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Births: Sir William Quiller Orchardson, painter, 1835; Sir Frederick Henry Royce, motor-car designer, 1863; Heinrich Mann, novelist, 1871; James Cruze, film director, 1884; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect, 1886; Margaret Irwin, novelist, 1889; Ferde Grofe (Ferdinand Rudolf von Grofe), composer, 1892; Karl Mannheim, sociologist, 1893; Gloria May Josephine Swanson, actress, 1899.

Deaths: Pope Gregory XI, 1378; Theodorus Dirk de Bry, engraver and publisher, 1598; Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre, 1615; James VI of Scotland / James I of Great Britain, 1625; Gianbattista Tiepolo, painter, 1770; Sir George Gilbert Scott, architect, 1878; John Bright, statesman, 1889; Myles Birket Foster, painter, 1899; Henry Brooks Adams, historian, 1918; Samuel Colman, landscape painter, 1920; Sir James Dewar, physicist and inventor of the vacuum flask, 1923; Leslie Stuart (Thomas Augustine Barrett), popular composer ('Lily of Laguna'), 1928; Enoch Arnold Bennett, novelist, 1931; Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand prime minister, 1940; Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, cosmonaut, killed in an aircraft accident, 1968.

On this day: Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield was published, 1766; the United States Navy was formed, 1794; the Treaty of Amiens was concluded, 1802; France declared war on Russia, 1854; Spain introduced universal suffrage, 1890; Nikita Khrushchev became chairman of the Council of Ministers in the USSR, 1958.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alkeld or Athilda and St John of Egypt.


Births: Fra Bartolomeo di Pagholo (Baccio della Porta), painter, 1472; St Teresa of Avila, 1515; King George I, 1660; Joseph Weigl, composer, 1766; William Henry Hunt, water-colour painter, 1790; Alexandre Herculano de Carvalho e Araujo, poet and historian, 1810; Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, engineer, 1819; Antoine-Edouard Batiste, organist and composer, 1820; Aristide Briand, statesman, 1862; Maxim Gorki (Alexei Maximovich Peshkov), novelist, 1868; Dame Flora Robson, actress, 1902; John Langstraw Austin, philosopher, 1911.

Deaths: Publius Helvius Pertinax, Roman emperor, murdered, 193; Waldemar II, King of Denmark, 1241; William Thornton, architect, 1828; Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, composer, 1881; Virginia Woolf (Adeline Virginia Stephen), author and critic, 1941; Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninov, composer, 1943; Stephen Butler Leacock, humorist and author, 1944; Christopher Darlington Morley, novelist and playwright, 1957; William Christopher Handy, blues composer, 1958; Dwight David Eisenhower, general and statesman, 1969; Dorothy Fields, lyricist, 1974; Marc Chagall, painter, 1985.

On this day: the Act of Union with England was passed by the Irish Parliament, 1800; Britain declared war on Russia (the Crimean War), 1854; electric lighting was installed in the Houses of Parliament, 1878; Constantinople's name was changed to Istanbul, and Angora's to Ankara, 1930; the Spanish Civil War ended, 1939; the last German V2 rocket fell on Britain, 1945; 'Radio Caroline' began to transmit from a ship in the North Sea, 1964; a severe earthquake in Turkey resulted in the loss of more than 1,000 lives, 1970.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Guntramnus or Gontran and St Tutilo.