1952: Haymaking began, and the Adver reported that for miles around Swindon entire families spent the day building stacks. They would have continued long into the night, we said, but the thin sliver of moon was not bright enough to work by. The scent of diesel from tractors blended with that of dried grass, and clouds of dust were seen. Entire families laboured, from men in little more than trousers and boots to young girls in straw hats and summer dresses.

1952: Workers laying a sewer in Chiseldon discovered an old road - buried eight feet below a current one. The roadway had been raised during the previous century, when the arrival of the railway made the civil engineering feat essential.

1962: The funeral of Mrs Katie Knapp, who had lived to 91, was conducted by her son, the Rev George Knapp, at the parish church of St Mary’s in Rodbourne Cheney. Mrs Knapp’s late husband had also been a clergyman. The Rev ER Knapp had been Rodbourne Cheney’s vicar. Among those present to pay their respects were several of Mrs Knapp’s colleagues from the Mothers’ Union, which she had strongly supported.

1962: A talk about rabbit diseases was given to 20 members of the Wootton Bassett branch of the Western Rabbit Meat Producers. The venue was the assembly room at the Red Lion, and the speaker was Mr J Elton. It was decided during the evening that the branch should have a stall at the annual Wootton Bassett Show in August.

1972: Purton villagers voted overwhelmingly to transfer responsibility for running the village centre from its management committee to the parish council. Parish council chairman Peter Comley said: “We feel that if parish money is spent at the centre we must have at least some control over the people who spend it.” He added that it was important that the centre was not taken over by a private interest.

1972: The draft plan for a new neighbourhood in West Swindon, Toothill, was soon to be put on display at the Town Hall for a week before being displayed in Wootton Bassett. Plans for the 300-acre site included 1,500 homes plus shops, schools and a community hall.


1450: Jack Cade, Irish-born physician, led an insurrection march of 40,000 through Kent to London to protest about laws of Henry VI. He was later beheaded.

1693: The Ladies’ Mercury, the first magazine for women, was published.

1746: Fresh from his defeat at Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped over the sea to Skye, disguised as Irish maid Betty Burke. Flora MacDonald was with him.

1844: Joseph Smith, the American founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in 1830, was killed in Carthage Jail in Illinois.

1859: Mildred Hill, teacher and composer of Happy Birthday To You, was born. She wrote the song, originally called Good Morning To All, to brighten up morning assembly for children. It is the most frequently sung song in English.

1954: The first nuclear power station opened at Obninsk in Russia.

1967: Britain’s first cash dispenser was opened by Barclay’s Bank in Enfield.

1971: The first national Scrabble competition was held in London and was won by teacher Stephen Haskell.

1976: Six Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France Airbus from Athens and forced it to fly to Entebbe in Uganda.

1990: In Brussels, the European Commission ordered the Government to force British Aerospace to repay £44.4 million of “sweeteners” tied to the sale of the Rover Group.

2017: A 14-year-old boy took Japan by storm with a record-breaking start to his professional career in the country’s version of chess.


Ross Perot, US tycoon and former presidential hopeful, 88; Tommy Cannon, comedian, 80; Shirley Anne Field, actress, 82; Vera Wang, fashion designer, 69; Mary McAleese, former president of the Irish Republic, 67; Isabelle Adjani, actress, 63; Tobey Maguire, actor, 43; Kevin Pietersen, cricketer, 38; Khloe Kardashian, reality television star, 34.