Births: Charles Lamb, essayist and poet, 1775; Samuel Plimsoll, social reformer, 1824; Boris Leonidovich Pasternak, novelist, 1890; Maurice Harold Macmillan, first Earl of Stockton, statesman and publisher, 1894; Bertolt Brecht (Eugen Berthold Friedrich), playwright and poet, 1898; Joyce Irene Grenfell, actress, writer and entertainer, 1910.

Deaths: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, consort of Mary, Queen of Scots, murdered 1567; Pope Leo XII, 1829; Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, author, 1837; Samuel Prout, water-colour painter, 1852; Edgar Richard Horatio Wallace, thriller writer, 1932.

On this day: Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 1840; 'Pay As You Earn' income tax was introduced, 1944; peace treaties were signed in Paris - with the Soviet Union, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, France, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland as signatories, 1947.

Today is the Feast Day of St Austreberta, St Scholastica, St Soteris, St Trumwin and St William of Maleval. Today also begins the Chinese Year of the Dog.