1952: A programme of special Swindon Museum exhibitions for 1953 was outlined at a meeting of Swindon Town Council Libraries Committee. A diverse array of planned themes included the development of the motorcycle, the Italian Renaissance, English domestic silver and Sheffield plate jewellery and Islamic art. Items for the motorcycle exhibition were to be sourced locally, with the rest coming from the Victorian and Albert Museum.

1952: Mr and Mrs Sam Milton, who lived in Swindon’s Turner Street, were about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, but weren’t sure whether the true date was the 12th or the 14th. Mr Milton was a former soldier, having enlisted in 1889 and served in the Boer War and World War One. In civilian life he worked at the GWR Works. Mr Milton was 81 and his wife 80.

1962: Several hundred milk bottles were broken when a car hit a stationary milk float in Penhill Drive, Swindon Borough Magistrates’ Court heard. The car driver was fined £7 and his licence endorsed - a measure similar to modern penalty points - after admitting careless driving. He said he hadn’t noticed the milk float as he had been waving to the paper boy.

1962: The writer of a letter threatening to blow up the Old Town railway station unless the police stopped investigating a spate of break-ins at cafes and shops had been traced, officers said, and inquiries were ongoing. The letter came to light after an Adver reporter was directed by an anonymous telephone call to look between the pages of a directory in an Okus Road kiosk.

1972: Thamesdown was announced as the most likely name for the planned new borough, including Swindon, which was set to be created in local government reforms planned for 1974. The name was not among the 30 suggestions put forward by the public in a competition to decide a new name, and was instead taken from a list considered by a joint committee of Swindon and Highworth councillors. The name went on to be widely disliked throughout its 23-year existence.

1972: Wootton Bassett councillor Eric Hodges announced that he would personally kill any stray dog which bit one of his three children. The councillor had grown frustrated by what he saw as the failure by local authorities to tackle the problem of vicious strays in the area.


1770: Scottish explorer James Bruce discovered the source of the Blue Nile.

1840: Impressionist painter Claude Monet was born in Paris.

1896: The speed limit for horseless carriages was raised from 4mph (2mph in towns) to 14mph. It was marked by the first London to Brighton car run, which became a regular and official event from 1927.

1922: The British Broadcasting Company began daily transmissions. At 6pm the news was read by Arthur Burrows, once at normal speed and once at slow speed.

1932: Book tokens went on sale in Britain for the first time.

1940: Coventry Cathedral was destroyed by enemy bombing. More than 1,000 civilians died in the raid.

1941: The aircraft carrier Ark Royal sank near Gibraltar after being hit by an enemy torpedo.

1952: Britain’s first hit parade was published in the New Musical Express. Al Martino’s Here In My Heart was the first number one.

1963: A volcanic eruption under the sea off Iceland created the new island of Surtsey.

2010: British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler left Somalia after more than a year in captivity. The retired couple were abducted as they sailed their yacht off the Seychelles in October 2009.

2017: A painting bought by Queen Victoria as a Christmas present for Prince Albert, which was long thought to be a fake, was proved to be a genuine work.


PJ O’Rourke, writer, 71; The Prince Of Wales, 70; Bernard Hinault, cyclist - five-time winner of the Tour de France, 64; Letitia Dean, actress, 51; Adam Gilchrist, former cricketer, 47; Faye Tozer, former Steps singer, 43; Russell Tovey, actor, 37.