Today in Orlando
This is a small sample drawn from within and beyond the lives and careers of writers. Look again tomorrow! Read more about The Orlando Project chronology.
11 March 1694
Elizabeth Tollet was born, probably at York Buildings, near Whitehall Palace, London.
11 March 1702
Elizabeth Mallet launched the first successful daily newspaper in England, The Daily Courant.
The Courant merged in 1735 with The Daily Gazetteer.
11-14 March 1737
For four days highwaymen robbed every one of the twice-daily stage-coaches from Marlborough, Wiltshire, to London.
This was noted by Charles Wesley, who travelled on 15 March 1737, in the first coach for four days not to be held up.
11 March 1791
Pope Pius VI condemned the French Revolution, in particular the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.
11 March 1796
London Corresponding Society members, travelling the country to drum up support, were arrested and imprisoned in Birmingham.
They were suspected especially of treasonable subversion of naval personnel.
11 March 1809
Hannah Cowley died at Tiverton in Devon, of a liver complaint: she had been planting flowers the day before she died.
11 March 1818
Mary and Percy Shelley, with their two children William and baby Clara, left England for Italy.
11 March 1820
Eighteen-year-old Letitia Landon’s first poem, Rome, was published in the Literary Gazette, signed L.
11 March 1830
While studying the history of the British monarchy, young Princess Alexandrina Victoria discovered her claim to the throne.
11 March 1889
Pandita Ramabai opened her home designed to provide security and an education for young, high-caste widows, the Sharada Sadan (or Home for Learning) in Chowpatty, an area of Bombay(now Mumbai).
11 March 1900
Mary Kingsley left England and headed back to Africa, where she intended to serve as nurse and reporter in the Boer War. She arrived in Cape Town on the 28th.
11 March 1903
Ethel Smyth’s second opera, Der Wald, became the first by a woman to be performed at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
11 March 1908
Mary Augusta Ward embarked on a lecture tour in the New World.
11 March 1917
Field-Marshal Haig agreed in principle that women could be employed with the army fighting in France. The first notices for the recruitment into the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) appeared this month throughout Britain.
Women in the army were hedged about with restrictions. Their titles were different: controller and administrator iinsead of officer, forewoman instead of sergeant, and so on. They were deemed noncombatant, and were paid less than their male counterparts. They were barred from working in clothing stores where men were undressing.
Nevertheless women rushed to enlist. Their position was formalised on 7 July by Army Council Instruction No. 1069.
11 March 1921
Oxford University awarded its first honorary degree to a woman, Queen Mary.
11 March 1932
Distraught by the recent death of her dearest companion, Lytton Strachey, Dora Carrington made a second suicide attempt. This time she shot herself, and died.
11 March 1936
Elizabeth Coles married, in a quiet wedding at Caxton Hall in Westminster, John William Kendall Taylor, who worked in the highly successful and lucrative family business of confectionery production and sale.
11 March 1937
Virginia Woolf published The Years with the Hogarth Press after agonies of revision and the discarding of “two enormous chunks”. It still remains her longest novel.
11 March 1941
American President F. D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Bill which ensured a stable source of supplies (regardless of ability to pay) for countries whose defence was deemed by America to be necessary to US security.
This, of course, ensured that Britain would receive supplies from the US in spite of its inability to provide full compensation for goods received. Assistance was hampered by the continued sinking of allied and neutral merchant ships; by the end of 1941, approximately nine million tons had been sunk. The Lend-Lease provisions came to an end in 1945.
11 March 1943
Una Marson’s groundbreaking radio programme, Caribbean Voices, was first broadcast on the BBC’s West Indian Service, where it ran for fifteen years.
11 March 1947
Angela Brazil died during the night, after a cheerful supper with her brother and sister, at home in Coventry.
11 March 1954
At eighty-six years old, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence died of a heart attack at her home, Fourways at Gomshall in Surrey.
11 March 1959
With the opening of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry became the first black woman to have a play produced on Broadway.
Hansberry (who died only six years later, in her mid-thirties, of cancer) used an event from her family history in this play: her father, a realtor, had bought a house for his family in a neighbourhood which had designated itself white under a covenant agreement. The Hansberrys were “harassed, vandalized, evicted, then upheld in the Supreme Court.” A Raisin in the Sun ran for 530 performances and garnered six Tony Awards.
11 March 1965
Sylvia Plath’s second major collection of poems, Ariel, was published posthumously in a form revised by Ted Hughes.
11 March 1968
Stevie Smith’s aunt Margaret Annie Spear died at ninety-six, a month after suffering a stroke.
11 March 1985
Mikhail Gorbachev was named Secretary of the Soviet Communist party, becoming leader of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev was appointed to the post just a day after the death of his predecessor Konstantin Chernenko. From the outset his administration was different; more open, more outgoing, more approachable. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had previously said of him: “I like Mr Gorbachev. We can do business together.”
11 March 1992
The Choice, a drama by Claire Luckham about Down’s or Down Syndrome, was first performed at the Salisbury Playhouse, directed by Annie Castledine.
11 March 1996
Deborah Moggach published her novel Seesaw, another which did well on television with her own script.
11 March 1999
Shena Mackay published another volume: The World’s Smallest Unicorn, and Other Stories; again it teems with her hallmark eccentric characters.