1499: Perkin Warbeck, the Flemish imposter claiming to be Richard, Duke of York, was hanged at the Tower of London.

1852: Britain's first pillar box was erected in St Helier on Jersey.

1869: Valdemar Poulsen, Danish inventor of the tape recorder, which he patented in 1898, was born.

1887: Boris Karloff, actor best-known for horror roles, was born in London.

1888: Harpo Marx, the Marx Brother who never spoke on screen, was born in New York.

1889: The world's first jukebox was installed in the Palais Royal Saloon, San Francisco.

1910: Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, who poisoned his wife to seek a new life with his lover, Ethel Le Neve, was hanged at Pentoville Prison.

1963: The first episode of the BBC TV serial Doctor Who was screened in Britain. The Doctor was played by William Hartnell.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Giraffes prefer to eat meals in the company of friends, a new study found.

BIRTHDAYS: Alan Mullery, former football manager and pundit, 78; Sue Nicholls, actress, 76; Diana Quick, actress, 73; Merv Hughes, former cricketer, 58; Zoe Ball, presenter, 49; Kelly Brook, model and actress, 40.


1434: The River Thames froze over and, exactly 281 years later, it froze again - hard enough for a Frost Fair to be held on the ice.

1713: Laurence Sterne, clergyman, novelist and humourist, was born in Tipperary.

1815: Grace Darling, lighthouse-keeper's daughter and heroine of the wreck of the Forfarshire, was born.

1849: Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy, was born in Manchester.

1859: On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin was published.

1864: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, French painter famous for his scene of Paris low-life, was born in Albi, southern France.

1962: The satirical TV programme That Was The Week That Was went out live from the BBC for the first time, introduced by newcomer David Frost, with material written by equally unknown John Cleese.

1963: Lee Harvey Oswald, charged with killing president Kennedy, was shot dead by club owner Jack Ruby at Dallas Police Headquarters.

1965: The Government imposed an experimental 70mph speed limit on motorways.

1991: Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, died aged 45.

2005: The biggest overhaul of licensing laws in more than 50 years took effect. It permitted pubs, bars, clubs and stores in England and Wales to serve alcohol for longer - and even round the clock.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: At least 25 people were killed after a speeding bus fell into a canal in southern India.

BIRTHDAYS: Pete Best, former Beatle, 78; Billy Connolly, comedian, 77; Graham Price, former rugby player, 68; Susan Gilmore, actress, 65; Sir Ian Botham, broadcaster, charity fundraiser and former cricketer, 64; Denise Crosby, actress, 62; Paul Thorburn, former rugby player, 57; Colin Hanks, actor, 42; Katherine Heigl, actress, 41.


1748: Isaac Watts, who wrote the hymns When I Survey The Wondrous Cross and O God Our Help In Ages Past, died.

1823: The first pleasure pier, The Chain Pier at Brighton, opened. It closed

in 1896 and was destroyed in a storm the same year.

1882: To beat copyright pirates, Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan was premiered in London and America, the first show to open simultaneously in both countries.

1884: Evaporated milk was patented by John Meyenberg, of St Louis, USA.

1952: Agatha Christie's play The Mousetrap opened in London, at the Ambassadors Theatre. Richard Attenborough played the detective, and notices said the play had a 'fair degree of success'.

1969: John Lennon returned his MBE in protest against British involvement in Biafra and support of US action in Vietnam.

1984: Britain's top rock stars, responding to a call by Bob Geldof, gathered together under the name Band Aid to record Do They Know It's Christmas, in aid of the Ethiopian famine appeal.

2005: Soccer legend George Best, a former Manchester United, Fulham and Northern Ireland star, who was a long-term alcoholic, died after suffering multiple organ failure, aged 59.

2010: Bernard Matthews died at the age of 80. The farmer and businessman became a household name after he amassed a multimillion-pound fortune through his vast poultry empire and appeared in a memorable series of television commercials.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A campaigning group said that big-game hunters had freely brought almost two tonnes of elephant tusks to the UK from Africa over the past decade.

BIRTHDAYS: Yvonne Kenny, soprano, 69; Brian Little, former footballer and manager, 66; Blythe Duff, actress, 57; Dougray Scott, actor, 54; Jill

Hennessy, actress, 51; Christina Applegate, actress, 48.


1607: John Harvard, founder of Harvard University, was born in London.

1864: Charles Dodgson presented a little girl called Alice Liddell with a

story she had inspired him to write. It was called Alice's Adventures Under Ground, which later became Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and was published under Dodgson's pen name Lewis Carroll.

1922: Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon became the first men to see inside the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun near Luxor since it was sealed more than 3,000 years before.

1942: The film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premiered at the Hollywood Theatre in New York.

1968: Rock group Cream - Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker - played their farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

1983: Gold bars worth #25 million were stolen from the Brinks Mat security warehouse at Heathrow Airport.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A Chinese researcher claimed he'd helped make the world's first genetically edited babies - twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.

BIRTHDAYS: Tina Turner, rock singer, 80; John McVie, rock musician (Fleetwood Mac), 74; Des Walker, former footballer, 54; Garcelle Beauvais, actress, 53; Tammy Lynn Michaels, actress, 45; Natasha Bedingfield, singer, 38; Trevor Morgan, actor, 33; Rita Ora, singer, 29.


1701: Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer who created the centigrade temperature scale, was born in Uppsala.

1703: The first Eddystone Lighthouse was swept away in the Great Storm. More than 8,000 died across the country.

1914: The first two trained policewomen to be granted official status in Britain, Miss Mary Allen and Miss E F Harburn, reported for duty at Grantham.

1919: A massive meteor landed in Lake Michigan.

1942: As German troops arrived in Toulon, the French fleet was scuttled in the harbour to prevent the warships falling into enemy hands.

1944: Between 3,500 and 4,000 tons of high explosives went off in a cavern beneath Staffordshire, killing 68 people and wiping out an entire farm.

1963: The Buchanan Committee warned of future chaos as traffic in cities multiplied.

1967: President de Gaulle vetoed Britain's entry into the Common Market.

1975: Ross McWhirter was shot dead by Irish gunmen at his home in London. With his twin brother, Norris, he edited The Guinness Book Of Records.

1990: John Major became prime minister at 47, the youngest PM that century.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Shares in Greggs soared after the bakery chain upped its full-year profit outlook, thanks to a rise in sales following strong autumn trading.

BIRTHDAYS: John Alderton, actor, 79; Randy Brecker, jazz trumpeter, 74; Charlie Burchill, rock guitarist (Simple Minds), 60; Robin Givens, actress, 55; Roberto Mancini, football manager, 55; Gary Lucy, actor, 38.


1660: The Royal Society was founded in London.

1757: William Blake, mystic and visionary English poet and painter, was born

in London.

1905: The Irish political party Sinn Fein was founded in Dublin by Arthur Griffith.

1919: Viscountess (Nancy) Astor became Britain's first woman MP, holding a safe Plymouth seat for the Tories in a by-election caused by her husband's elevation of the peerage.

1934: Winston Churchill warned that weak defences could mean that Britain could be "tortured into absolute subjection" in any war with Germany.

1943: The Big Three - Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin - met in Tehran to

"plan strategy" and discuss post-war policy, including treatment of a defeated Germany.

1967: Horseracing was suspended in Britain after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

1968: Enid Blyton, creator of Noddy and Big Ears among many other children's favourites, died.

1983: The government announced an end to the monopoly by opticians on the sale of glasses.

2010: Britain shivered in record low temperatures, including a "ridiculously low" minus 17C in Wales.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A search for the winner of a £76 million lottery prize was intensifying, as the deadline for claiming on a missing ticket approached.

BIRTHDAYS: Berry Gordy, Tamla Motown founder, 90; Randy Newman, singer/songwriter, 76; Alistair Darling, former chancellor of the Exchequer,

66; Kris Akabusi, former athlete and TV presenter, 61; Stephen Roche, former cyclist, 60; Judd Nelson, actor, 60; Martin Clunes, actor, 58; Jon Stewart, television host, 57; Mary Elizabeth Winstead, actress, 35; Karen Gillan, actress, 32.


1530: Following his arrest for treason, Cardinal Wolsey was recalled to London and died on the way at Leicester. He was buried there in Abbey Park.

1797: Gaetano Donizetti, opera composer (Lucia de Lammermoor), was born in Bergamo, Italy.

1832: Louisa M Alcott, author of Little Women, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

1895: Busby Berkeley, choreographer and director who devised a style which revolutionised Hollywood musicals, was born. His kaleidoscopic ballets, with overhead shots to show the changing patterns his dancers could create, were his trademark in films such as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers Of 1933.

1907: Florence Nightingale, the "Lady of the Lamp", was presented with the Order of Merit by Edward VII for her work during the Crimean War.

1929: US admiral Richard Byrd, with pilot Bernt Balchen, became the first man to fly over the South Pole.

1932: The first performance took place of Cole Porter's The Gay Divorcee in New York starring Fred Astaire and featuring the song Night And Day.

1934: First broadcast of a royal wedding - that of the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina in Westminster Abbey.

1954: Sir George Robey, comedian and actor, died. He introduced the song If You Were The Only Girl In The World during the First World War.

1986: Debonair British-born actor Cary Grant died.

2010: A French couple came forward with 271 previously unknown works by Picasso - a staggering trove worth £50 million.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A man was killed by a wild elephant after his speeding car hit the animal near a national park in north-eastern Thailand, police said.

BIRTHDAYS: Dame Shirley Porter, former politician, 89; Diane Ladd, actress, 84; David Rintoul, actor, 71; Don Cheadle, actor, 55; Ryan Giggs, footballer, 46; Anna Faris, actress, 43; Simon Amstell, comedian/television presenter, 40.