1952: An electrician working in a room above a Wood Street chemist's shop uncovered a piece of history. Mr IF Harman moved an attic floorboard aside and saw what turned out to be a copy of an old newspaper called the Freeman, dated May 7, 1856. In good condition and tied neatly with string, it included transcripts of speeches by important 19th century politicians including Disraeli and Palmerston, as well as an announcement of a thanksgiving service marking the end of the Crimean War.

1952: Police inspector RC Betteridge poked gentle fun at cyclists during a meeting and quiz organised in Upper Stratton by road safety campaigners. He said: "Swindon cyclists are always in a hurry. I do not know what they get for dinner, but nowadays it is not often I have anything to chase home for. When they want to turn, out go their arms and they go across - but sometimes they don't get their dinner at all!"

1962: Irritating and alarming ruts in Winifred Street would soon be repaired, a South Western Gas Board spokesman pledged. He blamed recent sudden changes in temperature for for the subsidence of temporarily filled-in trenches which had been dug during repairs.

1962: An unnamed 72-year-old Adver reader was sorting through some old photographs when he discovered a postcard he had lost about 50 years earlier. It showed a crowd scene at the Swindon Children's Fete, held by the GWR in what later became Faringdon Road Park. Among that crowd were the reader, then aged about 12, and his father.

1972: Oil firm Burmah, which aimed to save about £500,000 a year when it moved to new headquarters in Swindon in 1973, said it was in the process of negotiating a sub-letting deal for a 115,000 square foot office block it owned in London. Burmah was asking £750,000 a year in rent.

1972: TV, radio, theatre and music hall star Irene Handl was one of the celebrities lined up to take part in a Swindon recording of the BBC's Any Questions? current events radio programme. She was due to appear alongside TUC leader Vic Feather, broadcaster Robin Ray and Conservative politician Lord Mancroft.


1645: Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud was beheaded on Tower Hill for


1840: Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Post - 112,000 letters were posted in London on the first day.

1863: The London Underground railway was opened by William Gladstone. The Metropolitan Railway went from Paddington to Farringdon Street, stopping at seven stations.

1880: Grock the circus clown was born as Adrien Wettach in Switzerland.

1890: Cleopatra's tomb was discovered.

1901: The first oil strike - in Texas.

1920: The League of Nations held its first meeting at Geneva. It was dissolved in 1946 and replaced by the United Nations.

1929: The cartoon character Tintin appeared for the first time.

1935: The so-called King and Queen of Hollywood, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, were divorced.

1971: Coco Chanel, French fashion designer and one of the most influential

couturiers of the 20th century, died aged 87.

1985: Eight people were killed in a gas blast in Putney, south-west London.

2007: David Beckham agreed to sign a five-year deal with US side Los Angeles Galaxy worth #128 million.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Sherlock fans were delighted when it was announced they would have the chance to put their own powers of

deduction to the test with a special case written to be solved on social media.


Rod Stewart, rock singer, 73; Aynsley Dunbar, rock drummer, 72; Donald Fagen, rock musician, 70; George Foreman, former boxer, 69; Pat Benatar, rock singer, 65; Shawn Colvin, folk singer, 62; Caroline Langrishe, actress, 60; Brian Cowen, former Irish prime minister, 58; Ian Poulter, golfer, 42.