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The Independent Culture

Births: Sir Henry Raeburn, portrait painter, 1756; Thomas Sturge Moore, poet and wood-engraver, 1870.

Deaths: Sir Thomas Malory, writer of Morte d'Arthur, 1470; Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol, playwright and novelist, 1852; Antonin Artaud, actor, playwright and stage director, 1948; Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, neurologist, 1952; William Carlos Williams, physician and poet, 1963; Richard Thomas Church, poet and novelist, 1972.

On this day: Pennsylvania was granted by charter to William Penn, 1681; the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded, 1824; the Forth Bridge was officially opened, 1890; the Comintern (Communist International) was formed, 1919; British commandos raided the (German-occupied) Lofoten Islands off Norway, 1941; German radio declared that Dresden had been "wiped off the map of Europe" by Allied bombing, 1945; North Sea gas was first piped ashore near Durham, 1967; Edward Heath resigned and Harold Wilson became prime minister, forming a Labour government, 1974.

Today is the Feast Day of St Adrian and his Companions, St Casimir of Poland and St Peter of Cava.