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Births: Niels Stensen, anatomist, 163; Michel Ney, marshal of France, 1769; Dr George Birkbeck, educationist, 1776; Richard von Perger, composer and conductor, 1854; Manuel Azana, president of the Spanish Republic, 1880; Grock (Adrien Wettach), international clown, 1880; Alexei Nikolayevich Tolstoy, novelist and playwright, 1883; Francis Xavier Bushman, actor, 1883; Dame Barbara Hepworth, sculptor, 1903.

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; Samuel Dashiell Hammett, crime writer, 1961; Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, 1971.

On this day: Britain declared war on the King of Kandy, Ceylon, 1815; the penny post was begun (although the first stamps were not available until 6 May), when 112,000 letters were posted in London, 1840; the London Underground (Metropolitan Railway) system was started, 1863; the tomb of Cleopatra was discovered, 1890; the League of Nations was inaugurated, 1920; after the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles by Germany and the Allies, First World War officially ended, 1920; 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 European Coal and Steel Community met for the first time, 1953; in Nicaragua, the leader of the opposition, and director of the newspaper La Prensa, PJ Chamorro, 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.


Lord Mayor of London

The Lord Mayor of London, Mr Paul Newall, and the Lady Mayoress, entertained children connected with City institutions at a Fancy Dress Party on Saturday evening at Mansion House, London EC4.

Sir Maurice and Lady


A Service of Thanksgiving for the lives of Sir Maurice and Lady Dorman will be held on Thursday 20 January at 3.30pm in St Paul's Cathedral. Tickets are not required. Everyone is welcome.