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Births: William Wilkie Collins, novelist, 1824; Frank Nelson Doubleday, publisher and editor, 1862; Viscount Craigavon (James Craig), statesman, 1871; Dennis Yates Wheatley, novelist, 1897; Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, 1899; Elvis Presley, rock singer, 1935.

Deaths: Pope Celestine III, 1198; Ambroglio Giotto di Bondone, painter, 1337; Galileo Galilei, astronomer, 1642; 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; Richard Tauber (Ernst Seiffert (Denemy)), tenor, 1948; Chou En-lai, Chinese leader, 1976; Georgi Maksimilianovich Malenkov, former Soviet leader, 1988.

On this day: Alexander I acceded to the Scottish throne, 1106; the French explorer La Salle reached Niagara Falls, 1679; soup kitchens for the poor were opened in London, 1800; 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; General Charles de Gaulle was proclaimed President of the French Fifth Republic, 1959; in New York, seven floors of the Empire State Building caught fire, 1963; in Uruguay, the British ambassador, Geoffrey Jackson, was kidnapped by guerillas, 1971.

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.


Births: Pope Gregory XV, 1554; Simon Vouet, painter, 1590; Gilbert Abbott A. Beckett, comic writer and playwright, 1811; William Powell Frith, painter, 1819; Carrie Chapman Catt (Lane), suffragette, 1859; Lascelles Abercrombie, poet and critic, 1881; Wolfgang Kohler, psychologist, 1887; Dame Gracie Fields (Grace Stansfield), singer and actress, 1898; George Balanchine, choreographer, 1904; Simone- Lucie-Ernestine-Marie de Beauvoir, novelist and critic, 1908; Gypsy Rose Lee (Rose Louise Hovick), actress and strip-tease artist, 1914.

Deaths: Caroline Lucretia Herschel, astronomer, 1848; Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon), French emperor, in exile, 1873; Katherine Mansfield (Beauchamp) (Kathleen Middleton Murry), author, 1923; Karl Mannheim, sociologist, 1947; Sir Robert Mayer, musical philanthropist, 1985.

On this day: Jean-Pierre Blanchard, aeronaut, made the first balloon ascent in America, near Woodbury, New Jersey, 1793; in Britain, Income Tax was introduced by Pitt the Younger, the rate being two shillings in the pound, 1799; Sir Humphry Davy's safety lamp was first used in a coal mine, 1816; the last of Admiral Koltchak's White Russian troops surrendered to the Bolsheviks, 1920; Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister, 1957; the first trial flight of Concorde took place, Bristol, 1969; in Britain, 280,000 coal-miners took part in a strike, 1972; Swan and Edgar, the Piccadilly department store, closed permanently, 1982.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Berhtwald of Canterbury, Saints Julian and Basilissa, St Marciana of Rusuccur, St Peter of Sebastea and St Waningus or Vaneng.