Historical Anecdotes Story Of London

Historical Anecdotes J

Historical Anecdotes J
by Anthony Waldstock

This is a series of articles that has grown out of the daily listings of what happened “On This Day”. Many of the events, particularly those related to science, seemed to us to need some more information than is possible in the daily listing format. Still others had amusing or informative anecdotes associated with them that we felt were worth sharing with our readers. The series is designed for browsing and dipping into and we have therefore set up a comprehensive system of links to make this as easy and as enjoyable as possible.

Historical Anecdotes: J

by Anthony Waldstock

This series of articles will present occasional anecdotal, amusing and factual notes behind the people and events on the This Day in History digests. Entries are determined by the daily posting of events in history with the first entries appearing for March 12th and are arranged alphabetically. With the steady increase of material, each letter of the alphabet now (April 17th 2002) has its own page. People are indexed according to their family or surnames whereas kings, popes, emperors etc. are listed according to their regnal names– e.g. Charles Boycott would be found under B, Pope Gregory under G and Queen Mary Tudor under M. Other items are indexed by the most significant word in the title, for example Artificial Ice will be found under I but Sad Iron will be found under S.

Links back to the monthly digests for “This Day in History” can be found at the bottom of the introductory page but each of the entries on the other pages will have a link to take you back to the specific date with which it is associated. Note that if you have come here from the Background Briefings link on the Home page, you can go back there by clicking on the site Masthead above. When appropriate, there are additional links back to other referring pages on the site such as the People of London page.

Within the series there are two sets of links. At the top of each page there will be a table of links to the other indexing letters to allow browsing by individual pages. At the bottom of each page you will also find a set of links which will allow you to scroll backward (Previous) and forward (next) through the pages. The pages are looped so the “Previous” link from A will be to Z and the “Next” link from Z will be to A. There will also be a central link back to this introduction page whose main content is an alphabetic list of the complete set of entries. From there, you will be able to browse the titles of the individual entries and jump directly to those that interest you. By definition, the number of entries will augment on a daily basis so it is worth checking back there frequently.

Links to Entries by Index Letter

Union Jack

The national flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Flag, generally known as the Union Jack. The name is derived from the use of the Union Flag on the jack-staff at the bow of naval vessels. The flag is a combination of:

  • the cross of the patron saint of England, St George (cross gules in a field argent – red cross on a silver (white) background)
  • the cross of the patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew (saltire argent in a field azure – silver (white) diagonal cross on a blue background)
  • a cross similar to that of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland (saltire gules in a field argent – red diagonal cross on a silver (white) background

The original Union flag was first introduced on April 12th 1606 after the union of England and Scotland under James VI and I. In May 1658, during the Commonwealth, Cromwell marked his “Conquest” of Ireland by adding an Irish Harp to the centre of the flag. This was removed in May 1660 at the Restoration of Charles II. Pepys, in his entry for May 13th 1660, describes its removal from the flags on the fleet which was to escort Charles from the Hague. The cross of St Patrick was not added until 1801.Return to April 12th

Return to April 23rd

Return to St George


The word was coined during the Russo-Turkis war of 1877 – 1878. On June 4th 1878 an Anglo-Turkish agreement was made to check Russian advance in Asia Minor. Under this agreement, Britain pledgedd to defend Turkey against further attack and in return was allowed to occupy Cyprus. George William Hund penned a ballad on the affair and this immediately became popular in the Music Halls of London. It contained the refrain:We don’t want to fight, but, by jingo! if we do,
We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too.
We’ve fought the Bear before, and while Britons shall be true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.Return to This Day in History

George Jeffreys

George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Wem, (1648-89) has become notorious as the Hanging Judge . He was called to the bar in 1668 and rose rapidly to the bench to become the common serjeant of the City of London by 1671. Nominally a Puritan during the Commonwealth, he began to become politically active and to intrigue for Royal favour. He was successful in this and was appointed solicitor to the Duke of York (later James II) and knighted in 1677. In the following year he was appointed Recorder (part time judge) of London and was actively involved in the prosecutions during the Popish Plot – the supposed plot by Catholics to murder Charles II which was invented by Titus Oates in 1678. The public hysteria which this brought about resulted in twenty-four judicial murders and was exploited by the Whigs to exclude Catholics from Parliament and the Armed forces.

Jeffreys continued his meteoric rise becoming chief Justice of Chester and King’s Serjeant in 1680, a Baronet in 1681 and chief justice of the King’s Bench in 1683. He was an able and impartial judge in civil cases but quite otherwise in criminal cases. The first intimation of this came in the trial of Algernon Sidney in 1683. Sidney was the second son of the second earl of Leicester who fought on the aprliamentary side in the Civil War. On the Restoration he went into exile on the Continent but returned in 1677. In 1683 it was alleged that he was involved in the so-called Rye House plot to murder Charles II. Jeffreys tried him and, despite the lack of evidence, produced a death sentence. In every state trial that followed, Jeffreys was clearly a willing tool of the Crown and was raised to the peerage in 1685.

The Monmouth rebellion in 1685 was led by the illegitimate son of Charles II, James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth. His intention was to remove James II from the throne. Landing at Lyme Regis, in Dorset, he collected a small army of westcountrymen. These, however were no match for the royal forces and were crushed at Sedgemoor on July 6th. Jeffreys was despatched to the western Assize circuit to try the rebels. He was nothing if not prolific. One hundred and fifty rebels, including Monmouth, were sentenced to death and another eight hundred to transportation. In addition, hundreds were whipped and fined the whole affair becoming known as the Bloody Assizes.

Jeffreys became Lord Chancellor in that year and supported the measures of James II as president of the newly-restored Court of High Commission. He was involved in the trials of seven bishops who had plotted to engineer the usurpation of the throne by James’s son-in-law William of Orange. His views on witchcraft were moderate not, despite modern popular belief, of the Witch-finder General type. James was overthrown in 1688 and Jefries tried to escape disguised as a sailor. However, he was arrested at Wapping and sent to the Tower of London for his own protection. He died there on April 18 1689.Return to This Day in History


In 1890, two U.S. patents for the first jukebox were issued to Louis Glass and his business associate, William S. Arnold concerning a coin actuated attachment for phonographs. Their first jukebox was a coin-operated Edison Class M Electric Phonograph with an oak cabinet. It was placed in the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco. The techniques of amplification had yet to be invented so, for a nickel a play, a patron could listen using one of four listening tubes. Known as “Nickel-in-the-Slot,” the machine was an instant success, earning over $1000 in less than half a year.Return to This Day in History