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Births: William Cowper, poet, 1731; Paul Jean Clays, painter, 1819; John Alexander Reina Newlands, chemist, 1837; Sir Mark Aurel Stein, archaeologist, 1862; Maud, Queen of Norway, 1869; Willis Haviland Carrier, air-conditioning engineer, 1876; Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov, geneticist, 1887; Cyril James Cusack, actor, 1910.

Deaths: Isabella I, Queen of Castile and Aragon, 1504; Philippe Quinault, playwright, 1688; John Elwes, miser, left pounds 500,000, 1789; John Loudon McAdam, inventor of road surfacing system, 1836; Harold Harmsworth, first Viscount Rothermere, newspaper proprietor, 1940; Albert William Ketelbey, composer, 1959; Cyril Vernon Connolly, critic, 1974; Warren Stanley Tute, writer, sailor and playwright, 1989.

On this day: New College, Oxford was founded by William of Wykeham, 1379; the Great Storm raged in Britain, costing 8,000 lives, 1703; the first national Thanksgiving Day was held in the United States, 1789; the first movable bridge of aluminium alloy was opened at Sunderland, 1948; the Soviet Union claimed to have exploded a hydrogen bomb of 'unprecedented force', 1955; three tons of gold bullion worth pounds 5m were stolen from Heathrow Airport, 1983.

Today is the Feast Day of St Basolus or Basle, St Conrad of Constance, St John Berchmans, St Leonard of Porto Maurizio, St Peter of Alexandria, St Silvester Gozzolini and St Siricius.