, 18-year-old Amer­i­can swim­mer Gertrude Ederle be­came the first woman to suc­cess­fully swim the English Chan­nel from France to Eng­land and set a new world record of 14 hours and 31 min­utes.

Bri­tish pi­lot Alan Cob­ham also trav­elled 26,700 miles around the world in 93 days.

He ended his jour­ney by land­ing his sea­plane on the River Thames in front of the Houses Of Par­lia­ment.

It was the Jazz Age and the Royal Al­bert Hall in Lon­don hosted a Charleston Ball and com­pe­ti­tion un­til 5 am, with Hol­ly­wood’s Fred As­taire as one of the judges.

The year saw Scot­tish in­ven­tor John Lo­gie Baird demon­strate a pic­toral­trans­mis­sion he called a ‘tele­vi­sion’ to mem­bers of the Royal In­sti­tu­tion. His first pro­gramme showed the heads of two ven­tril­o­quist dum­mies and the TV screen mea­sured just 2ins long by one-anda- half inches wide.

Princess El­iz­a­beth her­self made her first ra­dio broad­cast when she was 14 in 1940 dur­ing the BBC’s Chil­dren’s Hour.

It is reck­oned there are ap­prox­i­mately 500,000 peo­ple aged 90 and over like the Queen who are liv­ing in the UK to­day and El­iz­a­beth is now the world’s old­est liv­ing monarch.

She is said to have a cush­ion in her pri­vate sit­ting room at Bal­moral em­broi­dered with the words : “It’s good to be Queen.”.

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