This Month in UK History - March

March 2nd 1969


Maiden voyage of the Concorde

Concorde, the supersonic passenger jet roared into the skies on this day. The plane made its first commercial flight in 1976 and could fly at twice the speed of sound. It continued to fly for twenty seven years before being retired in 2003

March 7 1876


The Scottish-born inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, patented the telephone.

Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3 1847. His father, grandfather and brother were all associated with work on speech and elocution, both his mother and wife were deaf influencing his life's work on speech and hearing.

He attended Edinburgh university and in 1868, passed the entrance exams UCL, University of London. Shortly after moving to London, the family emigrated to Canada in 1870.

March 21 1556


England's first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer is burnt at the stake

Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I.

He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English church from union with the Catholic Church in Rome.

Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy after Mary I, a Roman Catholic, came to the throne. After two years imprisonment he was burnt at the stake as a heretic to Roman Catholics and a martyr to Protestants.

March 24 1603


The crowns of England and Scotland were united when King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English throne.

England and Scotland were separate states for centuries before eventual union and English attempts to take over Scotland by military force in the late 13th and early 14th centuries were unsuccessful.

In pursuing the English throne in the 1560s, Mary, Queen of Scots pledged herself to a peaceful union between the two kingdoms.

England and Scotland were ruled by the same king for the first time in 1603 when James VI of Scotland also became the king of England. However they remained two separate states until 1 May 1707.

Famous March Birth


Kenneth Graham - March 8 1859

Kenneth Graham was a Scottish writer, most famous for his book "The Wind in the Willows" which he wrote in 1908.

The book, focused on three central characters, Mole, Rat and Mr Toad, is a children's classic and is still as much loved and widely read today as it was when first written.

Famous March Death


Charlotte Bronte - March 31 1859

Charlotte Bronte was an English novelist and poet, the eldest of the three Brontë sisters who survived into adulthood. Her novels are English literature standards.

She wrote Jane Eyre under the pen name Currer Bell because in Victorian times it was seen as "unfeminine" for women to be writers.

She died along with her unborn child at the very young age of 38. Her death certificate has the cause of death as Tuberculosis but there is evidence to suggest she may have died of Typhus.