On this day: First televised general election

Labour's Clement Attlee remained prime minister in 1950, the first time UK general election results were televised. Picture: Getty
Labour's Clement Attlee remained prime minister in 1950, the first time UK general election results were televised. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on February 23.

1310: Declaration of the clergy and people in favour of King Robert Bruce from the Church of the Friars Minor in Dundee.

1573: Pacification of Perth ended fighting in Scotland between Regent and supporters of Mary Queen of Scots.

1820: The Cato Street conspiracy, an attempt to murder British Cabinet ministers, was uncovered in London.

1854: Britain agreed to leave territory north of the Orange River in South Africa, allowing establishment of constitution for Orange Free State.

1863: Captain JH Speke discovered source of the Nile.

1874: Lawn tennis was patented by an Englishman, Major Walter Wingfield.

1898: Emile Zola was imprisoned in France for writing J’accuse.

1915: French actress Sarah Bernhardt had her right leg amputated.

1919: Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in Italy.

1920: The first regular broadcasting service in Britain started from Marconi’s studio in Chelmsford. The 30-minute programme was transmitted twice daily.

1934: Clark Gable exposed his bare chest in the film It Happened One Night, and millions of men stopped wearing vests.

1942: Japanese submarine shelled oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.

1950: The first televised general election results. The Labour Party held on with the closest contest for 100 years – and Clement Attlee remained prime minister.

1953: An amnesty offered by the government to Second World War deserters brought in more than 3,000 applications.

1970: Republic of Guyana, formerly British Guiana, formally ended association with Britain but remained within Commonwealth.

1973: Fighting continued in Laos in spite of peace agreement between Laotian government and Communist-led Pathet Lao.

1987: Soviet dissident Josif Begun was freed as USSR promised release of 140 political prisoners.

1989: Japan said farewell to Emperor Hirohito with series of centuries-old funeral services.

1990: Shell UK was fined £1 million for polluting the Mersey estuary in August 1989.

1991: Military junta seized power in Thailand after a bloodless coup.

1991: President George H Bush gave General Norman Schwarzkopf authority to launch ground war against Iraq “at his discretion”.

1995: There was criticism over British Gas profits of £1.25 billion – £40 a second.

1996: Armed troops returned to the streets of Northern Ireland as fears grew the IRA was planning a series of attacks.

1998: Osama bin Laden published a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and “Crusaders” – the latter interpreted to refer to the people of Europe and the US.

1999: An avalanche destroyed the Austrian village of Galtür, killing 31 people.

2007: A train derailed on an evening express service near Grayrigg, Cumbria, England, killing one person and injuring 22 others.

2008: Steve Wright, 49, who murdered five Ipswich sex workers in a six-week killing spree, was told by a judge that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

2009: British film Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars including best director and best picture. Kate Winslet won the best actress Oscar for The Reader.

2013: The United Kingdom lost its AAA credit rating, the first such downgrade since 1978.

Birthdays

Emily Blunt, actress, 32; Bill Alexander, theatre director, 67; Lord Ezra MBE, chairman, National Coal Board 1971-82, Liberal Democrat life peer, 96; Dakota Fanning, American actress, 21; Peter Fonda, American actor, 75; Sylvie Guillem CBE, French ballerina, 50; Howard Jones, British singer-songwriter, 60; Sir Nicholas Kenyon CBE, controller, BBC Proms 1998-2007, 64; Kelly Macdonald, Glasgow-born actress, 39; Melinda Messenger, model and television presenter, 44; Linda Nolan, singer, 56; Helena Sukova, Czech tennis player, 50; David Sylvian, British singer and guitarist (Japan), 57.

Anniversaries

Births: 1633 Samuel Pepys, diarist, MP and naval administrator; 1685 George Frederick Handel, composer; 1817 Sir George Frederick Watts, artist; 1883 Karl Jaspers, philosopher; 1899 Erich Kastner, poet and children’s writer; 1944 Johnny Winter, American blues guitarist.

Deaths: 1468 Johan Gutenberg, inventor of movable type; 1792 Sir Joshua Reynolds, portrait painter and first president of the Royal Academy; 1821 John Keats, poet; 1924 Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th US president; 1931 Dame Nellie Melba, operatic soprano; 1934 Sir Edward Elgar, composer; 1965 Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson), Cumbria-born comedian of the Laurel and Hardy duo; 1968 Fannie Hurst, novelist; 1976 LS Lowry, artist; 1995 James Herriot (James Alfred Wight), author; 2000 Sir Stanley Matthews, footballer.