Anniversaries: 8th December 1995

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The Independent Online

Births: Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), poet, 65 BC; Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, 1542; Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, 1765; Charles Wentworth Dilke, editor and critic, 1789; George Alfred Henty, author of boys' books, 1832; Aristide Maillol, sculptor, 1861; Georges Melies, cinema pioneer, 1861; Georges-Leon Jules-Marie Feydeau, playwright, 1862; Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, composer, 1865; James Grover Thurber, wit and cartoonist, 1894. Deaths: Adriaan Willaert, composer and choralist, 1562; Sir John Davies, lawyer and poet, 1626; Thomas Corneille, playwright, 1709; Thomas De Quincey, author, 1859; Padraic Colum, poet, 1881; Herbert Spencer, writer and philosopher, 1903; Gertrude Jekyll, gardener, 1932; Golda Meir (Goldie Mabovitch), former Israeli prime minister, 1978; John Winston Lennon, former Beatle, shot in New York 1980. On this day: Prince Albert Edward (later King Edward VII) became Prince of Wales, 1841; Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, 1854; the first world heavyweight boxing championship, between the Englishman Tom King and the American John Heenan, took place, 1863; Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, was opened, 1864; the first traffic lights were erected in Westminster, London, 1868; the German fleet was sunk in the Battle of the Falkland Islands, 1914; at Kiel, Germany launched her first aircraft- carrier, the Graf Zeppelin, 1938; Great Britain, Australia and the United States declared war on Japan, 1941; Mr Arthur Scargill was elected president of the National Union of Mineworkers, 1981; Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed an agreement eliminating all ground-based intermediate- range nuclear missiles, 1987. Today is the Feast Day of The Immaculate Conception, St Eucharius, St Patapius, St Romaric and Sophronius of Cyprus.