March 23


1953: Mr David Eccles MP, Minister of Works, was in Swindon speaking at a meeting organised by the WEA, in The College. He told the audience, which mainly consisted of women, that as stage manager of the coronation show he would see to it that at least 500m people would see the coronation film in the first 10 days. The free world, said Mr Eccles, would judge the value of the constitutional monarchy by means it had never seen before. He said there were places for 2,600 journalists, 300 cine camera men and 250 BBC personnel covering the event.

1953: Bell ringers of Christ Church, Swindon, rang a peal of Grandsire Cater, with more than 5,000 changes, in honour of two of the bell ringers 21st birthdays. Miss Enid Roberts of Croft Road, Swindon, conducted the peal. The other birthday bell ringer was Miss Pauline Manning.

1963: the Mayor of Swindon Coun A E Cockram officially opened the modernised public baths in Milton Road, Swindon. The estimated cost for the modernisation of the baths was £90,000. The mayor was introduced by Ald Charles Streetly, chairman of the Marketing and Baths Committee. BBC TV cameras were at the baths televising a swimming competition between Western Counties and Midland Counties for the sports programme Grandstand.

1963: The 10th Swindon Scout Group's Gang Show opened at Queen's Drive Methodist Church Hall before an audience of 150 people. Fifty scouts and cubs from the group performed sketches and songs from Ralph Reader's gang show. The producer was Mr W Cullwick. Proceeds when to the group funds and to send scout, Graham Gillman, to the World Jamboree in Greece as representative of North Wiltshire.

1973: A soaring fundraising effort climaxed when a cheque for £600 was handed in for a new swimming pool. The money had been raised by the Covingham Park Junior School, it was its share of the cost of the pool to be build at Nythe Primary School.

1973: Wootton Bassett Youth Club was given a new look with a huge Jungle Book mural in the social area, where the young people congregated for coffee and table tennis. The colourful mural which measured 20ft by nine ft was the work of 22-year-old Paul Tanfield assisted by David Shepherd, 20.

The World

1861: London's first tram cars, drawn by horses, began operating from Bayswater, designed by a Mr Train from New York.

1919: In Italy, fascism became an organised political movement following the founding of Fasci di Combattimento by Benito Mussolini a month earlier.

1921: Donald Campbell, who emulated his father, Sir Malcolm, by breaking land and water-speed records, was born in Horley, Surrey.

1966: The first official meeting for 400 years between the Catholic and the Anglican churches took place in Rome between Pope Paul VI and Dr Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

1971: Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, proclaimed its independence.

1981: Englishman Mike Hailwood, nine times world motor cycling champion, died two days after a car crash in which his nine-year-old daughter was also killed.

1981: All animal transportation on the Isle of Wight and in southern Hampshire was banned in a successful attempt to contain an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

1989: A 1,000-foot diameter asteroid missed the Earth by a mere 400,000 miles.

1991: In a speech to Conservatives at Southport, John Major outlined plans for his Citizen's Charter.

2001: The Mir space station was disposed of. It broke up in the atmosphere before falling into the Pacific near Fiji.

2018: The official range of commemorative china celebrating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding went on sale.

BIRTHDAYS: Barry Cryer, writer/comedian, 84; Michael Nyman, composer, 75; Alan Bleasdale, playwright, 73; Chaka Khan, singer, 66; Amanda Plummer, actress, 62; Sir Steve Redgrave, retired Olympic rower, 57; Marti Pellow, singer, 54; Damon Albarn, singer, 51; Mike Atherton, former cricketer, 51; Gail Porter, TV presenter, 48; Joe Calzaghe, former boxer, 47; Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Olympic champion track cyclist, 43; Princess Eugenie of York, 29.