Happy Anniversary: Hallelujah, we have no bananas

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SOME of the more curious anniversaries in the forthcoming week.

21 March

1923: French scientists claim that smoking is beneficial through the effect of nicotine forming anti-bacterial chemicals.

1963: Alcatraz Prison, in San Francisco Bay, closes.

1978: Krystyna Choynowska- Liskievicz becomes the first woman to sail round the world single- handed.

1989: Australia's Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, cries on television while confessing adultery, renouncing womanising, and thanking his wife for her understanding.

22 March

The earliest possible date for Easter.

1774: Publication of 'Baa, baa, black sheep' in Tommy Thumb's Song Book by Mary Cooper.

1903: Drought causes the US side of the Niagara Falls to run dry.

1906: England beat France 35-8 in the first rugby international.

1907: The taximeter appears in London cabs.

23 March

1743: First performance of Handel's Messiah.

1798: Coleridge completes the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

1861: London's first trams go into service. They are designed by a New Yorker named Mr Train.

1891: Goal nets, designed by J A Brodie of Liverpool, are first used in an FA Cup Final.

1923: The song 'Yes, We Have No Bananas' is published, and prompty faces a suit from the American publishers of Handel's Messiah for allegedly taking the theme from the Hallelujah chorus.

1925: Tennessee bans teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution.

24 March

1877: The Boat Race ends in its only dead heat.

1911: Denmark abolishes corporal punishment.

1958: Elvis Presley enlists.

25 March

1807: The British Parliament abolishes the slave trade.

1811: Shelley is sent down from Oxford.

1927: The Grand National is first broadcast by wireless.

26 March

1885: Britain's first official cremation takes place in Woking.

1923: The BBC inaugurates its daily weather forecast.

1958: The first parking tickets are issued in Britain.

1973: Susan Shaw becomes the first woman broker on the floor of the London Stock Exchange.

27 March

1567: A sow 'with a black snout' is sentenced to be hanged by the Court of Judicatory of Senlis, France, for murdering a baby.

1948: The weekly cheese ration in Britain is cut from 2oz to 11 2 oz.

1961: Leicester streets see Britain's first female traffic wardens.