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Births: Abbe Maximilian Stadler, priest and composer, 1748; Dean Frederic William Farrar, theologian and author of Eric, or, Little by Little, 1831; Allan James Foli (Foley), bass singer, 1835; Ludwig Bernhard Hopffer, composer, 1840; Emile Nolde (Emil Hansen), expressionist painter, 1867; Sir Granville Bantock, composer and conductor, 1868; Mata Hari (Margaretha Geertruide Zelle), Dutch-born German spy, 1876; Sydney Howard, comedian, 1885; Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey, archaeologist and anthropologist, 1903; Ralph Johnson Bunche, diplomat and Nobel prizewinner, 1904.

Deaths: Robert Blake, admiral, 1657; Caroline, Queen of George IV, 1821; Joseph-Marie Jacquard, weaver and inventor, 1834; Horace Wigan, actor, manager and playwright, 1885; James Hall, geologist and palaeontologist, 1898; Jacob Maris, painter, 1899; Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok, poet, 1921; Curbastro Gregorio Ricci, mathematician, 1925; Bix (Leon Bismarck) Beiderbecke, jazz cornet-player and composer, 1931; Konstantin Stanislavsky (Konstantin Sergeyevich Alekseyev), theatre director, 1938; Sir Rabindranath Tagore, writer, 1941; Oliver Norvell Hardy, comedian, 1957.

On this day: the Council of Pisa was dissolved, 1409; Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII) landed at Milford Haven in a bid for the crown, 1485; the first race meeting at Ascot was instituted by Queen Anne, 1711; the newspaper New England Courant was first published in Boston, 1721; the two suffragettes Mrs Mary Leigh and Gladys Evans were sentenced to five years' penal servitude for setting fire to the Theatre Royal, Dublin, 1912; Louis Philippe was proclaimed 'citizen king' of France, 1830; an Act of Parliament was passed prohibiting the employment of climbing boys as chimney-sweeps, 1840; Ottawa (formerly Bytown) became the capital of Canada, 1858; in London, Finsbury Park was opened, occupying the land of the former Hornsey Wood, 1869; Florence Maybrick was found guilty of murdering her husband, 1889; Britain issued pounds 1 and 10-shilling notes, 1914; the Daylight Saving Act, which permanently established British Summer Time, was passed, 1925; the first motor racing grand prix in Britain was held at Brooklands, 1926; Britain's transatlantic air-mail service began, 1939; US forces landed on Guadalcanal, 1942; in Colombia, a train drawing seven trucks containing dynamite exploded, killing 1,200 people, 1956; the French colony of the Ivory Coast became independent, 1960.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Agapitus, Sixtus II and Felicissimus, St Albert of Trapani, St Cajetan or Gaetano, St Claudia, St Dogmetius the Persian, St Donatus of Arezzo, St Victricius.


Births: Sir Godfrey Kneller (Gottfried Kniller), painter, 1646; Jacques Basnage de Beauval, Protestant theologian, 1653; Francis Hutcheson, philosopher, 1694; Hermann Anton Gelinek (Cervetti), monk, violinist and composer, 1709; George Cattermole, water-colour painter, 1800; Wilhelm Friedrich Wieprecht, inventor of the bass-tuba, 1802; Theodule Augustin Ribot, painter, 1823; F. Anstey (Thomas Anstey Guthrie), author, 1856; William Bateson, biologist, 1861; Cecile-Louise-Stephanie Chaminade, composer and pianist, 1861; Frank Richards (Charles Harold St John Hamilton), author and creator of 'Billy Bunter', 1876; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, novelist, 1896; Victor Young, composer and conductor, 1900; Ernest Orlando Lawrence, physicist and inventor of the cyclotron, 1901; Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, physicist, 1902.

Deaths: Thomas a Kempis (Thomas Hammerken von Kempen), Augustinian monk and writer, 1471; Girolamo Fracastoro, astronomer, poet and physician, 1553; Alonso Sanchez Coello, painter, 1588; Antoine Arnauld, Jansenist theologian, 1694; George Canning, statesman, 1827; Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (Matthews), actress, 1856; Dr Robert Moffat, missionary and traveller, 1883; Sir William James Erasmus Wilson, dermatologist, who, at his own expense, brought 'Cleopatra's Needle' to London, 1884; Jakob Christopher Burckhardt, art historian, 1897; Viktor Meyer, chemist, 1897; Eugene-Louis Boudin, painter, 1898; James-Joseph-Jacques Tissot, painter and illustrator, 1902; Frank Winfield Woolworth, chain-store founder, 1919; Anton Ivanovich Denikin, anti-Bolshevik Russian general, 1947; Shirley Jackson, author, 1965; Jaromir Weinberger, composer, 1967; James Gould Cozzens, novelist, 1978; Nicholas John Turney Montsarrat, novelist, 1979; Louise Brooks, actress, 1985.

On this day: the Treaty of Mersen was signed, 870; Queen Elizabeth I reviewed her troops at Tilbury, 1588; the first mail coach ran in Britain - from London to Bristol, 1784; Dr Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat reached the summit of Mont Blanc, 1786; the Poor Law Act was passed in England, 1834; the Red Cross League, founded by Jean-Henri Dunant, was granted immunity in time of war at the Geneva Convention, 1864; an outbreak of yellow fever occurred in Florida, especially in Jacksonville, 1888; the British Academy was granted a Royal Charter, 1902; the first British troops arrived in France, 1914; the Battle of Amiens began, 1918; the Treaty of Rawalpindi was signed, 1919; the US dirigible Akron was launched, 1931; the Battle of Britain began, 1940; the Great Train Robbery occurred when pounds 2.5m was stolen from a train at Cheddington, near Bletchley, Bucks, 1963; President Richard Nixon resigned, the first US president to do so, 1974; the London production of the musical show 42nd Street was first presented, 1984; John McCarthy, the journalist held hostage by Islamic Jihad in the Lebanon since 1986, was freed, 1991.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Altman, Saints Cyriacus, Largus and Smaragdus, St Dominic, The Fourteen Holy Helpers and St Hormisdas the Martyr.