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Births: Anders Celsius, astronomer and thermometer inventor, 1701; Jean-Pierre Duport, cellist, 1741; Johann Georg Adam Forster, explorer and scientist, 1754; Perdita (Mary) Robinson, actress and mistress of George IV, 1758; John Murray, publisher, 1778; Fanny (Frances Anne) Kemble, actress, 1809; Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, physiologist, 1857; Chaim Weizmann, biochemist and first president of Israel, 1874; Mr James Agee, author and screenwriter, 1910.

Deaths: Horace, poet, 8 BC; Clovis, first King of France, 511; Sir John Eliot, parliamentarian, 1632; Athanasius Kircher, Jesuit priest, scientist and inventor of the magic lantern, 1680; Henry Winstanley, Eddystone lighthouse designer, drowned 1703; Alexandre Dumas the Younger, novelist and playwright, 1895; Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell, poet and essayist, 1922; Ross McWhirter, compiler of Guinness Book of Records, killed by the IRA 1975.

On this day: the Rabbinical Bible was completed by Daniel Bomberg, 1518; William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, 1582; two women at Grantham, Lincolnshire, became the first policewomen, 1914; Oscar Slater, wrongly accused and imprisoned, was released from prison and given a grant of pounds 6,000, 1927; the Soviet forces under Marshal Timoshenko launched a counter-offensive, forcing a German retreat, 1941; the French fleet was sunk at Toulon, 1942; in Czechoslovakia, Rudolf Slansky and 10 others were sentenced to death for treason and espionage, 1952; the musical show Grab Me a Gondola was first produced, London, 1956; Pope Paul VI arrived at Manila airport for a three-day visit to the Philippines. An attempt was made on his life, but the Pope was unharmed, 1970; Velazquez's portrait of Juan de Pareja was sold at Sotheby's, in London, for pounds 2.31m, 1970.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, St Cungar of Somerset, St Fergus of Strathern, St James Intercisus, St Maximus of Riez, St Secundinus or Sechnall and St Virgil of Salzburg.


Births: Jean-Baptiste Lully (Giovanni Battista Lulli), composer, 1632; William Blake, poet and painter, 1757; Ferdinand Ries, pianist, violinist and composer, 1784; Louis Plaidy, pianist, violinist and teacher, 1810; William Froude, engineer and naval architect, 1810; Friedrich Engels, socialist, 1820; Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein, pianist and composer, 1829; John Wesley Hyatt, inventor of celluloid, 1837; Andrei Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky, politician, 1883; Jose Iturbi, pianist and actor, 1895; Nancy Mitford, novelist and biographer, 1904; Alberto (Pincherle) Moravia, writer, 1907.

Deaths: Edward Plantagenet, 18th Earl of Warwick, beheaded 1499; Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, sculptor, 1680; Anthony a Wood, antiquary and historian, 1695; Cesare Bonesana Beccaria, jurist and economist, 1794; Washington Irving, author, 1859; Christian Karl Josias, Baron von Bunsen, statesman and writer, 1860; Karl Ernst von Baer, embryologist, 1876; George Henry Lewes, journalist and critic, 1878; 'Lord' George Sanger, circus proprietor, murdered 1911; Dwight Filley Davis, sponsor of the tennis cup, 1945; Richard Nathaniel Wright, novelist, 1960; Princess Wilhelmina, former Queen of the Netherlands, 1962; Enid Mary Blyton, childen's author, 1968; William Havergal Brian, composer, 1972.

On this day: Magellan reached the Pacific after sailing through the Straits, 1520; the Royal Society was founded, 1660; London University was granted its charter, 1836; the Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, Strand, London, opened, 1868; Sinn Fein was founded in Dublin by Arthur Griffith, 1905; the first air raid on London occurred, 1916; the German Kaiser formally abdicated the crown of Prussia and Germany, 1918; Latvia declared war on Germany, 1919; Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met at Teheran, 1943; Mauritania became independent, 1960; the British airline Transglobe Airways ceased operations, 1968; the Battle of Britain Museum at Hendon was opened, 1978; the West German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, proposed a plan for the confederation of East and West Germany, 1989.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Catherine Laboure, St James of the March, St Joseph Pignatelli, St Simeon Metaphrastes and St Stephen the Younger.