End to the old emnity

April 8: Britain and France signed an agreement which would shape the destiny of the 20th century. For the past 1,000 years these neighbouring nations had usually been at each other's throats.

But old enmity was set aside with the signing of the Entente Cordiale, a truly global deal to ensure that never again would Britain and France go to war. Britain gave up some of its West African possessions to France; France gave up its claim to the shore of Newfoundland.

At the time, the Entente Cordiale was seen as a sensible step towards each nation continuing the business of building ever-bigger empires in the tropics - "the great game," as it was called.

But this sudden Anglo-French warmth caused ripples of alarm closer to home. If Britain and France were to be allies in the West, what might become of Germany in the event of war? In Berlin, the military planners looked uneasily as this new friendship - and planned accordingly.

Rolls Royce is bornMay 4: Charles Rolls and Henry Royce form Rolls-Royce car makers. It was the start of a legendary partnership behind some fabulous cars. More to the point, for the future security of Britain, it was the start of a tradition of excellence which would produce the engines which powered the Spitfire and Hurricane in the Second World War and put Britain in the forefront of jet aviation just after the war.

August 3: The Dalai Lama - spiritual leader of the Tibetan people - was forced to flee from Lhasa as it was captured by the British.


In brief

July 1.
Magistrates at Hagley heard that Birmingham Motorcycle Club had caused an obstruction by using a public road, Hagley Hill, for a hill-climbing competition. Club secretary John R Bedford was ordered to pay costs.

July 15. Wolverhampton Quarter Sessions reported a reduction in crime with only 13 prisoners for trial. Of these, only one can read and write.

August 12.
Two men were fined for illegal betting in Walsall after an early police surveillance operation. To much laughter in court, police described how they hid in a hamper on a wagon to observe betting slips being passed.

October 21.
Following requests from the inmates, Wolverhampton Workhouse agreed to substitute bread and dripping for bread and butter on one day per week.