Popular day for deaths of writers and artists: Christopher Marlowe (1593), Rubens (1640), Alexander Pope (1744), Voltaire (1788) and Boris Pasternak (1960).
1431: Joan of Arc burnt at the stake.
1908: Birth of Mel Blanc, the voice of Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and countless other cartoon characters.
1911: Sir W S Gilbert drowns while giving swimming lessons to two schoolgirls in a pool near Harrow.
1669: Bad eyesight makes Samuel Pepys end his diary.
1825: British inventor William James patents the first scuba-diving device.
1911: Launch of the Titanic.
1935: Driving tests and compulsory L-plates introduced in Britain.
1938: First appearance of Superman in DC comics.
1942: TV licences first issued at pounds 2 each.
1780: A new horse race at Epsom is named after Edward Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby.
1937: Edward VIII marries Wallis Simpson.
1946: The first bikini, designed by Louis Reard, is seen at a Paris fashion show.
1956: British Railways abolish third-class travel.
1798: Death of Giovanni Casanova.
1937: The first supermarket trolleys appear in Oklahoma.
1963: John Profumo resigns after admitting misleading the Commons about his relationship with Christine Keeler.
1975: Britain votes to enter the Common Market.Reuse content