1953: John William Philpin, stationmaster at Old Town since 1938, died aged 58 at St Margaret’s Hospital in Stratton St Margaret. He had suffered heart trouble for some time. Originally from Pembrokeshire, Mr Philpin joined the Great Western Railway shortly before World War One, during which he served with the Welsh Guards in France. He subsequently resumed his career with a job as a booking clerk at a station near Swansea and was steadily promoted.

1953: Piercing tones and other strange noises were put through the latest Garrard speakers during a talk about the mechanics of sound reproduction. It was delivered by a senior staff member, Mr EW Mortimer, to members of the Swindon Engineering Society, an organisation run by British Railways.

1963: The Standing Conference of Swindon Women’s Organisations was asked for its help in finding “sensitive, sympathetic” women who might be interested in leading informal discussion groups for girls wanting to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Swindon’s Further Education Organiser, Mr R Clarke, told members that the scheme for boys and girls had begun in a small way in Swindon, and that although the response had been good there was a need for more instructors, especially for girls.

1963: Swindon Borough Council decided to terminate the communal heating system on Moredon’s Manor Park estate. The system, involving water piped from a central boiler, had become unreliable. The council decided the most economic option was to close it down and install individual central heating boilers in users’ homes.

1973: Swindon’s care for people with mental illnesses and learning disabilities was praised by Mr L Fry, area co-ordinator of social services, during a talk given to Swindon Business and Professional Women’s Club. He revealed that according to the latest figures one in six women and one in nine men would receive hospital treatment for mental illness.

1973: Two Cricklade volunteer firefighters retired, leaving the town with a serious shortage. Wiltshire Fire Brigade appealed for replacements, who had to be aged between 18 and 45, live in the town and be available to leave their work and respond to emergency calls at any time of the day or night. It was essential, the brigade said, that the volunteers’ employers were willing to release them as needed.


1556: An earthquake in Shensi Province, China, killed 830,000 people.

1806: William Pitt the Younger, twice British Prime Minister, died aged 47.

1900: The Battle of Spion Kop was fought during the Boer War.

1931: Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina, famous as the Dying Swan, died aged 49 at her home in Hampstead Heath.

1943: The British captured Tripoli from the Germans.

1956: Sir Alexander Korda, Hungarian-born British film producer and director, died.

1963: Kim Philby, double agent, defected to Russia.

1976: Paul Robeson, US actor/singer, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, aged 77.

1985: A House of Lords debate was televised live for the first time.

1990: Gales of up to 115mph caused great damage and at least four deaths in Britain.

2018: The Duke of Cambridge paid a personal tribute to his parents for “putting charity at the heart” of his life.


Rutger Hauer, actor, 75; Princess Caroline of Monaco, 62; Andrei Kanchelskis, former footballer and manager, 50; Scott Gibbs, former rugby player, 48; Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, actress, 45; Dawn O’Porter, television presenter, 40; Steven Taylor, footballer, 33.