1951: Men in sober suites, in grimy overalls, in cars, on cycles, on foot and of all ages converged on the Swindon store of John Anstiss. The attraction was Men Only Half Hour after normal closing time at which nylons were offered for sale. The queue stretched from the shop in Havelock Square along to Cromwell Street with thousands of men waiting to do their Christmas shopping. The first 250 men got a pair of stockings at 12 shillings and 11 pence a pair. The next 300 were guaranteed a pair by Christmas but 500 of the men were unlucky.

1951: A meeting in Khartum resulted in a Swindon wedding when Mr Leslie Stuart Matthews, third son of Mr CCR Matthews and the late Mrs Matthews of Shrivenham Road, Swindon, met Mrs Maria Tormassy Radeglia, only child of the late Mr and Mrs Kaliman Tormassy of Budapest, Hungary. The couple were married at Swindon Register Office. They returned to Khartum after wedding as Mr Matthews worked as a meteorologist for the Sudanese Government.

1961: A Christmas fair held in Westcott Swindon Secondary Modern School made a profit of £75 for the Swindon branch of the NSPCC. The attractions included a film show, dancing display by Molly Tanner pupils and music from Wynn Lawrence and Michael Peart plus a visit from Father Christmas.

1961: Nearly 150 parents and friends attended the annual Carol service and Nativity play held at the Westcott Infant School. A full school choir of 100 pupils trained by the headmistress, Mrs M A Cope, led the Carol singing and Class 1 gave the Nativity play produced by Mrs B Mills.

1971: Little Lesley Clifton, three and a half years old, of Brock Meadow, Wroughton near Swindon, was lifted on board a Boeing Jet, which took her and 119 others away on a 12,000 mile journey to spend Christmas with relatives in the British Forces stationed in Hong Kong. Lesley and her mother went to visit her grandfather WO FC Clifton serving with the RAF at Kai Tak Airport.

1971: There were squeals of delight as Father Christmas visited the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon. Helping Father Christmas with his early deliveries were the Mayor of Swindon Coun Arthur Palmer and the Mayoress Mrs Palmer. Many of the children gave Santa letters they had written themselves telling him what they wanted for Christmas.

The world

1654: A meteorological office in Tuscany began daily temperature readings.

1832: Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the French engineer who built the great landmark that bears his name for the Paris Exhibition of 1899, was born.

1890: Chief Sitting Bull, Sioux leader, was shot dead in a scuffle with Indian police.

1939: The premiere of Gone With The Wind took place at Atlanta, Georgia.

1958: The last steam locomotive was made at Crewe. No 92250 was the 7,331st locomotive to be built at the works.

1964: The maple leaf was adopted as the national flag of Canada.

1966: Walt Disney, cartoon film producer and creator, died aged 65.

1979: Two Canadians, Chris Haney and Scott Abbott, came up with the idea for a game called Trivial Pursuit. It was manufactured in 1982 and sold 45 million copies worldwide in its first five years.

1991: More than 470 people drowned when a ferry carrying mainly Egyptian pilgrims sank in the Red Sea.

2014: Nelson Mandela was buried after a funeral ceremony that included a 21-gun salute and fly-overs by military aircraft as well as a eulogy by a traditional African leader wearing an animal skin.

Birthdays: Don Johnson, actor, 68; Joe Jordan, former footballer and coach/manager, 66; Paul Simonon, musician (The Clash), 62; Helen Slater, actress, 54; Carl Hooper, former cricketer, 51; Frankie Dettori, jockey, 47; Adam Brody, actor, 38; Michelle Dockery, actress, 36.