An important year for Shipham and the world

1843 was an important year for Shipham, when the new St Leonard's Church building opened for worship on Easter Sunday, to accommodate a growing population. Queen Victoria had been on the throne for only three years.

What else was going on in the world in 1843?
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SS Great Britain was launched in Bristol on 19 July. Brunel's steamship was the the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull or screw propeller and became the largest vessel afloat in the world.

The first tunnel under the River Thames was open to the public on 25 March. It was built between 1825 and 1843 using Marc Isambard Brunel's and Thomas Cochrane's newly invented tunnelling shield technology, by Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to connect Rotherhithe and Wapping. Today it is part of the London Overground system.

Nelson's Column was built as a tribute to Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who defeated the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The original design was for a column 62m high, but this was reduced to 52m due to concerns over stability. It is built of solid blocks of granite from the Foggintor quarries on Dartmoor.

Lynus Yale Sr. patented the first combination lock, and his son Lynus Yale Jr. went on to transform the locking industry with his many breakthrough inventions, the best known being the Yale cylinder lock.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published, with 6,000 copies sold on the first day of publication.

The News of the World newspaper was first published on 1 October.

The magazine The Economist was founded by politician James Wilson, to campaign for free trade, and was first published in September.

The first commercial Christmas card was made. British painter Sir John Callcott Horsley, brother-in-law of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, designed a Christmas card for his friend Sir Henry Cole. 1,000 were printed.

The first satirical cartoon was published in Punch magazine. Drawn by John Leech and entitled 'Substance and Shadow', it depicted London's poor visiting an art gallery. This was in response to new grand frescoes being commissioned for the Palace of Westminster at a time when starvation was widespread in London.


The Virginia Minstrels, the first minstrel show in the United States, opened at Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.

Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest still intact amusement parks in the world, opened in Copenhagen.

St Andrews Golf Club was founded, with 11 members.

William Wordsworth became Poet Laureate, a position he held until his death in 1850 at the age of 80.

Prime Minister Robert Peel was the target of a failed assassination attempt, when the criminally-insane Daniel M'Naghten accidentally killed Peel's personal secretary Edward Drummond instead.

The Disruption split the Church of Scotland. After years of dissention, around one third of ministers left to form a new demonination: the United Free Church of Scotland.

Half-Day Saturday was introduced for the first time as a result of a campaign to reduce the working week from six days to five and a half. The campaign's Honorary Secretary was Robert J Lowes, who gained the approval and signatures of 400 merchants and businessmen in Manchester to achieve this. The trend rapidly spread throughout the country, and Lowes can be said to be the grandfather of the modern weekend.

The Indian Slavery Act abolished slavery in territories controlled by the East India Company. The UK also entered into bilateral treaties to abolish slave trading with Bolivia, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay.

Hawaii and Great Britain had a strong trading relationship during the 19th Century, with Britain providing protection against hostile countries. A war scare with France in February 1843 led the Hawaiian king to ask for Hawaii to be put under formal control of the British, flying only the Union Flag. When it became clear that no threat was imminent, the British restored full control to the Hawaiians in July of the same year.


Caroline Herschel, astronomer ~ died 9 January 1843 ~ Hanover, Germany.

Edvard Grieg, composer ~ born 15 June 1843 ~ Bergen, Norway.