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The Independent Culture

TODAY: Births: John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent, admiral, 1735; Lascelles Abercrombie, poet and critic, 1881; Dame Gracie Fields (Grace Stansfield), singer and actress, 1898; George Balanchine, choreographer, 1904; Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th US president, 1913. Deaths: Caroline Lucretia Herschel, astronomer, 1848; Katherine Mansfield (Beauchamp) (Kathleen Middleton Murry), writer, 1923; Karl Mannheim, sociologist, 1947; Waldo David Frank, novelist, 1967. On this day: in Britain, Income Tax was introduced by Pitt the Younger, the rate being two shillings in the pound, 1799; Sir Humphry Davy's safety lamp was first used in a coal mine, 1816; the first trial flight of Concorde took place, Bristol, 1969. Today is the Feast Day of St Berhtwald of Canterbury, Saints Julian and Basilissa, St Marciana of Rusuccur, St Peter of Sebastea and St Waningus or Vaneng.

TOMORROW: Births: Dr George Birkbeck, educationist, 1776; Alexei Nikolayevich Tolstoy, novelist and playwright, 1883; Dame Barbara Hepworth, sculptor, 1903. Deaths: Carolus Linnaeus, botanist, 1778; Samuel Colt, gunsmith, 1862; Samuel Dashiell Hammett, detective story writer, 1961; Elspeth Josceline Huxley (Grant), writer, 1997. On this day: the penny post was begun (although the first stamps were not available until 6 May), 1840; the London Underground (Metropolitan Railway) system was started, 1863; the tomb of Cleopatra was discovered, 1890. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Agatho, pope, St Dermot or Diarmaid, St John the Good, St Marcian of Constantinople, St Peter Orseolo and St William of Bourges.