Births: Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, 1334; Jacques-Louis David, painter, 1748; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, novelist and creator of Frankenstein's monster, 1797; Adolf Friedrich Hesse, composer, 1809; Joseph Mallaby Dent, publisher, 1849; Raymond Massey, actor, 1896; Joan Blondell, actress, 1909.

Deaths: Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, committed suicide 30 BC; Gilbert Abbott a Beckett, comic writer and playwright, 1856; Dr James Collis Browne, inventor of 'Chlorodyne', 1884; Georges-Eugene Sorel, socialist thinker, 1922; Henri Barbusse, novelist and editor, 1935; Sir Joseph John Thomson, physicist, 1940.

On this day: Frederick II of Prussia was defeated by the French at Johannesberg, 1762; the Battle of Chesapeake Capes (War of American Independence) began, 1781; the first British tram service began, Birkenhead, 1860; the vacuum cleaner was patented by Hubert Cecil Booth, 1901; Alberta became a province of Canada, 1905; Paul von Hindenburg became chief of the general staff of Germany, 1916; the siege of Leningrad began, 1941; Soviet troops entered Bucharest, Romania, 1944.

Today is the Feast Day of St Fantinus, Saints Felix and Adauctus, St Margaret Ward, St Pammachius and St Ruan or Rumon.