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Births: Andrea del Sarto (Andrea Domenico d'Agnolo di Francesco), painter, 1486; Sir Joshua Reynolds, painter, 1723; Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, painter, 1796; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, 1821; Eugene Auguste Ysaye, composer and violinist, 1858; Jens Otto Harry Jespersen, linguist and philologist, 1860; George A. Birmingham (the Rev James Owen Hannay), novelist, 1865; Roald Amundsen, polar explorer, 1872.

Deaths: Pope Innocent III, 1216; Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, 1557; Francois-Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois, statesman, 1691; Elijah Fenton, poet, 1730; Thomas Yalden, poet and writer of fables, 1736; Giuseppe Maria Crespi, painter and etcher, 1747; Josiah Spode, potter, 1827; Pierre-Jean de Beranger, poet, 1857; Edmond-Louis Antoine Huot de Goncourt, novelist, 1896; Joseph Hilaire Belloc, author, 1953; John Phillips Marquand, novelist, 1960.

On this day: Brennus and the Gauls defeated the Romans at Allia, 390 BC; the Muslim Era began when Mahomet began his flight from Mecca to Medina (The Hejira), 622; Captain John Gilbert patented the first dredger in Britain, 1618; the first banknotes in Europe were issued by the Bank of Stockholm, 1661; Mozart's opera Il Seraglio was first performed, Vienna 1782; the Tsar of Russia (Nicholas II) and all his family were murdered by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), 1918; the world's first parking meters were installed in Oklahoma City, United States, 1935; the first atomic test bomb was exploded at Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1945; the Mont Blanc road tunnel, between France and Italy, was opened, 1965; the Bill to abolish the Greater London Council received Royal Assent, 1985; British Airways and British Caledonian announced plans for a pounds 237m merger, 1987.

Today is the Feast Day of St Athenogenes, St Eustathius of Antioch, St Fulrad, St Helier, St Mary Magdalen Postel, St Reineldis.


Births: Isaac Watts, hymnwriter, 1674; John Jacob Astor, fur trader and merchant, 1763; Hippolyte-Paul Delaroche, painter, 1797; Martin Farquhar Tupper, author, 1810; Johan August Sodermann, composer, 1832; Friedrich Gernsheim, pianist and composer, 1839; Sir Donald Francis Tovey, musicologist, 1875; Maxim Maximovich Litvinov (Wallach), Soviet leader, 1876; Erle Stanley Gardner, novelist and creator of 'Perry Mason', 1889; Mary Clare, actress, 1894; James Cagney, actor, 1899; Christina Ellen Stead, novelist, 1902.

Deaths: William Somerville, poet, 1742; Adam Smith, political economist and writer, 1790; Charlotte Corday, murderess of Marat, executed 1793; Charles Grey, second Earl, statesman, 1845; James Abbott McNeill Whistler, painter, 1903; Alvaro Obregon, president of Mexico, assassinated 1928; George William Russell ('AE'), poet, 1935; Dragolub (Draza) Mihajlovic, Serbian nationalist, executed 1946; Billie Holiday (Eleanora Holiday), jazz singer, 1959.

On this day: the Hundred Years' War ended after the defeat of the English at Castillon, 1453; Martin Frobisher reached Baffin Land, 1577; the Bridgewater Canal, linking Worsley and Manchester, opened, 1761; Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine, 1790; the Champs de Mars massacre by the Marquis de La Fayette restored order in Paris, 1791; the humorous magazine Punch was first published, 1841; George Phillips Bond took the first photograph of a star, 1850; Cecil Rhodes became prime minister of Cape Colony, 1890; Robert Bridges became Poet Laureate, 1913; the Baghdad railway was completed, 1940; the Potsdam Conference was held to consider the occupation of Germany, 1945; Disneyland opened in California, 1955; the musical Irma La Douce was first performed, London 1958; Donald Campbell reached a speed of 429.3mph in his Bluebird car at Lake Eyre, South Australia, 1964; the US Apollo spacecraft and the Russian Soyuz ship docked successfully while in orbit, 1975; the Humber Estuary Bridge was opened, 1981.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Clement of Okhrida and his Companions, St Ennodius, St Kenelm, St Leo IV, Pope, St Marcellina, St Nerses Lampronazi, the Seven Apostles of Bulgaria, St Speratus and his Companions, the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne and the Martyrs of Scillium.