1952: Alexandre Dumas’ mythical creation of Black Tulip came true at a Highworth allotment when a tulip grown by Mr GH Prosser of Elm Court, Stratton St Margaret, grew four blooms on one stem and a leaf as black as the flowers. The bulb it was grown from came via a Marlborough firm, the name of which was appropriately La Noire.

1952: Ascension Day Services at St Paul’s Church, Swindon, were conducted by the vicar, the Rev WE Lambeth. The Rev KE Cheal (curate) assisted at a Song Eucharist. Following the services about half the congregation of 70 had breakfast in the Parish Hall, Edgware Road. One hundred school pupils attended the second service.

1962: The Director General of Supplies and Transport at the War Office, Major-General PG Turpin paid his first visit to the No 1 Army Air Supply Organisation at Arnhem Camp, Watchfield. After inspecting a quarter guard, the director, accompanied by Brigadier JR Reynolds, was shown around the organisation by the officer commanding, Lt Col WC Grierson.

1962: Hazel Gibson, this year’s Swindon Dairy Maid, received a kiss from TV presenter Johnny Morris when he opened the Swindon Dairy Festival, which was held in Regent Circus.

1972: Seventy-two teams entered the Jubilee Six-A-Side Football Cup Competition planned for the County Ground extension. The competition was the joint effort of the Swindon and District League and Swindon Borough branch. A new stage was also being built at the Country Ground’s new North Stand for the planned variety show.

1972: Wootton Bassett has a new Barclays Bank branch in the High Street. The Eric Cole Design Group re-modelled the premises which were previously a greengrocer’s shop. The day to day running of the Wootton Bassett office was taken on by Mr John Corbey, 41, who joined Barclays in 1947 in Oxford.


1686: Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, German physicist who invented the mercury thermometer, was born.

1809: Dartmoor Prison was opened to house French prisoners of war. From 1850 it was used for convicts.

1819: Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace.

1862: London’s Westminster Bridge opened.

1895: The first stage knighthood was conferred, on Sir Henry Irving.

1916: Conscription began in Britain.

1941: The German battleship Bismarck sank HMS Hood off Greenland with the loss of more than 1,400 lives.

1969: The Black And White Minstrel Show, at London’s Victoria Palace, closed after 4,354 performances in seven years.

1974: Jazz musician, bandleader and composer Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington died.

1978: Princess Margaret’s 18-year marriage to Lord Snowdon was ended by a special procedure divorce.

2017: The Queen dispensed with her regal robes while attending a national service which was celebrating the Order of the British Empire.


Bob Dylan, singer/songwriter, 77; Patti LaBelle, singer, 74; DavePeacock, singer (Chas & Dave), 73; Priscilla Presley, actress, 73; Jim Broadbent, actor, 69; Alfred Molina, actor, 65; Rosanne Cash, country singer, 63; Kristin Scott Thomas, actress, 58; Eric Cantona, former footballer, 52; Jo Joyner, actress, 41.