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Births: Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, 1741; Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, prime minister, 1764; Daniel Lambert, fat man who weighed over 52 stones (728lb/330kg), 1770; Karl Ecker, composer, 1813; Thomas Henry Tizard, oceanographer, 1839; Ramon Menendez Pidal, philologist and historian, 1869; Henry Hathaway, film director, 1898; George Seferis (Giorgos Stylianou Seferiades), poet and diplomat, 1900.

Deaths: Richard Burbage, actor, 1619; Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux, poet and critic, 1711; 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; Lucien Levy-Bruhl, philosopher, 1939; Thomas (Tom) Mann, trade- union leader, 1941; Angela Brazil, writer, 1947; Winston Churchill, novelist, 1947; John Middleton Murry, author, 1957; Robert Cecil Romer Maugham, second Viscount Maugham (Robin Maugham), novelist, 1981.

On this day: 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; Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, 1781; Standard time was established in the US, 1884; 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 Soviet Congress voted to abolish the political monopoly of the Communist Party, 1990.

Today is 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.


Births: Johann Strauss the Elder, composer, 1804; Mrs Isabella Mary Beeton (Mayson), author of household and cookery books, 1836; August Bungert, composer, 1846; Paul Ehrlich, bacteriologist, 1854; John Lane, publisher, 1854; Norman Houston O'Neill, composer, 1875; Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879.

Deaths: Jakob van Ruysdael, painter, 1682; John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent, admiral of the fleet, 1823; Karl Marx, political philosopher, 1883; William Hale White ('Mark Rutherford'), novelist, 1913; George Eastman, photographic inventor, 1932; Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, journalist and politician, executed 1938; Klement Gottwald, Czech leader, 1953; Howard Hathaway Aiken, mathematician and computer pioneer, 1973; Busby Berkeley, (William Berkeley Enos), choreographer, 1976; Sir Huw Pyrs Wheldon, broadcaster and administrator, 1986.

On this day: Asiatic cholera first appeared in Ireland at Belfast, 1832; the first production of The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan, was staged at the Savoy Theatre, London 1885; the first submarine telephone line was laid by the Monarch across the English Channel, 1891; a provisional government was set up in Russia, 1917; the first transatlantic radio broadcast was made, 1925; the New English Bible (New Testament) a new translation, was published in London, 1961.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Eutychius or Eustathius of Carrhae, St Leobinus or Lubin and St Matilda.