Wednesday 08 January 1997
Births: Alfred Russel Wallace, naturalist, 1823; William Wilkie Collins, novelist, 1824; Frank Nelson Doubleday, publisher and editor, 1862; John Joseph Curtin, Australian prime minister, 1885; Dennis Yates Wheatley, novelist, 1897; Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan prime minister, 1899; Elvis Presley, rock singer, 1935. Deaths: Galileo Galilei, astronomer, 1642; Sir John Dalrymple, first Earl of Stair, politician and lawyer, 1707; John Baskerville, printer and typographer, 1775; Eli Whitney, inventor and perfector of the cotton gin, 1825; Paul Verlaine, poet, 1895; Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, first Baron Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, 1941; Chou En-lai, Chinese leader, 1976; Richard Tauber, tenor, 1948; Georgi Maksimilianovich Malenkov, former Soviet leader, 1988. On this day: Alexander I acceded to the Scottish throne, 1106; soup kitchens for the poor were opened in London, 1800; Britain occupied the Cape of Good Hope, 1806; the Americans defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans, 1815; the Severn Railway Tunnel was opened, 1886; Chequers Court was occupied by its first prime minister tenant, David Lloyd-George, 1921; Ibn Saud was proclaimed King of the Hejaz, a name which he changed to Saudi Arabia, 1926; sugar, bacon and butter were rationed in Britain, 1940; in New York, seven floors of the Empire State Building caught fire, 1963. Today is the Feast Day of St Adrian of Canterbury, St Apollinaris the Apologist, St Erhard, St Gudula, St Lucian of Beauvais, St Pega, St Severinus of Noricum Repense, St Severinus of Septempeda, St Thorfinn and St Wulain.
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