1952: Chief Scout Lord Rowallan gave a talk to Swindon Rotary Club, and said the movement realised one could not “...turn little devils into little angels over night. He added: “What we want to do is to turn out men of whom we, and you, can be proud.” Lord Rowallan was the first Chief Scout since Scouting founder Lord Baden Powell came 40 years earlier.

Cricklade and Wootton Bassett Council approved in principle the sale of council houses to sitting tenants. The council’s financial officer, Mr EG Cowley, said that in fixing the selling price of pre-1915 homes, it must aim for an average of £800 in order to pay off existing loans.

1962: Billy Smart’s Circus was due to arrive in town the following week, and put out an appeal for three attractive young Swindon women to ride elephants through the town. No previous experience was necessary, although a head for heights was essential.

An Adver story began: “The frantic beat of twist music, borne on the aroma of sausages and onions, drifted out of the doors of the Gas Showrooms, Temple Street, Swindon, last night.” The South Western Gas Board and a cooker manufacturer held what they called a Twist and Banger session to generate publicity.

1972: Hugely successful Swindon pop singer Gilbert O’Sullivan announced a tour. He had declined to go on the road for two years, blaming shyness, but decided to take the plunge after being voted top singer in a European poll.

A packed Wyvern Theatre audience thoroughly enjoyed their first experience of traditional Romanian dance, according to an Adver reviewer. The Craisorul Ensemble from Brasov had 22 dancers and 10 musicians.


1813: Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born in Le Roncole.

1881: The Savoy Theatre, the first public building to be lit by electricity, opened with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience.

1886: The dinner jacket made its first appearance in public when it was worn by its creator at a ball at the Tuxedo Park Country Club, New York.

1957: A major radiation leak was detected at the Windscale nuclear plant in Cumbria, after an accident three days earlier.

1972: Sir John Betjeman was appointed Poet Laureate.


Murray Walker, former motor racing commentator, 95; Nicholas Parsons, radio and TV personality, 95; Judith Chalmers, TV presenter, 83; Charles Dance, actor, 72; Chris Tarrant, broadcaster, 72; Midge Ure, rock singer, 65; Fiona Fullerton, actress, 62; Martin Kemp, actor/musician, 57.