December 11. King Edward VIII, the former Prince of Wales,
announced his abdication of the throne in a broadcast from Windsor
Castle. The Abdication Crisis had divided the nation. Some felt
that Edward should be able to keep the throne and marry his beloved
Church leaders and others said it was unthinkable for the monarch
to marry a woman who had already been divorced. How could he break
Church law and yet hold the title of Defender of the Faith? America
knew of the impending crisis long before Britain because of an
agreed black-out of the news by the barons of Fleet Street.
Edward announced to a stunned nation that it was impossible
to carry the burden of the throne, "without the help and support
of the woman I love." He and Mrs Simpson left Britain, married
and became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The Abdication thrust Edward's brother on to the throne as George
VI. Far less well known than his flamboyant brother and suffering
from a bad stammer, the new king seemed unpromising material but
the hour found the man and he went on to become a fine war leader.
May 27. Britain's 80,733 ton superliner, the Queen Mary,
left Southampton on her maiden voyage - making a four-and-a-half
hour journey to Cherbourg before steaming on to New York.
Dubbed "Britain's Masterpiece" by its owners, the Cunard liner
was given a massive send-off from Southampton Docks. Crowds cheered,
a band played and a host of admiring spectators surrounded the
giant ship in escort vessels.
Enormous media interest surrounded the progress of this vast,
yet speedy, liner on both sides of the Atlantic as she began the
3,000-mile trip to New York. The cost of a trans-Atlantic trip
on the vessel was advertised as being from 37.5s, including meals
October 5. The famous Jarrow March to London by 200 unemployed
men started off with thousands of wellwishers lining the streets
of the town. The marchers carried with them an oak casket containing
a petition with 11,572 signatures which they planned to present
to the Government. They wanted to focus attention on the 68 per
cent unemployment in the town.
July 31. Spain was plunged into a bitter civil war in
the few weeks since the Republican Party's victory in elections.
Battle started when the Nationalist Party leader, General Francisco
Franco, landed at Cadiz with a party of Moroccan troops. Franco
had some powerful allies, with Hitler pledging his support in
Germany and Mussolini in Italy.
August 16. The Berlin Olympic Games, aimed at glorifying
Hitler's Nazi regime, caused grave embarrassment when the talented
black American athlete, Jesse Owens, became the undisputed star
of the event. He arrived in Berlin after an incredibly successful
year and proceeded to set up four world records, for the 100 yards,
220 yards. 220 yards hurdles, and the long jump - all in the space
of a single afternoon. Afterwards Adolf Hitler refused to be photographed
with Owens and left the stadium rather than acknowledge his fourth
victory in the long jump. The games closed with a host of records
by 5,000 athletes from 53 nations.
May 19. In the years before the Second World War, the
Nazi salute may have caused some raised eyebrows but had not yet
become associated with the worst excesses of the Third Reich.
On this day a group of German ex-servicemen were entertained in
Wolverhampton. When they visited the town's war memorial, they
paid their respects to their fallen former enemies with the Nazi
January 28. At Windsor King George
V was laid to rest amid the tombs of his ancestors. Some
124 naval ratings had pulled his body on a gun carriage
through London's silent but crowded streets.
February 1. In London traffic
figures were released showing that there were 2,581,027
registered cars on the road - a rise of 17.5 per cent over
April 19. In Tel Aviv 11 people
died and 50 were injured in rioting between Arabs and Jews.
May 9. A
new fashion craze for pierced ears swept the smart set in
London's Mayfair with one specialist saying he was piercing
100 ears a month.
July 3. A Hagley butcher's assistant
committed suicide by putting a humane killer to his head
in a slaughterhouse, an inquest was told.
July 9. £750,000 was added
to the dole budget by Prime Minister Baldwin in London.
July 14. The production of gas
masks on a mass scale was launched. The target was one gas
mask for every citizen.
July 18. Bilston's Midland Velodrome
- claimed to be the fastest track in the country - was the
venue for the staging of a special cycle racing event.
August 12. A raid at a Birmingham
factory was made by "The Black Hand Gang", according to
a note left behind by the gang of boys who broke in, a juvenile
court was told.
20. Wolverhampton Council planned
to build a "Satellite Town" on 750 acres of land at Pendeford
complete with model factories, a shopping centre and school.
September 6. Beryl Markham, aged
33, became the first woman to fly the Atlantic alone. She
crash-landed on arrival in Nova Scotia.
October 5. Two hundred unemployed
men began the Jarrow Crusade, marching from their home town
in the North-east to Downing Street to plead for jobs.
Crystal Palace, Britain's best-loved exhibition centre,
was burned to the ground in. It dated from the Great Exhibition