The h2g2 Calendar - 5 - May Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

The h2g2 Calendar - 5 - May

6 Conversations

Return to Calendar Main Page.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


  • Every year - Since 1886, May Day (or International Workers' Day) is celebrated.

  • Every year - the Rochester Sweeps Festival is held.

  • 1916 - English footballer and cricketer William 'Fatty' Foulke dies of pneumonia in Blackpool.

  • 1931 - the Empire State Building in New York City, USA, opens.

  • 1939 - Batman the Superhero first appears in print, in Detective Comics.

  • 1941 - The film Citizen Kane enjoys its world premiere.

  • 1946 - In Kashmir, India, national treasure Joanna Lumley OBE makes her world debut.

  • 1967 - Priscilla Beaulieu marries singer Elvis Presley.

  • 1994 - Formula 1 racing legend Ayrton Senna dies in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

  • 1999 - Designed by Bryan Avery, the glass-covered circular London IMAX Theatre opens to the general public.

  • 2008 - The London Agreement on the translation of European patents, concluded in 2000, enters into force in 14 of the 34 Contracting States to the European Patent Convention.


  • 1519 - Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, architect and scientist - the archetypal Renaissance man - departed the earth.

  • 1652 - John Milton's daughter Deborah is born.

  • 1803 - The state of Louisiana is purchased from France, doubling the size of the USA and paving the way for further expansion.

  • 1936 - Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is born. He later achieves success in the UK singles chart with a string of number ones in the 1960s.

  • 1975 - Captain of the England football team, David Beckham is born.

  • 1997 - Tony Blair becomes prime minister of the UK.

  • 2008 - Cyclone Nargis makes landfall in Myanmar, killing more than 130,000 people and leaving millions homeless.



  • 1886 - How May Day Became a Workers' Holiday. A rally takes place at Haymarket Square.

  • 1949 - The whole team of the Italian football club Torino, save one player who stayed at home due to some injury, die in an air crash while approaching Turin.

  • 1972 - Mike Dirnt, bassist and founding member of Green Day is born.

  • 1989 - Margaret Thatcher reaches ten years in office.

  • 2007 - The Scottish National Party wins the Scottish general election and becomes the largest party in the Scottish Parliament for the first time.





  • 1428 - Joan of Arc's military reputation is established with the raising of the Siege of Orléans.

  • 1886 - Dr John Pemberton's secret elixir - aka Coca Cola - goes on sale. A century later, this simple drink is the cause of one of the hardest-fought battles in commercial history - the cola wars.

  • 1919 - A letter by Edward George Honey is published in the London Evening News proposing a period of silence in remembrance of those who died. The result is Remembrance Sunday, every 11 November from then on.

  • 1926 - British Naturalist and TV presenter Sir David Attenborough is born in London.

  • 1932 - Boxer Charles Sonny Liston is born.

  • 1972 - Darren Hayes, founding member of the band Savage Garden is born on this day.

  • 2001 - The Wicker Man, south-west England's answer to the Angel of the North, is destroyed by arsonists.

  • 2007 - A new Northern Ireland Executive is formed under the leadership of Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party, as First Minister, and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin, as Deputy First Minister.



  • 1508 - Michelangelo begins work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

  • 1914 - Founder of the Boys Brigade Sir William Smith dies.

  • 1915 - Margaret Thatcher's future husband, Denis Thatcher, is born.

  • 1957 - Sid Vicious, prominent figure in the Punk Music movement, is born.

  • 2002 - Five people are killed and 76 are injured in a London rail disaster at Potters Bar Station when the service from King's Cross to King's Lynn derails.





  • 1894 - Blackpool's famous tower is opened.

  • 1944 - Director of THX 1138 and Star Wars George Lucas is born.

  • 1952 - Director of Contact Robert Zemeckis is born.

  • 1961 - Actor Tim Roth, a regular collaborator with filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, is born.

  • 1971 - A London Underground train driver is killed when he accelerates through the sand drag and into the buffers at the Tooting Broadway station.

  • 1973 - Skylab is carried into space.

  • 1997 - The Spice Girls make history by becoming the first British group to enter the US charts at No 1.


  • Every year - Feast day of Saint Dymphna, the Patron Saint of the Mentally Ill, Runaways, and Rape Victims.

  • 1464 - Henry Beaufort, leader of the Lancastrians in the War Of The Roses, was surprised and killed at Hexham, Northumberland.

  • 1776 - The Commonwealth of Virginia declares itself independent.

  • 1857 - Williamina Fleming, Astronomy pioneer, and discoverer of the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, is born in Dundee, Scotland.

  • 1859 - Scientist Pierre Curie is born. He later invents Radioactivity... or something.

  • 1905 - Bidders gathered for an auction of 110 acres of land that became Las Vegas.


  • 1920 - Joan of Arc is canonised by Pope Benedict XV.

  • 1929 - The first ever Academy Awards are held. The winners already know who they are.

  • 1948 - Judy Finnegan, one half of husband-and-wife television team Richard and Judy is born.

  • 1953 - The James Bond that took us into the 2000s, actor Pierce Brosnan is born.


  • 1749 - Vaccine pioneer Edward Jenner is born, a notable day for modern medicine.

  • 1814 - Norway wins independence from Denmark.

  • 1938 - Six people die in a crash on the London Underground when a Circle line train runs into the back of a District line train at Charing Cross, due to a wrongly-wired signal.

  • 1973 - The investigation into the Watergate affair is launched.

  • 1995 - Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet, becomes the world's youngest political prisoner.

  • 2000 - The number of the famous Mojave Phone Booth is quietly disconnected and the box itself disappears a short time after.


  • 1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Emperor of France.

  • 1949 - Rick Wakeman of the band Yes is born.

  • 1980 - Vocalist/lyricist with Joy Division Ian Curtis commits suicide.

  • 2004 - Mahatma Gandhi's granddaughter Sonia Gandhi declines to lead India.



  • 1897 - Bram Stoker gives the first public reading of his novel Dracula.

  • 1927 - The child of celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh is kidnapped.

  • 1996 - Actor Jon Pertwee dies. Pertwee played both the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge and the Time Lord Doctor Who.

  • 2000 - Leo Blair, son of Tony Blair, is born.



  • 337 - Emperor Constantine, founder of the city of Byzantium and the Byzantine Empire, dies.

  • 1455 - The Yorkists are victorious over the Lancastrians at the First Battle of St Albans, heralding the start of the War of the Roses.

  • 1813 - Composer Richard Wagner is born.

  • 1915 - The worst train crash ever to occur in the UK takes place at Quintinshill in Scotland - the accident involves five different trains, with a death toll of 227.

  • 1959 - Lead singer of The Smiths, Morrissey is born.

  • 1969 - Lundy Island, UK is bought by the National Trust.

  • 2006 - At 1pm, thousands of GCSE students across the United Kingdom sit down to their first Humanities paper - little do they know that they are victims of the 2006 GCSE Humanities Paper Debacle.


  • 1430 - Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians.

  • 1912 - Gustav Hamel dies in an air crash during a cross-channel flight from Paris in his new Morane-Saulnier monoplane - no trace of him is ever found.

  • 1918 - Denis Compton is born, one of England's best-loved sportsmen, playing brilliant first class cricket for Middlesex and football for Arsenal and England.

  • 1957 - Singer Thereza Louise Bazar of Dollar is born.

  • 2002 - Former star of Neighbours Kylie Minogue becomes a triple award winner at the Ivor Novello Awards.




  • 1650 - John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, considered to be one of the greatest military geniuses England has ever produced, is born at Ashe in Devon.

  • 1904 - Entertainer George Formby is born.

  • 1946 - Guitarist Mick Ronson, famed for his collaboration with David Bowie, is born in Hull, Yorkshire.

  • 1994 - Michael Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley.


  • 1906 - Mahler's 6th Symphony, initially subtitled The Tragic, premieres in the industrial town of Essen, Germany.

  • 1943 - Cilla Black, one-time chart-topper and queen of Blind Date, is born.

  • 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi's assassins go on trial.

  • 1995 - Actor Christopher Reeve has a horseriding accident, which leads to spinal and neck injuries and makes him a quadriplegic.


  • 1494 - The official birthdate of Scotch Whisky, when the rolls of the Scottish Exchequer record that a Friar called John Cor, at an abbey in Fife, purchased malt to make 'aqua vitae'.

  • 1908 - Ian Fleming, author and creator of James Bond - is born.

  • 1968 - Kylie Minogue is born.

  • 1984 - Comedian Eric Morecambe dies.




Next Month

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Edited Entry


Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Categorised In:

Written by


h2g2 Entries

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more