1952: A butcher replaced an auctioneer as president of Swindon Chamber of Commerce. HG Lane, vice-president for the past year, had been a member of the chamber for six years. He was in turn replaced as vice-president by Mr GD Howse, director of an electrical wholesaling firm. Mr Howse had worked in the fortifications beneath Corsham during World War Two and later moved to a job at Moredon Power Station.

1962: A motorist who improvised when his rear lights failed ended up before Swindon magistrates. The driver had taken two cycle lamps, covered their lenses with red paper and tied them to his rear bumper. This earned him a £1 fine for not having proper lights, and he was also fined £2 for having a defective silencer, £1 for not having his rear number plate illuminated and £3 for driving as a learner without supervision.

1972: Swindon Hospitals Broadcast Society launched an urgent appeal for records. Assistant programme organiser Ray Bewes said stocks were becoming inadequate and that donations of singles and albums were needed. All genres from classical to chart pop would be welcome, he added.


AD41: The mad Roman Emperor Caligula was assassinated.

AD76: The Roman Emperor Hadrian was born. It was on his orders that Hadrian’s Wall was built in Britain “to separate the Romans from the Barbarians”.

1670: Playwright William Congreve was born near Leeds.

1848: James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s sawmill in California to spark the great Gold Rush.

1916: Conscription was introduced in Britain.

1922: The first performance of William Walton’s Facade took place in the Sitwell family drawing room in Carlyle Square, London.

1935: Canned beer went on sale for the first time, made by Krueger brewery of Richmond, Virginia.

1965: Sir Winston Churchill died, aged 90. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had died on the same date 70 years earlier.

1976: Margaret Thatcher was dubbed The Iron Lady in the Soviet newspaper Red Star, after a speech about the Communist threat.

1986: Staff of The Sun and News of the World newspapers were told they were moving to London’s Docklands - the start of a press exodus from Fleet Street.

1997: The Archers celebrated its 12,000th episode. The Radio 4 series drew an average 4.5 million listeners each week.


Desmond Morris, Swindon-born zoologist and ethologist, 90; Bamber Gascoigne, writer and broadcaster, 83; Neil Diamond, singer, 77; Aaron Neville, R&B singer, 77; Michael Des Barres, singer/actor, 70; Adrian Edmondson, actor, 61; Jools Holland, musician/TV presenter, 60; Vic Reeves, comedian, 59; Tatyana Ali, actress and singer, 39.