1952: After Mr Laurence Housman, the dramatist and poet, finished reading some of his own work, in Swindon, the Rev V D Siddons, president of Swindon and District Council of Christian Churches, said it was a great pity that so many silly people in Swindon had not come to the poet’s second visit in 30 years. Mr Housman was visiting as part of the Festival of Christian Art.

1952: A record number of entries, 473, had been recorded for this year’s Swindon Musical Festival, which had the approval of the Borough Library Committee for its arrangements. 450 were eligible for the final programme. The adjudicators were Mr B E Hylton Stewart director of music at Marlborough College and Mr John Clements, director of music at Dartington Hall.

1962: Thirty-two hairstylists competed at the Swindon Town Hall in the annual hairstyling competition, organised by the Swindon women’s branch of the National Hairdressers Federation. The standard of craftsmanship was very high. The styles this year were all short. For the first time a class of evening styles was held. Mrs Anne Carter was the winner, she had been a hairstylist for four years.

1962: Swindon’s High Street has undergone a facelift including a bright splash of colour from the Limmex shop built on the corner of High Street and Wood Street which was painted two shades of green. Next door, Mr H Smith’s butchery, one of the oldest shops on the street, had been painted pink and black. One of the most impressive buildings, the offices of Messrs Townsends the solicitors, had had its stone front cleaned. The facelift had come about through the traders working with the North Wiltshire Society.

1972: Mr Fred Coleman was honoured by the Swindon Schools FA after the Cabot Cup match, for the last 21 years service that he had given to them, partly as team manager and partly as secretary. Mr George Gleed, vice chairman and assistant secretary, presented Mr Coleman with an illuminated address and a cheque. In the audience were representatives from every one of the 21 teams that Fred had managed.

1972: Temple Court was the name proposed for the new £2 development scheme for the Temple Street, Regent Street area of the town centre. The Swindon Council had given the go-ahead for the scheme which included offices, shops and showrooms. The man behind the scheme was former estate agent Peter Long who said he felt it would be an attractive adjunct to the civic centre area.


1405: Pope Pius II was born. Pope Gregory XII also died on this day in 1417, as did Pope Pius III, who died in 1503.

1826: The last state lottery was held in Britain.

1910: The trial of Dr Crippen began at the Old Bailey. He was eventually convicted and hanged for the murder of his wife Cora.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company was officially formed.

1926: Bing Crosby made his first commercial recording, I’ve Got The Girl.

1961: Henri Matisse’s Le Bateau attracted big crowds when it went on show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was not until 116,000 people had seen it, 46 days later, that someone noticed it was hanging upside down.

1967: The Soviet Union successfully sent a space probe into the atmosphere of the planet Venus for the first time.

1977: German anti-terror troops stormed a hi-jacked Lufthansa airliner at Mogadishu, Somalia, killing three Palestinian terrorists and freeing all hostages.

2017: Tinder brings out the basic mating instincts of men and women as they choose between beauty and brains, a study revealed.


Barry Gifford, novelist, 72; Martina Navratilova, former tennis star, 62; Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor/director, 58; Wynton Marsalis, jazz trumpeter/composer, 58; Michael Stich, former tennis player, 50; Robbie Savage, former footballer/pundit, 44; Zac Efron, actor, 31.