Births: John Howard, prison reformer, 1726; Peter Nikolaus Petersen, flautist and composer, 1761; Henry George, economist, 1839; Giovanni Verga, novelist and playwright, 1840; Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald, chemist, 1853; Frederick Soddy, chemist and physicist, 1877; Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, diplomat and writer, 1887; Joseph Roth, writer, 1894; Lord George-Brown, statesman, 1914.

Deaths: Taddeo Zuccaro (Zucchero), painter, 1566; Giuseppe de Ribera ("Lo Spagnoletto"), painter, 1652; General Jean- Victor Marie Moreau, soldier, 1813; Thomas Telford, civil engineer, 1834; Johann Franz Encke, astronomer, 1865; Sir William Rowan Hamilton, astronomer, 1865; Henri Rousseau, primitive painter, 1910; Henry Hertzberg Lawson, writer, 1922; Russ Columbo (Ruggiero Eugenio de Rudolpho), singer and composer, 1934; Baron Pierre de Coubertin, advocate of the modern Olympic Games, 1937; Philip Tennyson Cole, portrait painter, 1939; Tancred Borenius, art historian, 1948; Sir William Alexander Craigie, lexicogapher, 1957; John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, philologist and novelist, 1973; Sir Felix Aylmer (Felix Edward Aylmer-Jones), actor, 1979.

On this day: Augustus Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium, 31 BC; the Great Fire of London began, 1666; the bombardment by the British of Copenhagen began, 1807; the Battle of Omdurman was won against the Mahdists by an army led by Lord Kitchener, 1898; British men between the ages of 19 and 41 were conscripted under the National Service Bill, 1939; Japan surrendered to the Allies, aboard the USS Missouri, 1945; the first television station in China was opened in Peking, 1958.

Today is the Feast Day of St Agricolus, St Antoninus of Pamiers, St Brocard, St Castor of Apt, St William of Roskilde and the Martyrs of September 1792.