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Births: John Evelyn, diarist and founder of the Royal Society, 1620; Jan Vermeer (Johannes Van der Meer), painter, 1632; Philip James De Loutherbourg, artist, 1740; John Keats, poet, 1795; Benoit Fourneyron, engineer and inventor of the water turbine, 1802; Philo Remington, typewriter and small-arms manufacturer, 1816; Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, chemist and inventor of the electric lamp, 1828; Sir George Reid, portrait painter, 1841; Henri Regnault, painter, 1843; Max Pauer, pianist and composer, 1866; Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese leader, 1887; Sir George Hubert Wilkins, polar explorer and aviator, 1888.

Deaths: Fra Bartolommeo de Pagholo (Della Porta, painter, 1517; Richard Edwards, poet and playwright, 1566; William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, soldier, 1765; Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, admiral, 1860; Alfred Mynn, cricketer, 1861; William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse, astronomer, 1867; John Baldwin Buckstone, actor, 1879; Sir George Alexander Macfarren, educationalist and composer, 1887; Helena Saville Faucit (Lady Martin), actress, 1898; Dan Leno (George Galvin), comedian, 1904; Istvan, Count Tisza, statesman, assassinated 1918; Harry Houdini (Erich Weiss), escapologist, 1926; Charles William Gordon (Ralph Connor), clergyman and novelist, 1937; Otto Rank, psychoanalyst, 1939; Henry Hinchliffe Ainley, actor, 1945; Ignacio Zuloaga, painter, 1945; Pietro Badoglio, general and statesman, 1956; Augustus Edwin John, painter, 1961; Mrs Indira Gandhi, Indian prime minister, assassinated 1984.

On this day: Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door in Wittenberg, 1517; the first stone of Blackfriars Bridge, London, was laid, 1760; Nevada became the 36th of the United States, 1864; Offenbach's operetta La Vie Parisienne was first produced, Paris, 1866; the first telegraph cable across the Pacific was completed, 1902; Steel helmets were first issued to British troops on the Western Front, 1915; Sultan Ahmad, Shah of Persia (Iran) was deposed by the majlis (parliament), 1925; the Battle of Britain ended, 1940; British and French troops bombed Egyptian airfields at Suez, 1956; a bomb exploded at the top of the Post Office Tower, London, 1971.

Today is All Hallows' Eve and the Feast Day of St Bee or Bega, St Foillan of Fosses, St Quentin or Quintinus and St Wolfgang.


Births: Louis II, King of France, 846; Benvenuto Cellini, sculptor and goldsmith, 1500; Pietro da Cortona, painter and architect, 1596; Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux, poet and satirist, 1636; Antonio Canova, sculptor, 1757; Spencer Perceval, prime minister (1809-1812), 1762; Gustav IV, King of Sweden, 1778; Joseph von Blumenthal, violinist and composer, 1782; Lydia Huntley Sigourney, poet, 1791; Jules Bastien-Lepage, painter, 1848; Stephen Townley Crane, author, 1871; Laurence Stephen Lowry, primitive painter, 1887; Edmund Charles Blunden, scholar and poet, 1896.

Deaths: Giulio Romano (Giulio Pippi), painter, 1546; Salomon van Ruysdael, painter, buried 1670; Charles II ('The Bewitched'), King of Spain, 1700; John Radcliffe, physician and founder of the Radcliffe Library, Oxford, 1714; Alexander Cruden, compiler of the Bible Concordance, 1770; Lord George Gordon, Protestant agitator, 1793; John Lindley, botanist and writer, 1865; Alexander III, Tsar of Russia, 1894; Alfred Jarry, poet, novelist and playwright, 1907; Ezra Loomis Pound, poet, 1972; Phil Silvers, comedian and actor, 1985.

On this day: the Bank of Scotland was founded, 1695; 60,000 people died when Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake, 1755; San Francisco bay was discovered by Gaspar de Portola, 1769; the Congress of Vienna opened, 1814; the first WH Smith bookstall opened at Euston Station, London, 1848; Lloyd's Register of Shipping was first published, 1884; the first issue of Woman's Weekly was published, 1911; at the Battle of Coronel, the British ships Good Hope and Monmouth were sunk, 1914; licences for radio sets were started in Britain, 1922; the British Television service was inaugurated, 1936; US troops landed in the Solomon Islands, 1943; Puerto Rican nationalists attempted to assassinate President Truman, 1950; the first London production of the musical show South Pacific was staged, 1951; the first Premium Bonds went on sale, 1956; the first section of the M1 motorway was opened, 1959; over 10,000 people died and five million rendered homeless after a tidal wave struck Orissa, India, 1972; East Germany opened its border with Czechoslovakia, 1989.

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of All Saints, St Austremonius or Stremoine, St Benignus of Dijon, St Cadfan, Saints Caesarius and Julian, St Marcellus of Paris, St Mary, martyr, St Mathurin or Maturinus and St Vigor.