1951: It was General Election day, with voters eventually deciding that Labour under Clement Attlee should be replaced by the Conservatives under Winston Churchill. The earliest voter at one Swindon polling station, St Barnabas Church Hall, in Gorse Hill, was 82-year-old Annie Smith.

1951: One of two budgerigars which escaped from Whitworth Road when an aviary was broken into was found at the Cypress Grove home of Mr and Mrs J Marsh. Mrs Marsh said: “I heard the fluttering of wings and a bird chattering. I found a bird sitting on the table. The door and window had not been opened so it must have come down the chimney.”

1961: Three unnamed boys, aged nine, 12 and 13, admitted shoplifting after raiding the stationery department at Woolworth’s. Swindon Borough Juvenile Court heard that the haul included small notebooks, two larger books, a rubber and two pens. The chairman of the bench, Mr WJ Lewis, fined each boy 10 shillings - 50p - and said he hoped the sums would be taken from the boys’ pocket money.

1961: The new landlord of Wroughton’s Swan Inn, Sidney Victor Taylor, had spent the previous seven years running the Marlborough College Combined Cadet Force. He was a friend of the college’s art master, Guy Barton, who was happy to lend him two paintings to be displayed. One was a North Country landscape and the other a still life with a cyclamen.

1971: The Plessey Retired Employees’ Fair was held at St Andrew’s Church Hall in Walcot. One of the most popular attractions was an electronic game in which competitors had to keep a steady hand as they guided a loop of metal along an undulating wire without setting off a buzzer.

1971: Kay Osborne, of Station Road in South Cerney, was about to take an exam in order to become a football referee. However, even if she passed she wouldn’t be allowed to use the qualification because the Football Association didn’t recognise female referees.

The world

1400: Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales, died.

1415: The Battle of Agincourt took place at which the heavily outnumbered English Army of Henry V defeated the French.

1825: Johann Strauss the Younger, Austrian composer of waltzes such as The Blue Danube and operettas including Die Fledermaus, was born in Vienna.

1881: Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter and creator of Cubism, was born in Malaga, Andalusia.

1936: The first radio request programme was broadcast. A station in Berlin introduced You Ask - We Play.

1951: Margaret Thatcher was, at 26, the youngest candidate to stand at a general election. The Tories won overall by a narrow margin but she failed to win her seat.

1961: The first edition of Private Eye, the British satirical magazine, was published.

1964: President Kaunda took power in Zambia.

1983: US Marines invaded Grenada.


Alan Smith, former cricketer, 81; Helen Reddy, singer, 76; Anne Tyler, novelist, 76; Fred Housego, TV personality, 73; Jon Anderson, singer (Yes), 73; Glynis Barber, actress, 62; Phil Daniels, actor, 59; Michael Lynagh, former rugby player, 54; Mathieu Amalric, French actor, 52; Zadie Smith, author, 42; Natasha Khan, singer, 38; Shaun Wright-Phillips, footballer, 36; Katy Perry, singer, 33.