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Births: Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and essayist, 1803; Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, first Baron Lytton, novelist, 1803; Jakob Christopher Burckhardt, art historian, 1818; Tom Sayers, bare-knuckle pugilist, 1826; William Maxwell Aitken, first Baron Beaverbrook, newspaper proprietor, 1879; Miles Malleson, actor and director, 1888; Igor Ivan Sikorsky, pioneer aircraft designer, and inventor of the helicopter, 1889; Theodore Roethke, poet, 1908.

Deaths: the Venerable Bede, 735; Pope Gregory VII, 1085; Gaspard (Doughet) Poussin, painter, 1675; Marie-Madeleine Pioche de la Viergne, Comtesse de La Fayette, author, 1693; William Paley, philosopher, 1805; John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley, naval officer and explorer of Australia, 1828; Gustav Theodore Holst, composer, 1934; Henry Ossawa Tanner, painter, 1937; Joseph, First Baron Duveen of Millbank, art dealer, 1939; Jacques Feyder, film director, 1948; Robert Capa, war photographer, killed in Vietnam 1954; Sydney Box, film producer, 1983.

On this day: Lloyd's insurance society received a Royal Charter, 1871; the House of Commons passed the Bank Holiday Act, 1871; Gilbert and Sullivan's opera HMS Pinafore was first produced in London, 1878; Oscar Slater (who later proved to be innocent) was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 1909; the British House of Commons passed the Irish Home Rule Act, 1914; Transjordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan) became independent, 1923; Jesse Owens, black athlete, broke five world records at the Olympic Games in Berlin, 1936; a British expedition team climbed Kanchenjunga, 1955; the new Coventry Cathedral, designed by Sir Basil Spence, was consecrated, 1962; a military junta seized power in the Sudan, 1969; 275 people were killed when an America Airlines DC-10 crashed on take-off at Chicago, 1979.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bede, St Dionysius of Milan, St Gennadius of Astorga, St Gregory VII, Pope, St Leo or Lye of Mantenay, St Madeleine Sophie Barat, St Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi and St Zenobius.


Mrs John Major

Mrs John Major was host at a reception held yesterday evening at 10 Downing Street, in honour of Crossroads.