Gilbert and Sullivan Archive



David Duffey: A rival attraction in the London of 1889 was Barnum and Bailey's Circus at Olympia.

Jerome K Jerome published that exceptional novel "Three Men in a Boat (not to mention the dog). Mark Twain weighed in with "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"

Benjamin Harrison became 23rd President of the US. Gladstone was UK premier.

N Dakota, S Dakota, Montana and Washington become states of the US. Oklahoma was opened to non-Indian settlement.

Eiffel designed his Tower, Van Gogh painted "Landscape with Cypress Tree", H Hollerith thought up a punch card system thus bringing the world one step closer to Savoynet.

Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria commits suicide, thus making Franz Ferdinand heir apparent, which may have led to the start of World War I

Adolf Hitler was born, which may have led to the start of World War II, which in turn led to the scientific needs which necessitated the development of computers, which resulted in the creation of Savoynet.

Bill McCann: January 1st 1889 The first ever Vehicle Excise Tax (Licence plate, Motor Tax) on motorised vehicles was introduced. It happened in Britain (of course) and was set at a figure of two guineas (£2.2s.0d) and covered all four-wheeled steam and motor road vehicles. I have not even begun to work out what the equivalent rate would be today but the actual rate in Britain today is an average of 138 guineas.

The first hotel in Great Britain to introduce private bathrooms was the Savoy of course which was opened on August 6th and boasted 70 private bathrooms. The story goes that the builder, Holloway, was absolutely incredulous when D'Oyly Carte instructed him as to the number of bathrooms. He demanded of Carte whether he expected his guests to be amphibious! One can understand the poor man's state of shock when it is realised that the Savoy's closed rival, the newly opened Hotel Victoria in Northumberland Avenue, had FOUR bathrooms for 500 guests!

A boon for Gilbert perhaps? The first typewriter to be manufactured in Britain was designed by the celebrated magician John Nevil Maskelyne and produced by the Maskelyne British Typewriter & Manufacturing Co Ltd of London in 1889. This model had two unusual features. One, a shift key that could be operated either by hand OR foot according to the customer's preference! (Just think, no accidental caps locking.) The other was differential spacing which allowed each character to occupy a space appropriate to its width, as in printing. This feature was only introduced by IBM in 1941.

Page created 30 June 1997