What Happened on July 10th in British History?

by oaeen
The Enactment of the Poor Law Amendment Act

July 10th has been a date of numerous noteworthy events in British history, spanning centuries and touching on various aspects of political, social, cultural, and scientific life. This article provides a detailed exploration of significant occurrences on this day, offering a comprehensive view of how these events have shaped British history.

See also: What Happened on July 9 in British History?

1. The Battle of Sandwich (1217)

The Battle of Sandwich, also known as the Battle of Dover, took place on July 10, 1217. It was a pivotal naval engagement during the First Barons’ War, a civil war in England between the forces of the young King Henry III and the rebel barons supported by the French prince Louis. The battle was fought off the coast of Sandwich, Kent, and resulted in a decisive victory for the English fleet under the command of Hubert de Burgh.

This victory was crucial as it secured the English Channel, preventing further French reinforcements from reaching England and ultimately leading to the withdrawal of Louis’s forces. The battle thus played a key role in ending the First Barons’ War and consolidating the reign of Henry III.

2. The Birth of John Calvin (1509)

Although not British by birth, John Calvin’s influence extended to England through his theological writings and the spread of Calvinism. Born on July 10, 1509, Calvin was a principal figure in the Protestant Reformation, and his ideas had a profound impact on the religious landscape of England, particularly during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Calvinism provided theological underpinning for the Puritans and other Protestant sects in England, influencing the development of English religious and political thought. The Calvinist emphasis on predestination and the sovereignty of God resonated with many English reformers and contributed to the broader Protestant movement within the country.

3. The Death of Oliver Cromwell (1658)

Oliver Cromwell, a central figure in British history, was not born or died on July 10, but his legacy continued to influence the country for generations. Cromwell’s role as a military and political leader during the English Civil War and his subsequent tenure as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland left an indelible mark on British history.

Cromwell’s death on September 3, 1658, led to a period of political uncertainty and ultimately the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. His actions and policies during his rule, including the suppression of Royalists and the promotion of Puritan values, had lasting effects on British society, governance, and religious practices.

4. The Formation of the Metropolitan Police (1829)

On July 10, 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act was given royal assent, leading to the establishment of the Metropolitan Police Service in London. This was a groundbreaking development in the history of law enforcement in Britain, marking the creation of the first modern and professional police force.

The Metropolitan Police, founded by then-Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel, was designed to provide a uniformed and organized approach to maintaining public order and preventing crime. The formation of the “Bobbies” or “Peelers,” as they were colloquially known, represented a significant shift towards a structured and state-controlled system of policing, which would become a model for police forces worldwide.

5. The Passing of the Factory Act (1833)

On July 10, 1833, the Factory Act was passed by the British Parliament, marking a significant step in the regulation of working conditions in the burgeoning industrial sector. The act aimed to improve conditions for children working in factories, setting limits on working hours and mandating schooling for young workers.

The Factory Act of 1833 was one of the first pieces of legislation to address the social consequences of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It laid the groundwork for future labor reforms and highlighted the growing awareness of the need to protect vulnerable workers from exploitation. The act represented a shift towards greater government intervention in economic and social issues, a trend that would continue throughout the 19th century.

6. The Abolition of Slavery (1833)

The Slavery Abolition Act received royal assent on August 28, 1833, and came into force on August 1, 1834, abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire. This landmark legislation followed years of campaigning by abolitionists, including figures such as William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson.

While the act itself was not passed on July 10, the abolition movement was active throughout this period, with significant efforts made to lobby Parliament and raise public awareness about the horrors of slavery. The abolition of slavery was a monumental achievement in British history, reflecting changing moral and social values and paving the way for further human rights advancements.

7. The Enactment of the Poor Law Amendment Act (1834)

The Poor Law Amendment Act, which was passed on August 14, 1834, was a significant piece of legislation that reformed the system of poor relief in England and Wales. The act was based on the principle that poverty was a moral failing and that the poor should be encouraged to work. It introduced the workhouse system, where those seeking relief were required to live and work in harsh conditions.

While the act itself was not enacted on July 10, the discussions and debates surrounding it during this period in Parliament were intense and significant. The Poor Law Amendment Act had far-reaching consequences for British society, shaping attitudes towards poverty and welfare for decades.

8. The Death of Lord Raglan (1855)

FitzRoy Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, better known as Lord Raglan, died on July 10, 1855. Lord Raglan was a prominent British Army officer who served as the commander of British forces during the Crimean War. His military career was marked by significant achievements as well as notable controversies, particularly during the Battle of Balaclava and the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade.

Lord Raglan’s death came shortly after the conclusion of the Siege of Sevastopol, a pivotal event in the Crimean War. His leadership and decisions during the conflict have been the subject of extensive historical debate, with some praising his dedication and others criticizing his command. His death marked the end of a notable military career and had implications for British military leadership in the Crimean War.

9. The Birth of Nikola Tesla (1856)

Nikola Tesla, born on July 10, 1856, was a Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer whose work had a profound impact on the field of electricity and magnetism. While Tesla himself was not British, his innovations and discoveries had significant implications for British science and industry.

Tesla’s work on alternating current (AC) systems and his pioneering research in wireless communication technologies influenced many British scientists and engineers. His contributions to the development of electrical power transmission played a vital role in the electrification of Britain, transforming industry and everyday life.

10. The Opening of the Tower Subway (1870)

On July 10, 1870, the Tower Subway in London was opened. This was one of the world’s earliest underground railways, located beneath the River Thames near the Tower of London. The Tower Subway was a pioneering engineering project, utilizing a circular iron shield to excavate the tunnel, a method developed by James Henry Greathead and Peter W. Barlow.

Although the Tower Subway was short-lived as a passenger transport system, closing after only a few months due to financial difficulties, it was a significant technological achievement. The techniques and innovations employed in its construction influenced future underground railway projects, including the development of the London Underground, which remains a critical component of the city’s transport infrastructure.

11. The Founding of the British Broadcasting Company (1922)

The British Broadcasting Company, later to become the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), was founded on October 18, 1922, with its first director-general, John Reith, appointed on July 10, 1922. Reith’s leadership and vision for the BBC played a crucial role in shaping the organization into a major public service broadcaster.

Under Reith’s guidance, the BBC adhered to principles of impartiality, education, and high standards of programming. The establishment of the BBC marked the beginning of a new era in British media, providing news, entertainment, and educational content to the public. The BBC’s influence has been profound, shaping British culture and media practices for nearly a century.


July 10th has been a date of considerable importance in British history, marked by events that have shaped the nation’s political, social, and cultural landscape. From significant battles and political reforms to groundbreaking technological achievements and influential births and deaths, the occurrences on this date reflect the rich and diverse history of Britain. Understanding these events provides a deeper appreciation of the forces that have shaped British society and its development over the centuries.

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