February 14. The suffragettes, women campaigning for female
voting rights, were staging increasingly violent protests. A record
number of 57 were sent to prison in London after fighting with
police. After a struggle lasting five hours in the streets around
Westminster the previous day, 15 suffragettes reached the House
of Commons where they, too, were arrested.
the suffragettes stepped up their campaign by chaining themselves
to railings and even setting fire to churches, they suffered violent
repression. In Holloway prison, some went on hunger strike and
endured the agonising indignity of force-feeding rather than surrender.
December 10. Rudyard Kipling became the first British
writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kipling is
best known for his poetry about the British in India - including
the legendary Gunga Din - although he only spent a few years in
the sub-continent. Often accused of peddling a jingoistic, over-rosy
view of the Empire, Kipling became markedly more subdued after
the death of his son in the First World War
July 29. Major-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, hero of
the defence of Mafeking in the Boer War, organised a boys' camp
on Brownsea Island, near Poole. The experimental camp involved
20 youngsters from a variety of backgrounds in learning woodcraft,
tracking, firemaking, first aid and life saving. Baden-Powell
was inspired by army scouts he encountered in Africa, India and
Afghanistan to found the Boy Scout movement.
October 11. The golden age of the liners was dawning
and the Lusitania set the standard by crossing the Atlantic in
a record-breaking four days and 20 hours. The huge Cunard ship
covered 617 miles in a single day, 17 miles better than her nearest
rival, Germany's sleek Deutschland. Few of those lining the quayside
in New York to welcome the great liner could have guessed that
a few years later, in May 1915, Lusitania would be sunk by a German
submarine off Ireland, an act which helped persuade the United
States to enter the First World War on the side of the British.
August 2. In an age when smoking was regarded as sociable
and rather dashing, a GP, Dr Herbert Tidswell, told the British
Medical Association that the habit was poisoning the nation's
children. He wanted all children to sign a pledge swearing never
to touch the wicked weed. But Dr Tidswell was a voice in the wilderness.
While he warned that tobacco could cause cancers of the lip and
tongue, the general medical view was that no convincing case had
Industries throughout the Black Country predicted a prosperous
year ahead. At the Sunbeam Motor works, a spokesman reported
that they were working double shifts, night and day, to
keep up with demand.
An inquest in Wolverhampton suggested that railway companies
should ban the wearing of steel-shod boots after hearing
how railwayman Albert James Leary (25) of Heath Town, was
decapitated by a bridge after he slipped on the engine's
West Bromwich reported an infantile death rate "not yet
of a satisfactory character" with 347 children under the
age of one having perished in the previous 12 months. Many
of the cases, involving babies left unattended in prams,
showed "a want of care among the mothers".
At Wolverhampton a verdict of "suicide during temporary
insanity" was recorded on 65-year-old Albert Middlebrooke
of Portland Street who drowned himself in the canal because
he was too old to work, and it "fairly broke his heart".
Health authorities in Wednesbury reported that 85 people
in the town were licensed to sell milk.