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Births: William Camden, historian, 1551; Athanasius Kircher, mathematician, scholar and musician, 1602; Pietro Alessandro Gaspare Scarlatti, composer, 1660; Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, 1729; Sir Humphry Repton, landscape architect, 1752; John Galt, novelist, 1779; the Rev Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, author of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 1810; Jerome Klapka Jerome, novelist and playwright, 1859; Harry Lillis 'Bing Crosby', singer, 1904.

Deaths: Leonardo da Vinci, painter, sculptor and scientist, 1519; John Collins, actor and poet, 1808; Mrs Thrale (Mrs Hester Lynch Piozzi, nee Salusbury), writer, 1821; William Thomas Beckford, novelist, collector and spendthrift, 1844; Joseph Raymond McCarthy, judge and senator, 1957; Nancy, Viscountess Astor, the first woman to sit in Parliament, 1964; John Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, 1972.

On this day: the Authorised Version of the Bible was published, 1611; the Battle for Berlin ended, and the Germans surrendered, 1945; public VHF broadcasting was first introduced to Britain, 1955; the QE2 sailed from Southampton on her maiden voyage, 1969.

Today is the Feast Day of St Athanasius, Saints Exsuperius or Hesperus and Zoe, St Mefalda, St Ultan of Fosses, St Waldebert and St Wiborada.