1952: Mr HW Flux, who had served for five years as a senior master at Upper Stratton Secondary Modern School, left to become headmaster of Newport County Boys’ School on the Isle of Wight. Staff and pupils clubbed together to buy him a leather briefcase as a parting gift, which was presented by a school governor, the Rev RG Wolsey.

1952: Swindon Public Libraries Ballet Club revealed it was to be visited and addressed by Mr GBL Wilson, associate editor of The Ballet Annual, who was a member of the Grand Council of the Royal Academy of dancing and founder chairman of the Association of Ballet Clubs. The association’s 50 member clubs one in Canada and one in Denmark. Mr Wilson was well-known and respected in the ballet world for his photographs of the art, in spite of the fact that he was not a photographer but an engineer. He lived in Trowbridge.

1962: A 12-year-old boy returning home from school was the first to spot a barn fire which caused £1,000-worth of damage at a Wroughton farm. Brian Waite, a pupil at Wroughton Secondary Modern School, told an Adver reporter: “When I got off the school bus I noticed part of the farm buildings on fire about a quarter of a mile away.” He told his father, who worked on the farm, and the alarm was raised.

1962: Princess Margaret Hospital’s physiotherapy department hosted a Christmas party for child patients. It included a magic show in which a conjurer bewildered the children by seeming to pour milk into their ears through a funnel.

1972: A diagnostic instrument able to save babies’ lives was donated to Princess Margaret Hospital by the Swindon branch of Lions International. The device, a laparoscope, made internal examination of patients without the need for invasive surgery a reality, which was a significant medical advance at the time.

1972: A bakery in Swindon’s Bridge Street was fined £30 after a cigarette end was discovered baked into one of its bread rolls. Fortunately for the customer who bought it, the item was revealed after he took a single bite. The company said it had a strict anti-smoking policy in working areas.


1560: The first General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was held.

1915: Australian, New Zealand and British troops were evacuated from the ill-fated Gallipoli expedition.

1928: Harry Ramsden started his fish and chip restaurant in a hut in Guiseley, near Leeds, which soon became the most famous in the world.

1957: At the height of his career, Elvis Presley received his call-up papers.

1961: The London bells of St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, began chiming again. They are the Bow Bells in the rhyme Oranges And Lemons, within the range of whose sound true Cockneys must be born.

1982: Two Townsend Thoresen ferries collided off Harwich with the loss of six lives.

1990: The last remaining pit in the Rhondda - Maerdy Colliery - closed after the afternoon shift finished, ending more than a century of coal mining.

2017: More than 4.5 million people were heading abroad over Christmas and the new year, figures showed.


Uri Geller, spoon-bender and psychic, 72; Jenny Agutter, actress, 66; Billy Bragg, rock singer, 61; Simon Hughes, broadcaster and cricketer, 59; Robert Cavanah, actor, 53; George Lamb, radio and TV presenter, 39; Ashley Cole, footballer, 38; Jonah Hill, actor, 35.