1952: A concert was held at St Saviour’s Church Hall, Swindon, in aid of choir funds. The show was arranged by Mr E Lomas, the assistant choirmaster. The compere was Mr Gordon Bond and about 100 people attended.

1962: Mary Oxley, 77, of Salisbury Street, Swindon, was rescued from her smoke-filled living room by her 71-year-old neighbour, Arthur Spackman, after her television set burst into flames. Mr Spackman and his wife were having tea when they heard an explosion. “I thought it was probably snow falling off the roof,” he said. His wife went outside to check and saw smoke pouring from Mrs Oxley’s home, which is when Mr Spackman sprang into action.

1972: Plessey announced that around 100 jobs at its Cheney Manor and Kembrey Street factories were “surplus to requirements”. A shortage of orders was the official explanation. The company said it hoped to find alternative employment for some of those affected, but unions said guerilla strike action, walkouts and works to rule would take immediate effect at the electronics company.


1493: Christopher Columbus sailed from America to Spain in the Nina.

1809: Louis Braille, inventor of the alphabetic system for the blind which bears his name, was born in Paris.

1813: Isaac Pitman, English publisher and inventor of shorthand, was born in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

1884: The Fabian Society was founded to promote socialist ideals.

1885: The first successful appendix operation was performed by Dr William West Grant, in Iowa.

1929: Australian cricketer Don Bradman made his first Test century, playing against England in Melbourne.

1936: Billboard magazine in New York published the first popular music chart.

1958: Sir Edmund Hillary, with a New Zealand party, reached the South Pole, the first man to do so overland since Captain Scott.

1967: Donald Campbell died attempting to break the world water speed record on Coniston Water in the Lake District.

1972: Rose Heilbron became Britain’s first woman judge at the Old Bailey.

1986: Christopher Isherwood, novelist and playwright, died. His novel Goodbye To Berlin was adapted as the musical Cabaret.

1993: P&O European Ferries announced the closure of its passenger service between Dover and Boulogne after 170 years.

2009: Colin Freeman, the Sunday Telegraph’s chief foreign correspondent, was released by Somalian kidnappers after 40 days in captivity.

2014: Adventurer Richard Parks claimed a record for the fastest ever solo, unsupported journey to the South Pole by a Briton.

2017: Living close to a busy road increases the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by up to 12%, a major study found.

BIRTHDAYS Rick Stein, chef and broadcaster, 71; Bernard Sumner, rock musician (New Order), 62; Michael Stipe, rock singer (REM), 58; Guy Forget, former tennis player, 53; Julia Ormond, actress, 53; Tim Wheeler, rock musician (Ash), 41; David Millar, British road cyclist, 41; James Milner, footballer, 32.