1951: Reginald Foort, former BBC organist, gave a recital at Prospect Place Methodist Church, Swindon. Choirboys from St Augustine’s Church,conducted by Clayton West, also sang at the concert. The organist received 68 requested items from the audience to perform.

1961: A course on the Eskimo Roll for canoeists was held at Swindon Corporation Swimming Baths. There were 28 canoeists taking part and 12 observers. The course was attended by experienced canoeists, teachers and youth leaders and covered three basic methods of rolling both as a safety measure and as a sport.

1971: Plans were announced for Swindon to have a new ballroom and entertainment centre in the heart of the £5m Brunel Shopping complex. The centre cost £80,000 to fit out and roof top the premises, which was leased from Swindon Corporation by a firm of Cheltenham promoters. They planned to have room for 1,000 dancers in the main amphitheatre, four bars, one smaller amphitheatre and a restaurant off the quiet bar.

The world

1505: Death of Ivan the Great, Czar of Russia.

1728: Captain James Cook, English naval officer and one of the greatest navigators in history, whose voyages in the Endeavour led to the European discovery of Australia, New Zealand and the Hawaiian Islands, was born.

1782: Niccolo Paganini, virtuoso Italian violinist and composer, was born in Genoa.

1904: The New York subway opened.

1914: The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea. His major work was Under Milk Wood, which began as a radio play in 1954.

1936: Wallis Simpson, the future Duchess of Windsor, was divorced in Ipswich from her husband Ernest.

1958: The first edition of the BBC television programme Blue Peter was transmitted.

1967: The Queen launched the new Cunard cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, at a ceremony on the Clydebank.

1971: The Republic of the Congo changed its name to the Republic of Zaire.

1986: It was Big Bang day on the Stock Exchange, the day the money market was deregulated. But the computer failed and a shambles ensued.

2010: A 1966 World Cup winners’ medal belonging to England player Nobby Stiles was bought for a record-breaking £188,200 by Manchester United.

Birthdays John Cleese, comic actor, 78; Peter Firth, actor, 64; Glenn Hoddle, former footballer and manager, 60; Simon Le Bon, pop singer (Duran Duran), 59; Mark Taylor, cricketer, 53. Lee Clark, former footballer and manager, 45; Vanessa-Mae, violinist, 39; Kelly Osbourne, reality TV star/fashion designer, 33.