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The opening of the Great Exhibition

1 May 1851

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Mary, Queen of Scots’ great escape

On the 2 May 1568 Mary, Queen of Scots escaped Lochleven castle, where she had been kept prisoner for almost eleven months, in a highly daring escapade.

She told her uncle in France that during her escape she ‘endured injuries, calumnies, imprisonment, famine, cold, heat, flight not knowing wither, ninety two miles across the country without stopping or alighting, and then I have had to sleep upon the ground and drink sour milk, and eat oatmeal without bread, and have been three nights like the owls.’

Her first attempt to escape captivity, whilst disguised as a washerwoman, was thwarted when a boatman spotted her white hands beneath rags. However her second attempt was rather more successful…

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Quote of the day

“The History of the World, I venture to say, records no event comparable in its promotion of human industry, with that of the Great Exhibition.”

Henry Cole, on the Great Exhibition of 1851

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