This Day in October
Here is a snapshot of historical events which took place in the month of October, with links to pages with further information, where available on the Web.
October 1/5 1263
Battle of Largs - Scots defeated the Vikings who were attempting to invade.
October 1 1568
The Bannatyne Manuscript, the most extensive collection of early Scottish poetry in existence, was published by George Bannatyne, an Edinburgh merchant.
October 1 1763
Contract to construct the North Bridge, Edinburgh, signed.
October 2 1852
Birth of Sir William Ramsay>, Scottish chemist who discovered helium, xenon, neon, argon, radon and krypton.
October 2 1854
Patrick Geddes>, "father of town planning" born in Ballater.
October 2 1931
Death of Sir Thomas Lipton>, grocer, tea merchant and contestant for the "Americas Cup".
October 2 1947
The new paddle steamer Waverley was launched from A. & J. Inglis's yard on the Clyde. After providing services on the Firth of Clyde she has been preserved and still takes passengers "doon the watter" as the oldest sea-going paddle steamer in the world.
October 3 1357
Treaty of Berwick>, freeing David II> from imprisonment by the English.
October 3 1594
Battle of Glenlivet, George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, defeated a Royalist force under 7th Earl of Argyll.
October 3 1706
Last Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh before the Union with Westminster.
October 4 1780
African explorer Alexander Laing, born.
October 4 1821
Death of John Rennie, engineer who constructed the Crinan Canal.
October 4 1929
Most of United Free Church merged with Church of Scotland>.
October 4 1883
Boys' Brigade> founded in Glasgow.
October 5 1785
Balloon flight by Italian aeronaut Vincenzo Lunardi from Heriot's School, Edinburgh to Ceres in Fife.
October 7 1782
Birth of Charles McLaren, one of the founders of the "Scotsman" newspaper.
October 8 1774
Rev Henry Duncan>, founder of the first savings bank, born in the Manse at Lochrutton.
October 9 1506
King James IV> ratified the Charter incorporating the Surgeons and Barbers.
October 9 1921
SS Rowan sank off the Rhinns of Galloway, near Corsewall Point> with 34 casualties.
October 9 1935
Ornithologist and painter Archibald Thorburn died.
October 9 1995
Death of Lord Home of the Hirsel>, also known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home, formerly Foreign Secretary and UK Prime Minister.
October 10 1802
Writer and geologist Hugh Miller born on the Black Isle>, Cromarty.
October 10 1802
The Edinburgh Review first published "to erect a higher standard of merit, and secure a bolder and purer taste in literature, and to apply philosophical principles and the maxims of truth and humanity to politics".
October 10 1974
Labour won the General Election with an overall majority of three seats and Harold Wilson became Prime Minister.
October 11 1297
Letter from Wallace and Moray to the mayors of Lubeck and Hamburg saying that "The Kingdom of Scotland has, by God's Grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English".
October 11 1511
Ship "Great Michael" launched for King James IV>.
October 11 1797
The British fleet, under the command of Admiral Adam Duncan (born in Forfar in 1731), defeated the Dutch off the village of Camperdown, Holland
October 11 2000
Scotland's first First Minister Donald Dewar died suddenly after a fall on the steps of his official residence in Edinburgh.
October 12 1866
Ramsay MacDonald>, first Labour Prime Minister of UK, born in Lossiemouth.
October 12 1929
Birth of Magnus Magnusson>, writer, broadcaster and questionmaster in TV programme "Mastermind".
October 13 1644
Battle of Aberdeen, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose>, sacked the city.
October 13 1713
Birth of Allan Ramsay>, painter and son of Allan Ramsay> the poet.
October 14 1285
Second marriage of King Alexander III> (to Yolanda de Dreux).
October 14 1318
Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce>, killed in a battle near Dundalk, Ireland.
October 14 1633
Birth at St James' Palace, London of King James VII, second son of King Charles I and brother of King Charles II.
October 14 1788
First steamboat tested on Dalswinton Loch by Patrick Miller and William Symington.
October 14 1881
Eyemouth> Fishing Disaster, nearly 20 boats and 129 men (1 in 3 of the town's male population) lost their lives in a storm.
October 14 1939
German submarine sank HMS "Royal Oak" in Scapa Flow>, Orkney, with the loss of 810 lives.
October 14 1969
The 50 pence decimal coin was first issued, replacing the ten shilling note.
October 15 1686
Birth of poet Allan Ramsay>, father of Allan Ramsay> the painter.
October 15 1880
Dr Marie Stopes>, founder of first modern birth control clinic, born Edinburgh.
October 15 1902
Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel opened its doors for the first time.
October 15 1928
Voting age for women reduced from 30 to 21, the same as for men.
October 15 1943
Poet William Souter> died in Perth.
October 16 1430
King James II born.
October 16 1774
Poet Robert Fergusson> died.
October 16 1921
Poet George Mackay Brown born.
October 16 1939
City of Edinburgh Fighter Squadron (No 603) shoots down the first enemy aircraft over Britain (since 1918) after an attack on the Rosyth naval base on the Firth of Forth.
October 16 1954
Former Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Forsyth born.
October 17 1346
Battle of Neville's Cross> during which King David II> was captured by the English.
October 17 1850
James "Paraffin" Young obtained a patent for the extraction of paraffin from shale, starting the chemical industry in West Lothian.
October 17 1995
Bridge> to the Isle of Skye> opened.
October 18 1958
Denis Law became the youngest footballer to play for Scotland when he took part in the match against Cardiff when he was 18 years and 7 months old.
October 19 1687
First sedan chairs available for public hire introduced to Edinburgh.
October 20 1971
Explosion at Clarkston> Toll shopping centre, killing 12.
October 21 1956
Last tram car ran in Dundee.
October 21 1983
The Queen officially opened the Burrell Collection in Glasgow's Pollok Country Park. The museum's collection had been donated to the city nearly 40 years earlier by the shipping magnate Sir William Burrell.
October 22 1861
Foundation stones of main Post Office and National Museum of Scotland> laid by Prince Albert> in his last public engagement before his death.
October 22 1877
A firedamp explosion at Blantyre Colliery killed 207 miners.
October 23 1295
Treaty between King John Balliol of Scotland and King Philippe IV of France which promised mutual help against the English - the start of the "Auld Alliance".
October 23 1707
First meeting of the Parliament of Great Britain.
October 23 1773
Birth of Francis Jeffrey, first editor of the "Edinburgh Review".
October 23 1921
Death of John Boyd Dunlop> who re-invented the pneumatic tyre from the design of Robert W Thomson.
October 23 1940
Poet and dramatist Tom McGrath born in Rutherglen.
October 24 1796
Artist David Roberts born in Edinburgh.
October 25 1951
Conservatives won the General Election with a majority of 26, beginning 13 years of government.
October 25 1960
Elvis Presley touched down at Prestwick airport, his only visit to Scotland.
October 26 1760
George III crowned, beginning a 60 year reign, one of the longest in British history.
October 26 1845
Lady Caroline Nairne>, songwriter and poet, died at Gask.
October 26 1911
Poet Sorley MacLean born on the island of Raasay.
October 27 1728
James Cook, circum-navigator of the globe, born to Scottish parents in Yorkshire.
October 27 1854
William Smith, founder of the Boys' Brigade>, born.
October 28 1562
Battle of Corrichie, Earl of Moray defeated Catholic Gordons of Huntly who were attacking Aberdeen.
October 28 1794
Birth of Robert Liston in Linlithgow who was to carry out the first operation in Britain with the aid of an anaesthetic.
October 28 1880
Dr Henry Faulds, a Scots medical missionary working in Japan, published a letter in "Nature" which gave the first evidence that fingerprints could be used as proof of guilt or innocence in legal cases.
October 28 1922
Journalist and novelist Cliff Hanley ("Dancing in the Streets" etc) born in Glasgow.
October 28 1965
House of Commons passed the Bill abolishing the death penalty for murder.
October 29 1740
James Boswell>, biographer of Dr Johnston, born at Blair's Land, Parliament Square, Edinburgh.
October 30 1822
Caledonian Canal opened.
October 30 1925
First moving image on a television screen when John Logie Baird transmitted the image of a 15-year-old office boy in his London workshop.
October 31 1888
Pneumatic bicycle tyres were patented by inventor John Boyd Dunlop from Ayrshire.
October 31 1903
Hampden Park stadium opened in Glasgow as the home of Queen's Park Football Club.
Return to Timeline Index
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>