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Births: Jeanne-Antoinette, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, 1721; Charles Macintosh, chemist and inventor of waterproof clothing, 1766; Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanised rubber, 1800; William Ewart Gladstone, statesman, 1809; Pa blo Casals, cellist, 1876; Vera Mary Brittain, author, pacifist and feminist, 1893.

Deaths: St Thomas a Becket, murdered 1170; Viscount William Stafford, victim of the "Popish Plot", executed 1680; Jacques-Louis David, painter, 1825; James Andrew, Marquis of Dalhousie, governor-general of India, 1860; Christina Georgina Rossetti, poet, 1894; Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, 1926; Donald Robert Perry Marquis, journalist and humorist, 1937; Harold Macmillan, Earl of Stockton, statesman, 1986.

On this day: the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, opened, 1720; Sarah Siddons, as Portia, made her first appearance on the London stage, 1775; an insurrection of troops in Moscow was put down after the death of the Tsar, Alexander I, 1825; Britain's first iron-clad warship, HMS Warrior, was launched, 1860; Radio Luxembourg started operating, 1930; Life magazine ceased publication, 1972; an Italian bulk-carrier, the Marine di Equa, sank in heavy seas off Land's End, with the loss of 30 lives, 1981.

Today is the Feast Day of St Ebrulf or Evroult, St Marcellus Akimetes, St Thomas of Canterbury and St Trophimus of Arles.