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Births: Emanuel Swedenborg, scientist and philosopher, 1688; Daniel Bernoulli, mathematician, 1700; Thomas Paine, writer and reformer, 1737; William McKinley, 25th US President, 1843; Sir Ebenezer Howard, garden cities originator, 1850; Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, author and playwright, 1860; Frederick Delius, composer, 1862; Sir William Rothenstein, artist, 1872; The Duke of Abruzzi (Luigi Amadeo), explorer, 1873; WC Fields (William Claude Dukinfield), comedian, 1880.

Deaths: Pope Gelasius II, 1119; King George III, 1820; Edward Lear, writer and landscape painter, 1888; Sir William Withey Gull, physician, 1890; Alfred Sisley, landscape painter, 1899; Evelyn Baring, first Earl of Cromer, diplomat, 1917; Elihu Vedder, painter, 1923; Douglas, first Earl Haig, field marshal, 1928; Ioannis Metaxas, Greek statesman and general, 1941; Bion Joseph Arnold, electrical engineer and industrialist, 1942; Henry Louis Mencken, writer, 1956; Angela Margaret Thirkell, novelist, 1961; Robert Lee Frost, poet, 1963; Alan Ladd, actor, 1964; Jimmy (James Francis) Durante, comedian, 1980.

On this day: the Reform Parliament opened, 1833; Greenwich Mean Time was adopted in Scotland, 1848; the Victoria Cross was founded, 1856; the first bombing of Paris by Zeppelins took place, 1916; Desert Island Discs was first broadcast, 1942.

Today is the Feast Day of St Gildas the Wise, St Sabinian of Troyes and St Sulpicius 'Severus'.


Births: Charles Rollin, historian, 1661; Johann Joachim Quantz, flautist and composer, 1697; Walter Savage Landor, author, 1775; Francis Herbert Bradley, philosopher, 1846; Sir Edward Seymour George Hicks, actor-manager and author, 1871; Angela Margaret Thirkell, novelist, 1891; Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd US President, 1882; Olof Sven Joachim Palme, prime minister of Sweden, 1927.

Deaths: Sir Everard Digby, Thomas Winter, John Grant and Thomas Bates, Gunpowder Plot conspirators, executed 1606; William Chillingworth, controversial theologian, 1644; King Charles I, executed 1649; Georges de La Tour, painter, 1652; John Robison, chemist, physicist and writer, 1805; Charles Bradlaugh, radical and reformer, 1891; Frank Nelson Doubleday, publisher and editor, 1934; Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Indian leader, assassinated 1948; Orville Wright, aviation pioneer, 1948; Francis-Jean-Marcel Poulenc, composer and pianist, 1963; King Mahendra of Nepal, 1972; Stanley Holloway, actor and vocalist, 1982; Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, 1993.

On this day: the Commonwealth of England was established, 1649; Mungo Park began his second African voyage, 1805; the Menai Suspension Bridge, built by Telford, was opened, 1826; all trade with Britain was forbidden by the Emperor of China, 1840; Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, 1933; the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill took place, 1965; Pakistan left the British Commonwealth, 1972.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Adelelmus or Aleaume, St Aldegundis, St Barsimaeus, St Bathildis, St Hyacintha Mariscotti and St Martina.