1952: Messrs John Laing and Son Ltd of London, building and civil engineering contractors, have completed their 1,000th house which they have built in Swindon. The house at Moredon, which had been given to the Corporation by the firm, was formally opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Swindon, Ald and Mrs A Leonard.

1962: The latest dance craze to hit Swindon was the Twist. Doctors said it may cause a slip disc, dance hall managers threatened to ban it for being too sexy, but the young people of Swindon said it was just fun. The dance craze came over from the United States with singer Chubby Checker. Members of Swindon’s rock ‘n’ roll club, Club X at Walcot Common Room, leapt into action on the dance floor when local group The Strykneen played suitable Twist music.

1972: Stratton St Margaret Parish Council aimed to ban fox hunting. At their meeting councillors asked the clerk to see if a by-law could be introduced forbidding fox hunting within the parish boundaries. Coun Brian Cockbill said the idea followed a recent incident in Kingsdown where the hounds chased a fox into a garden.


1650: Nell Gwyn, orange seller who became a comedy actress and then mistress of Charles II, was born in London.

1709: The real Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, on whom Daniel Defoe based his famous novel, was rescued after spending five years on the uninhabited islands of Juan Fernandez.

1852: Britain’s first gentlemen’s toilets opened in Fleet Street, followed on February 11 by the first ‘Ladies’, just off the Strand. They were dubbed ‘Public Waiting Rooms’.

1878: Greece declared war on Turkey.

1880: The first imported frozen meat from Australia arrived in Britain.

1882: Author James Joyce was born in Dublin. His masterpiece Ulysses was published on this same day in 1922.

1914: Cub Scouts were formed in England, the first pack was in Sussex.

1943: The last pockets of German resistance to the Russians finally crumbled in Stalingrad.

1972: A mob in Dublin burned down the British Embassy in protest at the Bloody Sunday killings in Londonderry the previous weekend.

1979: Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, on bail charged with killing girlfriend Nancy Spungen, died of a heroin overdose in New York.

1986: New Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev blamed predecessor Leonid Brezhnev for years of stagnation and vowed to implement radical reforms.

1990: South African president FW de Klerk lifted the 30-year ban on the African National Congress, the South African Communist Party and 30 other anti-apartheid organisations.

2014: Oscar-winning US actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died from “acute mixed drug intoxication” at his New York apartment.

2017: Figures revealed that England’s most selective universities were still taking a lower proportion of state school teenagers than many other institutions.

BIRTHDAYS Sir Norman Fowler, politician, 80; David Jason, actor, 78; Graham Nash, singer/drummer with The Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash, 76; Andrew Davis, conductor, 74; Libby Purves, broadcaster/author, 68; Ken Bruce, broadcaster, 67; Christie Brinkley, model, 64; Stephen McGann, actor, 55; Gemma Arterton, actress, 32.