On this day: First official Grand National

Charles Hunt's picture depicts the first ever Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, which took place on this day in 1839. Picture: Getty
Charles Hunt's picture depicts the first ever Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, which took place on this day in 1839. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 26 February

1531: Earthquake in Portugal killed tens of thousands of people and flattened much of Lisbon.

1623: Dutch massacred English colonists at Amboyna, Indonesia.

1672: Naturalisation granted to Philip van der Straten.

1797: £1 notes first issued by the Bank of England.

1815: Napoleon escaped from exile on the island of Elba.

1832: Polish Constitution was abolished by Nicholas I.

1839: The first official Grand National steeplechase, run at Aintree, Liverpool.

1848: Second French Republic was proclaimed.

1852: Troopship Birkenhead sank off Simon’s Bay, South Africa, and 485 died.

1871: Preliminary Peace of Versailles was signed between France and Germany.

1909: Turkey recognised Austria’s annexation of Bosnia.

1918: German planes bombed Venice.

1935: Radar was first demonstrated in Daventry by Robert Watson-Watt.

1936: The Volkswagen car factory was opened in Saxony by Adolf Hitler.

1936: Military coup in Japan replaced Koki Hirota as premier.

1952: Winston Churchill announced that Britain had produced its own atomic bomb.

1968: Israel’s foreign minister Abba Eban announced that Israel had agreed to what he called “a form of negotiation” with Arabs.

1980: Relations were established between Israel and Egypt.

1987: SDP political novice Rosie Barnes captured Greenwich, held by Labour for 50 years, with majority of 2,141.

1989: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini met Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze for talks centring on Islam.

1989: Burke’s Peerage stated that King Arthur’s Round Table had been found near Stirling, on the banks of the Carron river.

1990: The Welsh town of Towyn, population 2,000, was evacuated with 20 minutes to spare before high tide caused devastation.

1991: United States aircraft mistakenly killed nine British soldiers on 41st day of Operation Desert Storm.

1993: Five people were killed by a car bomb at World Trade Centre in New York.

1995: Barings Bank crashed.

2010: Scottish rugby legend Ian McGeechan was knighted.

2013: A hot air balloon crashed in Egypt, killing 19 people.


Corinne Bailey Rae, soul singer, 35; Erykah Badu, singer, 43; Michael Bolton, singer, 61; Lynda Clark, QC, Baroness Clark of Calton, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 65; Fats Domino, R&B singer and pianist, 86; David Edgar, playwright, 66; Michel Houellebecq, novelist, 58; Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby DBE, soprano, 65; Tony Selby, British actor, 76; Sandie Shaw, singer, 67; Brian Simmers, Scottish rugby player, 74; Colin Telfer, Scottish rugby player and coach, 67.


Births: 1802 Victor Hugo, poet and novelist; 1846 William Cody, showman, known as Buffalo Bill; 1879; Frank Bridge, composer; 1907 Harry Gold, saxophonist; 1916 Jackie Gleason, actor; 1921 Betty Hutton, actress; 1922 Margaret Leighton, actress; 1925 Peter Brough, ventriloquist; 1932 Johnny Cash, singer; 1931 Ally McLeod, football manager.

Deaths: 1723 Thomas d’Urfey, satirist and songwriter; 1770 Giuseppe Tartini, violinist and composer; 1898 Frederick Tennyson, poet; 2004 Russell Hunter, actor; 2005 Max Faulkner, golfer.