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Births: Anna Comnena, princess and historian, 1083; John Keill, philosopher and mathematician, 1671; Martin Heinrich Klaproth, chemist, 1743; Madame Marie Tussaud (Grosholz), waxwork exhibitor, 1761; Francois-Henri-Joseph Castil- Blaze, composer and critic, 1784; Joseph Gungl, bandmaster and composer, 1810; Queen Alexandra, consort of Edward VII, 1844; Ernst Toller, playwright and poet, 1893; Henry Williamson, author and novelist, 1895; Ray Henderson (Raymond Brost), composer and producer, 1896; Helen de Guerry Simpson, novelist, 1897; Mary Martin, actress and singer, 1913.

Deaths: Henry I, King, 1135; Blanche of Castile, wife of King Louis VIII of France, 1252; Lorenzo Ghiberti, sculptor, 1455; Pope Leo X, 1521; St Edmund Campion, St Alexander Briant and St Ralph Sherwin, Jesuit martyrs, executed 1581; Thomas Weelkes, composer, buried, 1623; Alexander I, Tsar of Russia, 1825; Dr George Birkbeck, founder of Birkbeck College, 1841; Ebenezer Elliott, poet and 'anti- corn law rhymester', 1849; Alfred Rethel, painter, 1859; Alfred Thayer Mahan, historian, 1914; Henry William Banks Davis, painter, 1914; Leopold, Count von Kalckreuth, painter, 1928; Samuel Courtauld, industrialist, 1947; Sir Peter Henry Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), anthropologist and statesman, 1951; John Burton Sanderson Haldane, scientist, 1964; David Ben Gurion, statesman, 1973.

On this day: Portugal became independent of Spain, 1640; the Royal Academy of Arts was founded, 1768; Jacques-Alexandre-Cesar Charles made the first ascent in a hydrogen- filled balloon, France, 1783; Pedro I was crowned Emperor of Brazil, 1822; General de Wet, the Boer leader, was captured, South Africa 1914; the British Second Army entered Germany, 1918; Iceland became a sovereign state, 1918; Nancy, Lady Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons as an MP, 1919; the Locarno Pact was signed in London, 1925; an OGPU purge of the Russian Communist Party followed the assassination of Serge Kirov, a close associate of Stalin, 1934; 'points' rationing was introduced in Britain, 1941; the Beveridge Report on social security was published, 1942; HMS Vanguard, Britain's largest battleship, was launched by Princess Elizabeth, 1944; Abdullah of Transjordan was proclaimed King of Palestine by the Arab Congress at Jericho, 1948; hurricane-force winds swept across Britain and caused widespread damage, 1966; the Isaac Newton telescope, the largest in Western Europe, was inaugurated at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, 1967; Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, met the pope, John Paul II, in the Vatican, 1989.

Today is the Feast Day of St Agericus or Airy, St Alexander Briant, St Anasanus, St Edmund Campion, St Eligius or Eloy, St Ralph Sherwin and St Tudwal.