1952: More than 100 musicians from Boscombe Citadel, Swindon Citadel and Gorse Hill Salvation Army Band played in the brass band festival at the Central Hall in Swindon. The festival raised £20 for the Swindon Citadel building fund. The Mayoress Mrs A E Long presided. Bandmaster Snook thanked all those who took part.

1952: Nearly 70 old people, members of the Gorse Hill Community Centre, were given tea and entertainment at the centre. Joining them for tea were the Mayoress Mrs A E Long, Coun R S J Joney, Mr F Tombs, chairman, and Miss D E Ford, secretary. Among those who entertained were the Vickers Armstrong Panto group and Mr Clayton West who played the clavioline.

1962: An unusual SOS was received by Swindon RSPCA from a 12-year-old girl, Valerie Archer, from Reid’s Place in Purton. Valerie rang to say her four guinea pigs were running out of food and she could not get into Swindon as the buses were not running. Mr A F Wilkinson, the Swindon RSPCA inspector, made it through the snow in his van, bringing oats and bran to her home. He later received a letter of thanks from Valerie and a donation to the charity.

1962: Deputy Director of American Libraries Association, Mrs G T Stevenson, who was touring European Libraries, to discuss library extension activities, had talks with Swindon Librarian Mr H Jolliffe. The Swindon librarian had not long finished a book on the subject, which had been published. She said that Swindon had been a must on her list, and sections of Mr Jolliffe’s book were expounded on in her conclusions from the tour.

1972: Walcot and Park Silver Threads section of the Swindon British Legion celebrated the Legion’s new royal title at its annual dinner. Guests were told that the Swindon group and all other British Legion groups were able to use the prefix royal on all their publicity. The guest speaker at the dinner was Swindon MP David Stoddart.

1972: Swindon Civil Servants called for staging protests at the House of Commons against what they called unfair pay treatment. More than 50 of them in the Albert Street offices of the Department of Health and Social Security stopped work during the National Strike and claimed that the Government had brought in a bad wage deal for its own employees.


1567: The first state lottery was held in England - 40,000 lots at 10 shillings each were available from St Paul’s Cathedral.

1753: Sir Hans Sloane, British physician and naturalist, whose collection formed the nucleus of the British Museum, died.

1857: Fred Archer, champion jockey who had 2,748 wins including five Derbys, was born.

1858: H Gordon Selfridge, founder of the London Department Store, was born in Ripon, Wisconsin.

1917: A patriotic appeal was launched for the nation to subscribe to the new War Loan, to finance the staggering cost of the conflict (£5.7 million a day).

1922: Insulin was first used successfully in the treatment of diabetes.

1928: Thomas Hardy, English poet and novelist, died in his native Dorset aged 87.

1973: The Open University awarded its first degrees.

1974: The first surviving sextuplets were born in South Africa.

1989: The second Battle of Naseby was lost when judges refused to halt the M1-A1 link across a field where Cromwell was defeated by Royalists in 1645.

1993: Richard Branson won a legal victory after British Airways apologised for a”dirty tricks campaign” against Virgin Atlantic Airways.

2018: Police in Paris recovered some jewels stolen from the Ritz Hotel in a multimillion-euro robbery, but were still searching for two thieves and the rest of the missing luxury merchandise.


Arthur Scargill, former mineworkers’ union leader, 81; Anna Calder-Marshall, actress, 72; Ben Crenshaw, golfer, 67; John Sessions, comic/actor, 66; Phyllis Logan, actress, 63; Bryan Robson, former footballer, 62; Jason Connery, actor, 56; Mary J Blige, rap singer, 48; Emile Heskey, former footballer, 41.