Every weekend Spectator Life brings you doses of topical trivia – facts, figures and anecdotes inspired by the current week’s dates in history …
Earl Grey (born 1764). The Prime Minister gave his name to the tea. It was specially blended for him by a Chinese mandarin to suit the water in Northumberland, where the Grey family seat Howick Hall is located. The tea contains bergamot, to take account of the water’s high lime content.
International Pi Day. The date was chosen because in American format (3/14) it matches pi’s first three digits. To remember the first seven digits (3.141592), count the letters in each word of ‘how I wish I could calculate pi’.
In 1906 Rolls-Royce Limited was incorporated. In 1957 the legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy created the firm’s most successful ad of all time: ‘At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.’ When someone at the firm read this, they replied: ‘We must do something about that damn clock.’
Thomas E. Dewey (died 1971). The Republican politician was such a strong favourite in the 1948 US Presidential election that the Chicago Daily Tribune printed its first edition with the front page headline ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’. But in one of the biggest upsets in US political history, the incumbent Harry S. Truman managed to hang on. The next day he was photographed holding up a copy of the newspaper, telling reporters: ‘That ain’t the way I heard it.’
Stormy Daniels (born 1979). The adult movie star entered the world as Stephanie Gregory. She chose her new surname in tribute to Jack Daniel’s, because like the whiskey she (a Louisiana girl) was ‘a Southern favorite’.
In 1959 the act admitting Hawaii as a US state was signed. It was the 50th state, hence the title of the TV series ‘Hawaii Five-O’.
Ashley Giles (born 1973). During the 2005 Ashes series, the cricketer was serenaded by England fans’ renditions of ‘Y Viva Espana’. This was because of the coffee mugs manufactured for his testimonial year in 2000. They were supposed to say ‘King of Spin’, but due to a printer’s error they read ‘King of Spain’.