Dry age dawns for the US

January 16. At one minute past midnight, the sale of alcohol was banned throughout the United States. Prohibition had arrived. It was to last for 14 years. Prohibition was the result of endless lobbying by American temperance societies whose campaign against "the demon drink" dated back to the earliest days of Puritanism. Preachers said it would reduce sin. Judges hoped it would cut crime. Bosses expected the booze-ban to reduce absenteeism and increase industrial production.

Al CaponeWhat no-one foresaw was that America's appetite for illegal "bootleg" alcohol would actually lead to an increase in consumption. It became the era of hip flasks and speakeasies, of protection rackets, organised crime and corruption at every level of American society.

Gang leaders like the notorious Al "Scarface" Capone not only controlled the liquor and prostitution on their patch but had police chiefs and politicians on their payroll.

November 21. The Irish crisis went from bad to worse in a horrifying day of tit-for-tat killings in Dublin. The murders began early in the day when IRA men broke into the secret homes of 14 British spies, killing them all. In retaliation, British police turned a machine-gun on a football crowd, claiming they had come under small-arms fire. Fourteen died either by British bullets or trampled in the panic that followed.

November 30. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a respected figure, shocked London society by admitting that he believed in fairies. Two Yorkshire schoolgirls, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, claimed to have photographed the fairies in their village of Cottingley three years earlier. Their snaps were later "authenticated" by experts and Doyle had no hesitation in rushing into print. Years later, long after Conan Doyle was dead, Elsie and Frances admitted they had hoaxed the world by cutting out pictures of fairies and photographing them.

November 10. The body of the Unknown Warrior, chosen at random from the war dead in France, arrived in London to be buried at Westminster Abbey.

June 15. Home Sweet Home crackled out of primitive wireless sets all over Britain and the legendary Nellie Melba was £1,000 better off. That was the diva's fee for becoming the first professional singer to perform live on the radio.


In brief

January 3.
After two months of heavy rain, coal pits at Old Hill are threatened with closure as a result of flooding.

February 15.
Tettenhall war memorial was unveiled. The Rev A R Harrison said it stood "on soil which the patriotism of heroes made safe from alien outrage."

April 12.
Wolverhampton Council considered buying a number of electric-powered vehicles "although a certain number of horse-drawn vehicles would always be required".

Aston Villa beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 to win the FA Cup final. West Bromwich Albion won the first division championship for the only time in the club's history.

June 17.
A double celebration for Wolverhampton as two riders, Cyril Williams, on an AJS, and and T C De la Hay, on a Sunbeam, won their class in the TT Races at the Isle of Man.