1952: The president of Blunsdon Women's Institute told members at their monthly meeting that many local people were unhappy at press reports suggesting villagers were happy with their bus shelters. In fact, said Mrs E Francis, the shelters - converted railway carriages - were in a disgraceful state. Members agreed to send a letter to the parish council, asking for new shelters to be built.

1952: The recently-widowed Queen sent a letter to Rodbourne Community Centre Silver Threads Swindon, an organisation for senior citizens, thanking them for their message of condolence at her loss. The letter was read out at a meeting of the group, and later there was music in aid of the outing fund, provided by Jimmy Smart's accordion band.

1962: A Swindon band, the New Don Jones Music, had formed only five months earlier but had already been invited to appear on BBC radio. The band was due to head for the corporation's Bristol studios the following month to take part in an as-yet unnamed musical series. The group had originated from the former Don Jones Orchestra.

1962: Visiting the nearest Dr Barnardo's homes at Hatherleybrake and Badgeworth Court near Chippenham, members of the Swindon branch of the Barnardo's Helpers' League noticed the need for bicycles and tricycles in both the boys' and girls' homes. The committee, which had already raised more than £2,000 for the charity from whist drives and a New Year's Eve Ball, immediately launched a new bicycle and tricycle appeal.

1972: Swindon MP David Stoddart hit out at the attitudes shown by certain public officials toward people with disabilities. One of the cases he highlighted was that of a woman who used a tricycle to get around but was unable to use it for four months because the local authority kept failing to adapt her garden path.

1972: The switch to natural gas from dirtier and more dangerous coal gas began in the Swindon area. A 100-strong South West Gas team began conversion work in the Purton and Cricklade area, and officials reported that the project was progressing smoothly. In addition to converting the mains and clearing them of old gas, the teams had to convert many domestic appliances because natural gas burns at higher temperatures than coal gas.


Circa 270: St Valentine was thought to have been martyred by Roman Emperor Claudius II.

1766: Thomas Robert Malthus, economist and author of An Essay On The Principles Of Population (1798), was born. He saw famine, disease and disaster as a method of controlling the earth's fast-growing population.

1779: Captain James Cook, British explorer, was murdered by natives in Hawaii.

1822: Britain's postal services had to employ extra sorters as the fashion of sending messages to loved ones on this day continued to grow in popularity.

1895: The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde had its premiere in London.

1929: The St Valentine's Day Massacre took place in a Chicago warehouse. Seven members of Bugs Moran's gang were gunned down, probably by mobsters from Al Capone's outfit.

1946: The Bank of England was nationalised.

1975: Sir Pelham Grenville (PG) Wodehouse, KBE, known affectionately as 'Plum' and writer of many humorous novels, notably the Jeeves series, died in the United States, aged 93.

1984: Britain's Torvill and Dean skated their way to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, getting maximum points for artistic expression.

2013: Olympic and Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius was arrested on suspicion of murder after his girlfriend was shot dead at his home.

2017: Television cook Prue Leith was announced as the replacement to Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off, following the show's changes.


Carl Bernstein, Watergate journalist, 74; Alan Parker, film director, 74; Kevin Keegan, former footballer and ex-England manager, 67; Meg Tilly, actress, 58; Simon Pegg, actor/comedian, 48; Dean Gaffney, actor, 40; Rhydian Roberts, singer, 35; David Wheater, footballer, 31.