1952: Sir Noel Arkell spoke on Chinese snuff bottles at a meeting of St Paul’s Fellowship, Swindon. He described the material, skills, art and design used in making the bottles and he displayed some of his own collection. There were about 45 present at the meeting, and the Rev W E Lambeth presided.

1962: Staff Sergeant Middleton, USAF, had an urgent problem when he stopped his car to chat to PC Fletcher in Devizes Road, Swindon. His wife, Mrs Bennie Middleton who was with him in the car, was expecting a baby and had to reach the American hospital at Burderop quickly. The sergeant could not find his way through the traffic diversions intended to close the Devizes Road Bridge. PC Fletcher jumped into the car and directed him all the way to Burderop before the relieved father-to-be drove him back to Swindon.

1972: Contractors investigated complaints that houses in Eldene - the Swindon showplace urban village - let in water when it rained hard. Residents claimed that the Swindon Corporation and the clerk of works had turned a deaf ear to their complaints. Sixty six people in the buildings at Collingsmead had complained about the conditions saying the curtains had been ruined through rain coming in and paint was flaking off the walls.


1628: Charles Perrault, French writer and collector of fairy tales was born in Paris. His Tales Of Mother Goose included Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Puss In Boots.

1866: The Royal Aeronautical Society was founded.

1879: The British-Zulu War began.

1948: The London Co-op opened the first supermarket in Britain at Manor Park.

1959: Henry Cooper became the British and European heavyweight boxing champion when he defeated Brian London on points.

1960: Nevil Shute, popular author, notably of A Town Like Alice, died in Melbourne, Australia, where he had emigrated in 1950.

1970: Nigeria’s civil war ended when the Biafran army surrendered.

1976: Crime writer Dame Agatha Christie died, aged 85.

1982: Mark Thatcher disappeared in the Sahara while on the Paris-Dakar rally. He was later spotted by a search plane and rescued.

1987: Prince Edward resigned from the Royal Marines.

1990: The break-up of the USSR began as the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania prepared for secession.

2010: A severe 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. The confirmed death toll rose above 150,000 in the Port-au-Prince area alone.

2017: A thief was been caught on camera smuggling a 2ft python from an Oregon pet shop - by stuffing it down his trousers.

BIRTHDAYS Des O’Connor, singer/presenter, 86; Michael Aspel, TV presenter, 85; Maggie Bell, singer/songwriter, 73; Anthony Andrews, actor, 70; Brendan Foster, athletics commentator, 70; Howard Stern, radio DJ, 64; Melanie Chisholm, singer (Spice Girls), 44; Gemma Arterton, actress, 32.