Black shirts on the march

October 30. A new word arrived in politics: Fascism. A plump Italian called Benito Mussolini led 30,000 supporters wearing black shirts on a march from Naples to Rome.

MussoliniTheir party emblem, denoting the strength of many bound together in one cause, was the symbol once carried before the magistrates of ancient Rome, a bundle of rods surrounding an axe. It was called the fasces and Mussolini's blackshirts were fascists.

The elected government in Rome was weak, the King of Italy feared a communist revolution and Mussolini's coup met little resistance. As the blackshirts poured into the Eternal City, the government meekly surrendered and left-wingers fled for their lives.

August 22. The legendary Irish leader Michael Collins was shot dead in an IRA ambush near Cork. He knew it was coming. As he signed the treaty which divided Ireland the previous year he remarked that he was signing his own death warrant. A veteran of the 1916 uprising, he was only 31.

June 10. Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in the United States. She was to become the world's best-loved child star, notably as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

October 26. George Cadbury, chocolate maker and philanthropist, died. The Cadburys, a Birmingham Quaker family, had shown that efficiency need not go hand in hand with working-class squalor. Nor for them the "dark, satanic mills" that scarred so many English industrial towns. At Bournville they created not only a factory but also a village settlement amid trees, greens and sportsfields.

October 24. The outrageous English dancer, Isadora Duncan, was banned by the local authorities in Boston. Duncan brought a new style to the stage, breaking away from the stiff formality of ballet and classical dance. However, her search for artistic fulfilment at Boston led to her taking her clothes off on stage. Duncan died when her silk scarf tangled in the wheel of an open sports car.


In brief

January 7.
The president of Wolverhampton Chamber of Trade, Mr W M Furniss, called for "more frugal habits of life" saying this was essential during the post-war slump

May 9.
Stafford Council agreed to start work on the town's war memorial in Victoria Square, despite criticism that it was in the middle of the road.

July 20.
The Duke of York (later George VI) visited Wolverhampton and was given a warm welcome as he toured an orphanage and watched children's sports at Molineux.

August 2.
Brierley Hill Trades Council complained about the lateness of the local telegram service. Homing pigeons were often faster, it was alleged.

October 4.
Wednesfield Council heard that "a large number of children were laid up" in a measles epidemic.