On this day: The Knickerbocker Theatre collapse in 1922

Interior of Knickerbocker Theatre, Washington, DC, following roof collapse on January 28, 1922.

The Knickerbocker Storm, a blizzard that hit Washington D.C. in the United States for two days in 1922, led to the collapse of the Knickerbocker Theatre just after 9pm on the 28th of January.

Ninety-eight people were killed, and a further one hundred and thirty-three injured in the collapse.

The Knickerbocker Theatre from the outside after the collapse of the roof 1922 Washington D.C.

The tragedy was caused by snow gathering on the flat roof until it gave way under the strain. People who were there said they were given no warning (no sounds of the building straining under the weight, for example).

Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (1921 film)

Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford

The silent film Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (1921) was playing at the time it happened.

Both the theatre’s architect and its owner committed suicide in the years afterwards.

Knickerbocker Theatre in October 1917

The theatre in October, 1917.

The storm hit other areas of the United States, including heavy snowfall in Maryland and Virginia. Temperatures stayed many degrees below freezing for much of the event.

On this day: the 1924 Winter Olympics

1924 Winter Olympics Chamonix France Poster

The first Winter Olympics opened in Chamonix, France on the 25th of January, 1924.

Though both Figure Skating and Ice Hockey had featured in Summer Games in the past, there’d never been an official event for winter sport before.

Sonja Henie Ice Skater

This was the first Olympics Sonja Henie, who I (accidentally – no matter what people have thought in the past!) share my name with skated. She was eleven at the time, and got nowhere in the 1924 competition, but she would go on to win gold at the next three Games and then have a successful movie career.

On this day: Queen Victoria died in 1901

Death of Queen Victoria 22nd January 1901

On the 22nd of January, 1901, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland died at the age of eighty-one.

A woman who inherited the throne at eighteen, she reigned for sixty-three years and seven months and was Britain’s longest-serving monarch, as well as the world’s longest-serving female monarch.

Queen Victoria receiving the news of her accession to the throne, 20 June 1837.

Queen Victoria receiving the news of her accession to the throne, 20 June 1837.

She was buried in a white dress and her wedding veil, as she had left instructions for her funeral to be white. Her death marked the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the Edwardian Era.

799px-Queen_Victoria_Prince_Albert_and_their_nine_children

On this day: the First Fleet in 1788

View_of_Botany_Bayengraving of the First Fleet in Botany Bay at voyage's end in 1788

On the 20th of January, 1788, the main body of the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay, modern-day Australia.

The First Fleet, consisting of eleven ships of convicts, marines and seamen, had left England in 1787.

Botany Bay was deemed unsuitable for a colony, with concerns about the lack of fresh water and the swampy land, and the fleet moved further north, to Port Jackson. The fleet’s arrival in the second port is marked by Australia Day on the 26th of January.