1953: The Memorial Hall in Shrivenham was decorated with banks of flowers, including cyclamen and potted ferns, for the Old Berks Hunt Ball. Dancing was to the Tommy Kinsman Band and among the 250 guests were Lord and Lady Burghley.

1953: Adventures at sea were still a good start for young lads as was proved by Mr Brian Dawes of Purton Road, Swindon, who left school at the age of 15 not knowing a trade to which he could adapt himself. So, he went into the Merchant Navy. On Christmas Day 1951 he was in the catering branch on board a passenger ship sailing between Southampton and Durban. He was transferred to one of HM troopers plying between Southampton, Hong Kong and Korea. He then graduated to first class steward at still only 18 years old.

1063: A successful social and dance was held in Wroughton Church Hall by the Mother’s Union, the Young Wives Group and the Church of England Society. It was arranged by Mrs G Reynolds, Mrs E Stroud, Mrs A Rawlings and Mr I Weight. A sketch, Televisionists, produced by Ken Gough was presented by members of the Youth Fellowship followed by music, dancing and games.

1963: A successful year was reported in the annual meeting of the Marlborough Amateur Dramatic and Operatic Society. Mrs Ann Raisey, the treasurer, reported that after starting the year with a balance of £39, the society funds had risen to £103. The society agreed to install an improved heating system costing £80 in the room. Also, the production of The Bride and The Bachelor had been a great success, said the retiring chairwoman Mrs Gladys Steele.

1973: Peter Purves, one of the stars of the BBC children’s programme Blue Peter, went on location with a film crew at the new Woolworth’s distribution centre at Dorcan, Swindon. They were seen filming the automatic system used at the warehouse.

1973: A £2m building programme in Wiltshire was promising places for another 3,500 children in the county’s schools including Colebrook Infants at Stratton St Margaret, which would accommodate 210 children. Wiltshire County Council Schools Sub Committee approved spending a total of £70,000 to provide mobile classrooms for St Sampson’s at Cricklade and Southfield County School at Highworth.


AD41: The mad Roman Emperor Caligula was assassinated.

AD76: The Roman Emperor Hadrian was born. It was on his orders that Hadrian’s Wall was built in Britain “to separate the Romans from the Barbarians”.

1670: William Congreve, English playwright, was born near Leeds.

1848: James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s sawmill in California to spark the great Gold Rush.

1916: Conscription was introduced in Britain.

1922: The first performance of William Walton’s Facade took place in the Sitwell family drawing room in Carlyle Square, London.

1935: Canned beer went on sale for the first time, made by Krueger brewery of Richmond, Virginia.

1965: Sir Winston Churchill died, aged 90. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had died on the same date 70 years earlier.

1976: Margaret Thatcher was dubbed The Iron Lady in the Soviet newspaper Red Star, after a speech about the Communist threat.

1986: Staff of The Sun and News of the World newspapers were told they were moving to London’s Docklands - the start of a press exodus from Fleet Street.

1997: The Archers celebrated its 12,000th episode. The Radio 4 series drew an average 4.5 million listeners each week.

2018: A music lover who graduated four months ago had paid off his student debts and was ready to pursue his dream of working with touring rock bands after winning £1 million on the EuroMillions.


Desmond Morris, Swindon-born zoologist and ethologist, 91; Bamber Gascoigne, writer and broadcaster, 84; Neil Diamond, singer, 78; Aaron Neville, R&B singer, 78; Michael Des Barres, singer/actor, 71; Adrian Edmondson, actor, 62; Jools Holland, musician/TV presenter, 61; Vic Reeves, comedian, 60; Tatyana Ali, actress,and singer, 40.