22 June: On this day in history


On this day_Numbers_pink22

22 June 1483 

Dr Ralph Shaw preached a sermon at St Paul’s Cross declaring the late Edward IV’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid, his children illegitimate and their uncle, Richard of Gloucester (later Richard III), the rightful king.

22 June 1610

William Seymour secretly married Arbella Stuart at Greenwich. News of the marriage caused great consternation at court – the pair were both direct descendants of the Tudor line, so there was the danger of a rival dynasty to that of James I. The pair were separated and imprisoned for marrying without royal permission. Both escaped from captivity and fled for the continent. Seymour managed to reach Ostend but the ship carrying Arbella was overtaken and she was taken back to the Tower, where she remained until her death in 1615.

22 June 1679 

James, Duke of Monmouth, defeats Scottish Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge, on the Clyde near Hamilton. The Covenanters had rebelled against what they saw as the repressive policies of the Duke of Lauderdale, Charles II’s secretary of state in Scotland.

22 June 1922 

The Herrin Massacre. Nineteen strikebreaking miners and guards were murdered by a mob in Herrin, Illinois. Nobody was ever convicted for the crime.


22 June 1941 

Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In the next six months Germany occupied what is now Belarus, much of the Ukraine and surrounded Leningrad.

22 June 1948: The Windrush arrives at Tilbury

West Indian émigrés answer Britain’s call for help

On a grey, misty day in June 1948, a former German passenger liner arrived at Tilbury docks on the Thames Estuary – to a storm of media attention. The name of the vessel was the Empire Windrush and its arrival in Britain that day – after setting off from Kingston, Jamaica a month earlier – is now widely remembered as a landmark moment in modern British history.

The reason for its significance lies not in the identity of the ship itself, but in the men and women it had carried across the Atlantic. The hundreds of people who disembarked from the Windrush made up one of the first large groups of West Indians to emigrate to postwar Britain – and they had made the journey because their help was needed.

Three years after the end of the Second World War, severe labour shortages were proving a drag on the British economy. In response, the government came up with the British Nationality Act 1948, giving citizens of Britain’s colonies and the Commonwealth the right to settle in the UK.

Some of those who stepped off the Windrush in June 1948 had already arranged accommodation and work. Others, however, arrived with nothing to do and nowhere to live. Some 230 passengers set up home in an old air-raid shelter in Clapham before heading to the labour exchange in neighbouring Brixton. Hostility to their arrival was widespread. Those looking for homes to rent often encountered signs declaring “NO BLACKS”; others were beaten for befriending white people.

For all that, many of the Windrush’s passengers thrived in England. None more so than Sam King, a former RAF engineer. King not only went on to become mayor of Southwark, but helped launch the forerunner of the Notting Hill Carnival. Today, more than 70 years after the Windrush’s famous journey, the carnival is cherished as a celebration of Caribbean culture in London. | Written by Helen Carr

22 June 1981: John McEnroe erupts at Wimbledon

The tennis star’s meltdown leaves spectators in shock

John McEnroe entered the 1981 Wimbledon championships as oneof the most famous sportsmen in the world. The year before, aged just 21, he had lost an epic final to Björn Borg. With his brash, swashbuckling style, McEnroe was already a firm favourite with younger fans, earning the nickname “Superbrat”. Nobody, though, could have expected what came next.

McEnroe was widely expected to cruise to victory in the opening round against his fellow American Tom Gullikson – as indeed he did. But the two men had only been on court for two games when, living up to his billing, Superbrat lost his temper in spectacular fashion.

When McEnroe’s serve – an ace, he thought – was ruled out by the chair umpire, his passion boiled over. “Chalk came up all over the place,” he burst out. “You can’t be serious, man. You cannot be serious! That ball is on the line. Chalk flew up. It was clearly in. How can you possibly call that out?”

At that there were gasps from the crowd. “Everybody knows it’s in in the whole stadi- um, and you call it out?” McEnroe screamed. “You guys are the absolute pits of the world, you know that?”

  • Read about more scandalous moments in Wimbledon’s history

The umpire gave him a warning. But McEnroe was not deterred. A few moments later, having been reprimanded for smashing his racquet into the ground, he lost his temper again. “You are an incompetent fool, an offence against the world!” he shouted, as the umpire docked him a point.

The tantrum made headlines across the world – a symptom, some said, of a younger generation that had lost all decency. “Disgrace of Superbrat,” screamed the front page of the next day’s Daily Express, while the paper’s star columnist Jean Rook declared McEnroe was as “brattish, brutish, bloody-minded as his red headband”.

But the young American had the last laugh. He won the match, and two weeks later he won his first Wimbledon championship, too. | Written by Dominic Sandbrook

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Journal of Human Hypertension

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