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Births: Johann Simon Hermstedt, clarinettist and composer, 1778; Sir Archibald Alison Bt, historian, 1792; Jeanne-Antoinette, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, 1721; Louis-Jean-Francois-Lagrenee, painter, 1724; Charles Macintosh, chemist and inventor of waterproof clothing, 1766; Christian Jurgensen Thomsen, archaeologist, 1788; Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanised rubber, 1800; Andrew Johnson, 17th US president, 1808; William Ewart Gladstone, statesman, 1809; Alexander Parkes, chemist, inventor of a second method of vulcanising rubber, 1813; Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig, physiologist, 1816; Queen Elizabeth of Romania (Carmen Sylva, author), 1843; Pablo Casals, cellist, 1876; Jess Willard, heavyweight boxer, 1881; Vera Mary Brittain, author, pacifist and feminist, 1893; Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, Soviet spy, 1911; Robert Chester Ruark, author, 1915.

Deaths: St Thomas a Becket, murdered 1170; Captain John Davis, navigator, 1605; Dr Thomas Sydenham, physician, 1689; Jacques- Louis David, painter, 1825; William Crotch, composer, 1847; James Andrew, Marquis of Dalhousie, governor-general of India, 1860; Christina Rossetti, poet, 1894; William James Linton, wood engraver, 1897; Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, 1926; Donald Robert Perry Marquis, journalist and humorist, 1937; James Fletcher Henderson, jazzman and bandleader, 1952; Leo Robin, lyric-writer, 1984; Harold Macmillan, first Earl of Stockton, statesman, 1986.

On this day: the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, opened, 1720; Sarah Siddons, made her first appearance on the London stage, 1775; Texas became the 28th of the United States, 1845; Britain's first ironclad warship HMS Warrior was launched, 1860; massacre took place at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 1890; the Jameson Raid took place from Bechuanaland into the Transvaal, 1895; Radio Luxembourg started operating, 1930; the City of London was the subject of a fire- bomb raid, 1940; the US magazine Life ceased publication, 1972; an Italian bulk-carrier the Marine di Equa sank in heavy seas off Land's End, with the loss of 30 lives, 1981.

Today is the Feast Day of St Ebrulf or Evroult, St Marcellus Akimetes, St Thomas of Canterbury and St Trophimus of Arles.