Mary, Queen of Plots


Accused of planning the assassination of her cousin Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots stood trial for treason on 14th October, 1586. Mary’s coded letters, delivered to her co-conspirators in beer barrels, had been intercepted by Sir Francis Walsingham, who had deciphered and copied them and built a case against the former Scottish monarch. In …

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Branson’s Cola Gamble


Virgin Cola, Sir Richard Branson’s ultimately flawed contender in the Cola Wars, was certainly taken seriously by the competition. On 11th October 1994, a pokerfaced Coca-Cola spokesperson told The Independent: “Consumers consistently demonstrate, when given a free choice, that they prefer our product. ”Despite an extensive publicity campaign – including a stunt in Times Square, …

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The Permanent Wave


Hairdressers descended upon Oxford Street on October 8th, 1906 to witness Karl Nessler’s first public demonstration of his pioneering new ‘perm’ – a style which didn’t have its heyday until some eighty years later. Creating a long-lasting curl had been a goal for many stylists over the decades, but Nessler had hit upon a winning …

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TV’s Greatest Salesman


Ron Popeil, inventor of The Pocket Fisherman, the Amazing Smokeless Ashtray, and the Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler, was (satirically) awarded an Ignoble Award for Consumer Engineering on 7th November, 1993. But the ‘Infomercial King’ had spun an enviable career from his talent for selling; from humble beginnings shilling vegetable choppers on the shop floor of Woolworth’s …

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The Play That Never Ends


Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’, the world’s longest-running play, opened at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham on 6th October, 1952. Producer, Peter Saunders predicted the production would run for 14 months. Over 28,000 performances later, the show has become an iconic attraction in London’s West End – with a set that still includes the original mantelpiece clock …

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