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Births: Andre de Lenotre, landscape architect, 1613; John Aubrey, antiquarian, 1626; George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, philosopher, 1685; Thomas Augustine Arne, composer ('Rule, Britannia'), 1710; John Frederic Daniell, chemist, 1790; Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, physicist, 1824; Sir August Friedrich Manns, conductor, 1825; Benjamin Williams Leader, painter, 1831; Capt Charles Cunningham Boycott, land agent (from whose name the word 'boycott' is taken), 1832; Felix-Alexandre Guilmant, organist and composer, 1837; Sir William Henry Perkin, chemist, 1838; Adolph Simon Ochs, newspaper proprietor, 1858; Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet and politician, 1863; William Halse Rivers Rivers, anthropologist, 1864; Kemal Ataturk (Mustapha Kemal), soldier and statesman, 1881; Philip Guedalla, historian, 1889; Vaslav Fomich Nijinsky, dancer, 1890; Kylie (Kathleen) Tennant, novelist, 1912; Gordon MacRae, actor and singer, 1921; Jack (Jean-Louis) Kerouac, novelist, 1922.

Deaths: Innocent I, pope, 417; St Gregory I, pope, 604; Ranulf Higden, author of the Polychronicon history, 1364; Cesare Borgia, cardinal, soldier and politician, killed 1507; John Bull, organist and composer, 1628; Frans van Mieris the Elder, painter, 1681; Alessandro Magnasco, painter, 1749; James Tibbitts Willmore, line engraver, 1863; Gaetano Milanesi, scholar and painter, 1895; George Westinghouse, inventor, 1914; Hilaire, Comte de Chardonnet, inventor of rayon, 1924; Sun Yat-sen, Chinese leader, 1925; Edward Wyllis Scripps, journalist, at sea 1926; William T. Dannat, artist, 1929; Ivar Kreuger, industralist and swindler, 1932; Charles-Marie Jean-Albert Widor, organist and composer, 1937; Sir William Bragg, scientist, 1942; Tolchard Evans, popular composer and conductor, 1978; Arnold Ridley, playwright and actor, 1984; Sir Harold Hobson, drama critic, 1992.

On this day: the Bermudas became an English colony, 1609; the United States Post Office was established, 1789; the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, (third theatre) opened, 1794; the Sikhs surrendered to the British at Rawalpindi, 1849; Verdi's opera Simon Boccanegra was first performed, Venice 1857; Britain annexed Basutoland, 1868; the Albery Theatre, London, opened as the New Theatre, 1903; the first main line electric train in Britain ran from Liverpool to Southport, 1904; the French battleship Iena exploded at Toulon, killing 118 men, 1907; the Girl Guides (later Scouts) movement was started in the United States by Juliette Gordon Low, 1912; the foundation stone of the Australian capital Canberra was laid, 1913; in Britain a 30mph speed limit was imposed for cars in built-up areas, 1935; the coronation took place of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, as Pope Pius XII, 1939; Finland signed a peace treaty which made territorial concessions to the Soviet Union 1940; Mauritius became independent, 1968.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alphege of Winchester, St Bernard of Capua, St Maximilian of Theveste, St Paul Aurelian or of Leon, Saints Peter, Gorgonius and Dorotheus, St Seraphina or Fina and St Theophanes the Chronicler.


Births: James Kent, organist and composer, 1700; Dr Joseph Priestley, scientist and clergyman, 1733; Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1741; Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, former prime minister, 1764; Daniel Lambert, who weighed over 52 stones (330 kg), 1770; Karl Friedrich Schinkel, architect and painter, 1781; Karl Ecker, composer, 1813; Thomas Henry Tizard, oceanographer, 1839; Percival Lowell, astronomer, 1855; Hugo Wolf, composer, 1860; Ramon Menendez Pidal, philologist and historian, 1869; Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole, novelist, 1884; Henry Hathaway, film director, 1898; George Seferis (Giorgos Stylianou Seferiades), poet and diplomat, 1900.

Deaths: John Barbour, poet, 1395; Richard Burbage, actor, 1619; Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux, poet and critic, 1711; Sophia Lee, novelist and playwright, 1824; John Frederic Daniell, chemist and inventor, 1845; Felice Orsini, politician and assassin, executed 1858; Tsar Alexander II of Russia, assassinated 1881; Benjamin Harrison, 23rd US President, 1901; George Earle Buckle, journalist, 1935; Clarence Seward Darrow, lawyer, 1938; Major Frederick George Jackson, Arctic explorer, 1938; Lucien Levy- Bruhl, philosopher, 1939; Thomas (Tom) Mann, trade union leader, 1941; Elizabeth Madox Roberts, novelist, 1941; Stephen Vincent Benet, novelist and poet, 1943; Karl Ernst Haushofer, geographer, 1946; Angela Brazil, girls' school-story writer, 1947; Winston Churchill, novelist, 1947; John Middleton Murry, author, 1957; Arthur Stuart Menteth Hutchinson, novelist, 1971; Robert (Robin) Cecil Romer Maugham, second Viscount Maugham, novelist, 1981.

On this day: the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Stamford, 1470; the French Huguenots were defeated at the Battle of Jarnac, 1569; as predicted by Halley in 1682, Halley's Comet came to its perihelion, 1758; the planet Uranus was discovered by Sir William Herschel, 1781; standard time was established in the United States, 1884; General Roberts captured Bloemfontein, South Africa, 1900; the St Francis dam near Los Angeles burst, flooding the countryside, and drowning 450 people, 1928; Dr Buck Ruxton was found guilty of the murder of his wife, 1936; Austria was declared to be part of the German Reich (the Anschluss), and was renamed 'Ostmark', 1938; the Battle of Dien Bien Phu began in Indo-China, 1954; in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Congress voted to abolish the political monopoly of the Communist party, 1990.

Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday and the Feast Day of St Ansovinus, St Euphrasia or Eupraxia, St Gerald of Mayo, St Heldrad, St Mochoemoc, St Nicephorus of Constantinople and Saints Roderic and Salomon.