Anniversaries: 29th December 1995


Births: 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; Dr Thomas Sydenham, physician, 1689; Brook Taylor, mathematician, 1731; Jacques-Louis David, painter, 1825; William Crotch, composer, 1847; James Andrew, Marquis of Dalhousie, Governor-General of India, 1860; Christina Georgina Rossetti, poet, 1894; Octave Feuillet, novelist and playwright, 1890; 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; The Earl of Stockton (Harold Macmillan), statesman, 1986. On this day: the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, opened, 1720; Sarah Siddons, as Portia, made her first appearance on the London stage, 1775; an insurrection of troops in Moscow was put down after the death of Tsar Alexander I, 1825; Texas became the 28th of the United States, 1845; Britain's first ironclad warship, HMS Warrior, was launched, 1860; the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, took place, when 200 Sioux Indians were killed, 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; Life magazine 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.