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TODAY: Births: Margaret, Queen of Scots, wife of Alexander III, 1240; Francesco Guardi, painter, 1712; Denis Diderot, scholar and encyclopaedist, 1713; William Scoresby, Arctic explorer, 1789; John Addington Symonds, poet, critic and historian, 1840; Flann O'Brien (Brian O'Nolan), novelist and playwright, 1911; Donald Pleasence, actor, 1919. Deaths: Philip III (``the Bold''), King of France, 1285; Lodovico Ferrari, mathematician, 1565; Jacques Offenbach (Jakob Levy Eberst), composer, 1880; ``Barry Cornwall'' (Bryan Waller Procter), poet, 1874; William Heinemann, publisher and playwright, 1920; Jean Vigo, film director, 1934; Leonard Rossiter, actor, 1984; Nelson Smock Riddle, composer and arranger, 1985. On this day: Edward Bruce, having been crowned King of Ireland, was slain at the Battle of Dundalk, 1318; the Gregorian calendar was adopted in Italy and Spain, when this day became 15 October, 1582; Spain declared war on Britain, 1796; the estate of Chequers was presented by Sir Arthur Lee as an official country residence for the Prime Minister, 1917; the march of unemployed shipyard workers from Jarrow to London started, 1936; tea rationing ended in Britain, 1952. Today is the Feast Day of St Apollinaris of Valence, St Flora of Beaulieu, St Galla, St Magenulf or Meinulf and St Maurus.

TOMORROW: Births: Matteo Ricci, Jesuit missionary, 1552; Nevil Maskelyne, astronomer royal, 1732; Jenny Lind (Johanna Maria Lind), operatic soprano, 1820; George Westinghouse, inventor of the airbrake, 1846; Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jenneret), architect and town planner, 1887. Deaths: Charles II, the Bald, Holy Roman Emperor, 877; William Tyndale, Bible translator, strangled and burnt at the stake 1536; Charles Stewart Parnell, political leader, 1891; William Henry Smith, newsagent, bookseller and statesman, 1891; Alfred, first Baron Tennyson, poet, 1892; Ford Madox Brown, painter, 1893; George Louis Palmella du Maurier, novelist and artist, 1896; Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat, president of Egypt, 1981; Denholm Mitchell Elliott, actor, 1992; Dr Cyril James Cusack, actor, 1993. On this day: Captain Cook landed in New Zealand, 1769; the Mormons in Utah renounced bigamy, 1890; Manchester University was opened, 1903; Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1908; Chiang Kai-shek became president of China, 1928. Tomorrow is the Feast Day of St Bruno, St Faith of Agen, St Mary Frances of Naples and St Nicetas of Constantinople.