Friday 10 January 1997
Births: Niels Stensen, anatomist, 163; Michel Ney, marshal of France, 1769; Dr George Birkbeck, educationist, 1776; John Emerich Acton, first Baron Acton, historian, 1834; Karl Machtig, composer and conductor, 1854; Manuel Azana, president of the Spanish Republic, 1880; Grock (Adrien Wettach), clown, 1880; Alexei Nikolayevich Tolstoy, novelist and playwright, 1883; Dame Barbara Hepworth, sculptor, 1903; Johnnie Ray (John Alvin Ray), singer, 1927. Deaths: Pope Gregory X, 1276; William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, beheaded 1645; Carolus Linnaeus, botanist, 1778; Johann Georg Adam Forster, explorer and scientist, 1794; Samuel Colt, gunsmith, 1862; William Frederick Cody ("Buffalo Bill"), 1917; Sir John Lavery, painter, 1941; Gabriela Mistral, poet, 1945; Samuel Dashiell Hammett, writer, 1961; Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, 1971; Nubar Sarkis Gulbenkian, millionaire, 1972; Chester Burnett ("Howling Wolf"), blues singer, 1976. On this day: the Royal Exchange, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, burned down, 1838; the penny post was begun (although the first stamps were not available until 6 May), and 112,000 letters were posted in London, 1840; the London Underground (Metropolitan Railway) system was started, 1863; the tomb of Cleopatra was discovered, 1890; oil was discovered at the Spindletop Field, Texas, 1901; the League of Nations was inaugurated, 1920; after the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by Germany and the Allies, the First World War officially ended, 1920; the film Metropolis, by Fritz Lang, was first shown, Berlin, 1926; the cartoon character "Tintin" appeared for the first time, 1929; the British government forbade citizens to enlist in armies of either side in the Spanish Civil War, 1937; the first assembly of the United Nations was held in London, 1946; the New London Theatre, Drury Lane, opened, 1973; in Zaire, the Niragong volcano erupted, causing over 2,000 deaths, 1977; in Nicaragua, the leader of the opposition, and director of the newspaper La Prensa, P.J. Chamarro, was assassinated, 1978. Today is the Feast Day of St Agatho, pope, St Dermot or Diarmaid, St John the Good, St Marcian of Constantinople, St Peter Orseolo and St William of Bourges.
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