July 25. Forty-three minutes changed history. That is
how long it took the brave French aviator Louis Bleriot to fly
from Sangatte, near Calais, to Dover Castle. The first aerial
crossing of the Channel not only won Bleriot a 1,000 prize offered
by the Daily Mail but made a profound impression on some military
was only six years after the Wright Brothers had made their first
faltering hop into history. Bleriot's 24 horse-power monoplane
was a quantum leap forward from the Wright Brothers' flimsy machine.
Averaging 40 miles per hour, it made a perfect crossing, despite
a warning that treacherous Channel crosswinds would bring it down.
November 30. The Lords rejected a so-called People's
Budget. As a result, the British Government resigned in December
following a constitutional crisis when Chancellor of the Exchequer
David Lloyd-George's budget was to have introduced a super tax
on anyone earning more than 5,000 a year and increased taxes on
alcohol, tobacco and other domestic products. The aim was partly
to pay for the new old-age pensions introduced by Prime Minister
April 13. The Sultan of Turkey was toppled by the Young
Turks. War threatened in the Balkans in 1909 with Serbia demanding
the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Austria. Turkey
finally accepted Bulgarian independence, which had been declared
the previous year. But in Turkey itself there was conflict with
thousands of Armenians murdered by Muslim fanatics.
April 6. American navy commander Robert Peary reached
the North Pole at his sixth attempt. Commander Peary accompanied
by his assistant Matthew Hensen, and four Eskimos had trekked
from Greenland across the polar ice cap.
Meanwhile, the arms race in Europe continued with Lord Northcliffe,
the owner of The Times, claiming that Germany was preparing for
war with Britain. Although some wanted to believe otherwise, the
Kaiser's new programme of shipbuilding could not be ignored.
Local boy makes good. Wolverhampton
-born Joseph E Ray was appointed Trade Commissioner to Newfoundland
by the Canadian government.
Following a row about fares, Stourbridge Board of Guardians
was assured that workhouse inmates were only allowed to
travel to Kingswinford by tram "in an emergency." Otherwise,
they were expected to walk.
A local farmer told Brownhills Council that some milk-producing
farms in the area were "an abomination of filth and a disgrace
to the council."
At a bankruptcy hearing in Wolverhampton, Emma Oakley a
dance-academy proprietor of Chapel Ash, blamed her loss
of trade on people deserting dancing for the roller-skating
Harry Smith of Walsall was ordered to pay 40 shillings by
the magistrates after his employers, Alfred Russell and
Co, lampmakers, accused him of neglect of work by being