19 January-Dennis Taylor

Dennis Taylor is a world champion snooker player who is a native of Northern Ireland. During the 1980’s he became one of the best known snooker players in the game. When playing Taylor wore glasses which had large frames and were ‘upside-down’ in appearance.

Dennis Taylor was born in Caolisland, Co Tyrone in 1949. Interested in snooker from a young age he became local champion at the age of 14. Taylor later moved to England where he turned professional in 1972. In 1984 he reached the semi-final of the World Championships. He became world champion in 1985 when he beat Steve Davis, the world number one, on the black ball. The game attracted a reported 18 million viewers.

Dennis Taylor, who was the winner of the 1985 Snooker World Championship, was born in the year 1949 On This Day.

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John Dempsey’s flickr account

Memories of 1985





18 January-Oliver Hardy

Oliver Hardy was a comic actor who was a native of America. He is best known as a member of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy. Stan Laurel was a comic actor, writer and film director who was a native of England. The comedy duo became well known for their slapstick comedy films during the first half of the 20th century.

Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia in 1892. He was a gifted singer who appeared in minstrel shows form a young age. At the age of 18 he was managing a movie theatre and began his career as a comedy actor at the age of 21. In 1914 he made his first movie ‘Outwitting Dad’. Hardy appeared in several movies before moving to Los Angeles in 1917.

In 1921 Oliver Hardy made his first film with Stan Laurel. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team in 1927. The duo went on to appear in 107 films, including The Music Box, Way Out West, Men O’ War, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Block-Heads and Busy Bodies. Oliver Hardy was inducted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. In his hometown of Harlem there is a Laurel and Hardy Museum.

Oliver Hardy, best known as a member of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy, was born in the year 1892 On This Day.

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Oliver Hardy

Laurel & Hardy




17 January-Volkswagen

Ferdinand Porsche who was the founder of the Porsche car company was a native of Austria. He is best known for creating the Volkswagen Beetle and the Porsche sports car. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Ferdinand Porsche was born in Maffersdorf, which was then in the Austrian Empire, on September 3rd 1875. Today it is called Vratislavice nad Nisou and is located in the Czech Republic. Porsche was interested in technology, particularly electricity, from a young age. He developed the first electric car, the C2 Phaeton, in 1898.

Porsche worked for several companies before establishing the Porsche motor company in 1931. In 1934 he was given a contract by Adolf Hitler to develop the ‘people’s car’ (Volkswagen). During World War II he was involved in the production of tanks and weapon systems for the Third Reich. In 1950 Porsche introduced the Porsche sports car. He died on January 30th 1951.

Ferdinand Porsche, automotive engineer, submitted a design for a people’s car, a ‘Volkswagen’ to the new German Reich government in the year 1934 On This Day.







17 January-President Douglas Hyde

Douglas Hyde was a native of Roscommon, Ireland. He served as first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945. An academic, Irish language activist and politician he played a leading role in the Gaelic revival. Dr Hyde co-founded the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge). The Gaelic League was founded to promote the Irish language and to encourage the preservation of Irish culture, music and dance.

Douglas Ross Hyde was born in Castlerea, Co Roscommon in 1860. His family moved to Frenchpark when he was seven years old. Hyde was educated at home and learned to speak the Irish language through his association with local people. He entered Trinity College Dublin in 1880. In 1884 he graduated with a BA degree in languages. He became fluent in several languages including French and German.

In 1909 Dr Hyde was appointed the first Professor of Modern Irish in University College Dublin. He held the position until his retirement in 1932. Hyde served on two occasions in the Irish Senate. In June 1937 he was he was unanimously appointed President of Ireland. He remained in that office until 1945. Dr Hyde died in Dublin on July 12th 1949 at the age of 89.

Douglas Hyde, who served as first President of Ireland from 1938 to 1945, was born in Castlerea, Co Roscommon in the year 1860 On This Day.

First President-Douglas Hyde




16 January-Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire is a film which tells the story of two athletes, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. They competed in the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924. They both won Gold Medals at the games. Chariots of Fire was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1982 and won four.

Eric Liddell was born in Tientsin, China in 1902. His parents were Scottish who were working as missionaries in China. Liddell was an outstanding athlete who was educated at the University of Edinburgh. He competed successfully in sprint races and played on the wing for the Scotland national rugby union team in the 1922 and 1923 Five Nations Championships.

Harold Abrahams was born in Bedford England in 1899. He was educated at Cambridge where he was a member of Cambridge University Athletics Club. He was chosen to represent Great Britain in the Olympic Games in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. He competed in the 100m and 200m events and was a member of British relay team.

In the 1924 Olympic Games Liddell was listed to compete in the 100m. A heat for the race was to be held on Sunday. Because of his Christian convictions Liddell would not compete on the Sabbath. Abrahams, who had previously been beaten in the 100m by Liddell, competed and won gold. Liddell later competed in the 400m race and won gold. In 1925 Liddell returned to China to work as a missionary. He died there in 1945.

Eric Liddell, Olympic Gold Medal winner, rugby player, and missionary whose story was told in the film Chariots of Fire was born in the year 1902 On This Day.

Chariots of Fire

Eric H Liddell