1953: Mr George White, steward of Even Swindon Club, had more than 200 coins in a collection which he had accrued during his 25 years of hotel and club life. He was a mine of information about his collection which, he said, had been enlarged considerably in the last few years as servicemen were returning from overseas. The collection included some minute mintings of silver pieces, a Roman coin and half a farthing.

1953: Cubs and scouts of 2nd Swindon Group held a social at the Scout Hall, Dowling Street, Swindon, and among the 70 parents and friends present were Mr F Sheldon, District Commissioner and Miss M Bird, retired commissioner for the cubs. A bouquet of flowers was presented to Miss Bird. A ceremony was performed for three cubs who were going up into the scouts group and games were organised by Brian Ball.

1963: A total of 199 members of the Newspaper House Social Club and their friends attended the club annual dinner dance held at the Co-operative restaurant in Fleet Street, Swindon. The dinner had previously been arranged for January 4, but it had to be cancelled because of the cold weather

1963: The Royal Military College of Science Drama Society performance of Gammer Girton’s Needle, which should have taken place on Sunday was postponed because parts of the Arts Centre in Watchfield were found to be under nine inches of ice-covered water, where a burst pipe had flooded and frozen.

1973: Visitors to the newly opened Grove Hotel, Swindon, drank their way through four dozen bottles of wine and left a £16 tip for charity, at the wine tasting. The tip was presented to Mrs Muriel Palmer of the Swindon Council of Social Services by Mrs Margaret Barkham, president of the Inner Wheel, which supports the venture.

1973: Wootton Bassett School, which recently had become comprehensive, opened a new fiction library and new studio centre with 12,000 additional books, 500 film strips, 5,000 slides, 500 wall charts, sets of pamphlets and multi media kits. The Head of Resources, Mr Brian Earl said the school aimed to centralise the studio with both audio and visual equipment for the whole school. A team of 20 pupil librarians helped staff in after-school working parties to set it all up.


1327: Edward III acceded to the English throne.

1533: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (wife number two of six) were married secretly by the Bishop of Lichfield.

1759: Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, who used the Scottish dialect in his poems and many songs, including To A Mouse, was born in Alloway, Ayrshire.

1857: Lord Lonsdale (Henry Cecil Lowther), president of the National Sporting Club, who gave boxing its rules and Lonsdale Belts to its champions, was born in London.

1874: W Somerset Maugham, master of the short story, was born in Paris.

1924: The first Winter Olympics began at Chamonix, France.

1938: The aurora borealis (Northern Lights) were seen as far south as London’s West End and throughout western Europe. It was due to intense sunspot activity.

1947: Al Capone, Chicago gang boss in the Prohibition era, died of a heart attack, days after suffering a stroke, aged 48.

1981: The Gang of Four (Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers) broke away from the Labour Party to set up the Social Democrats.

1990: A Boeing 707 jet crashed on Long Island after running out of fuel, killing 73 people including the pilot. More than 80 passengers survived.

2010: One of Saddam Hussein’s closest allies, Ali Hassan al-Majid, the man known as “Chemical Ali”, was executed in Iraq.

2018: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall prepared for their appearance on ITV’s This Morning, as the programme neared its 30th anniversary.


Angela Thorne, actress, 80; Tom Paulin, poet and critic, 70; Emma Freud, broadcaster, 57; David Ginola, former footballer, 52; Jennifer Lewis, actress, 62; Ana Ortiz, actress, 48; Alicia Keys, singer, 38; Francis Jeffers, footballer, 38.