1973: The effect of development in the West of Swindon on land drainage in the River Ray Valley was explained by an engineer at a public meeting in Cricklade. The meeting was arranged by Cricklade and Wootton Bassett Rural District Council. Council Clerk Mr E G Cowley said the council considered it had been carrying a considerable amount of public responsibility for safeguarding any worsening of the flooding situation in the Ray Valley.

1973: A youth club set up at the request of The Mentally Handicapped Society had gone from strength to strength. It had 70 people meeting on Monday nights, three times a month, 20 of which were committee members. The club entitled The Upham Road Gateway Club was set up to help those suffering from mental handicaps to feel part of the community. The club also had a junior section for children up to 16 years old. Most members attended from the Upham Road Training Centre or the Enterprise Works. Chatter, music and dancing even attracted some of the girl students from the centre to join in and dance with the club members.

1963: Mr Harold Wilson, leader of the Opposition, who was once on the staff of the Ministry of Labour in Swindon, spoke to Mr Francis Noel-Baker, MP for Swindon, and Mr George Selman, Labour agent for Swindon, at House of Commons. The discussion was informal and about the political and economic prospects for Swindon.

1963: The Swindon branch of the 900-strong Electrical Trades Union had been disbanded by the union's national executive council. One local branch member said he thought it was because of communist activity. The executive council held a special meeting to discuss the situation but no one from Swindon attended.

1953: Mr M A H Ispahani, Pakistan High Commissioner, visited Vickers Armstrong plant at South Marston, near Swindon. He met with officials from the plant to inspect the last consignment of Attacker aircraft that had been ordered by the Pakistan Government. They planned to use the jets when Pakistan airmen took part in the Coronation flypast over London.

1953: Dance cards were soon filled at two dances held in Swindon. About 100 dancers attended the Swindon Association of The National Union of Teachers fourth annual ball at the Goddard Arms Hotel. Dancing was to Ken Kitching and his orchestra. The first of a series of modern dancers was organised by the Gorse Hill Community Centre and about 150 attended. They danced to The Georgians Band.

The world

1792: Sir John Herschel, astronomer who first mapped the stars of the southern hemisphere, was born in Slough.

1802: Sculptor and animals painter Sir Edwin Landseer was born in London. He designed the bronze lions at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.

1875: Maurice Ravel, French composer (Bolero), was born.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone.

1917: The Dixie Jazz Band One-Step was the world's first jazz record to be released - ironically by the all-white Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

1941: British troops invaded Italian-held Ethiopia.

1965: State troopers and local law enforcement assault 600 civil rights

marchers in Selma, Alabama. The event was dubbed Bloody Sunday.

1975: The body of kidnapped heiress Lesley Whittle was found in a 60ft drain shaft. She had been held for 52 days then strangled by Donald Neilson, The Black Panther, who was later given five life sentences.

1989: China declares martial law in Lhasa, Tibet. Reports claim Chinese troops fired on Tibetan monks and civilians demanding independence, killing hundreds.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: NME, one of the world's most famous music magazines, announced it was ceasing its weekly print edition.

BIRTHDAYS: Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO, 77; Sir Ranulph Fiennes, explorer, 75; William Boyd, author, 67; Sir Vivian Richards, former cricketer, 67; Bryan Cranston, actor, 63; Ivan Lendl, former tennis player, 59; Mary Beth Evans, actress, 58; Rachel Weisz, actress, 49; Bel Powley, actress, 27.