1950: Princess Elizabeth’s memorable visit to Swindon ended when, at the cheers of thousands of railway workers in overalls, she mounted the footplate of the locomotive bearing her name and after smiling and waving at the crowd the Princess sounded the whistle to set the engine pulling the Royal Coach, in motion. She drove it from the works to the Junction station.

1950: On completing her three-day adjudicating at the Swindon Musical Festival, Mrs Muriel Dawn, reviewed the competition and had nothing but praise for the choirs, which she said had given her tremendous joy, and for the younger boys and girl singers, but she deplored the men’s singing and said that the women singers and most of the pianists were not up to standard.

1961: Excavations at a gravel pit near Lechlade have uncovered the remains of a Romano-British settlement. The works throw more light on the way of life of everyday people. Finds have been made on the site since the 1930s but it was not until 1957 that the full scale investigation opened. Finds included a Triton plaque in black Samian ware, a perforated clay whistle and a rare early first century brooch.

1961: Arthur Inds of the Circle, Pinehurst, Swindon wanted to donate something for the Pinehurst Methodist Church Bazaar so he gave his own live pet bantam. The bird was just one of the many varied items on sale at the bazaar organised by the Women’s Fellowship in aid of church funds. In the evening there was a concert given by the Vera Bennett Concert Party featuring David Wainwright.

1971: New interests have been found since their marriage by Lord and Lady Gawain Douglas, who met when they were students at the Royal Academy of Music. Lord Douglas has taken a six month training course in stockbroking while studying piano privately at home. His wife Nicolette, 23, whose mother and step father are Major General William and Rosemary Abraham from Kencot Manor, Lechlade, has temporarily given up teaching piano and guitar because she is having a baby.

1971: A move by Conservative members in Swindon to send a Help Our Schools deputation to Whitehall was passed by Swindon Borough Council. The deputation was to meet Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the Secretary of State for Education and Science to tell her of the urgent need for money for improvements to schools at Kings, Queen and Southern wards of Swindon.

The world

1724: Highwayman Jack Sheppard was hanged in front of 200,000 people at Tyburn.

1824: Explorers Hamilton Hume and William H Hovell discovered Australia’s Murray River.

1869: The formal opening of the Suez Canal took place. It had taken 10 years to make the 100-mile canal devised by Ferdinand de Lesseps.

1896: Oswald Mosley, English Fascist leader, was born.

1920: The Bolsheviks defeated the White Russians in the Crimea, ending Russia’s Civil War.

1937: MPs voted in favour of air raid shelters being erected in towns and cities. Winston Churchill insisted they were ‘’indispensable’’. Labour opposed this, fearing it would mean a big rise in rates.

1959: The Sound Of Music, a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, opened on Broadway.

1960: Clark Gable, the ‘’King of Hollywood’’ and Oscar winner, died after shooting the final scenes of The Misfits opposite Marilyn Monroe.

1989: A pillar of South African apartheid crumbled when beach access restrictions were removed by president FW de Klerk.

Birthdays Willie Carson, former jockey, 75; Marg Helgenberger, actress, 59; Frank Bruno, former boxer, 56; Steve Bould, coach and former Arsenal footballer, 55; Diana Krall, singer and pianist, 53; Paul Scholes, former footballer, 43; Danny Wallace, actor, filmmaker and writer, 41; Maggie Gyllenhaal, actress, 40.