On this day: Forth Road Bridge construction begins

The competed Forth Road Bridge. Construction began on this day in 1958. Picture: TSPL
The competed Forth Road Bridge. Construction began on this day in 1958. Picture: TSPL
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 21 November

1218: Bull of Pope Honorius III affirmed the independence of the Church of Scotland.

1783: Francois de Rozier and Marquis d’Arlandes lifted off from Bois de Boulogne in the Mongolfier brothers’ hot air balloon and flew for 25 minutes in man’s first free-flight.

1806: Napoleon Bonaparte issued Berlin Decrees, declaring French blockade of Britain.

1877: Thomas A Edison announced the invention of the phonograph in the United States.

1918: German High Seas Fleet handed over to the British Fleet for internment at Scapa Flow in Orkney.

1953: The Piltdown Skull, “discovered” by Charles Dawson in Sussex in 1912, was found to be a hoax.

1956: United Nations General Assembly censured Soviet Union for its action in Hungary.

1958: Construction of the Forth Road Bridge began.

1963: Roman Catholic Vatican Council authorised use of vernacular instead of Latin in the Sacraments.

1967: In an attempt to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain, 134,000 animals were slaughtered.

1971: Six Edinburgh schoolchildren and a teacher from Ainslie Park School died in a blizzard while trying to walk from the top of the Cairn Gorm chairlift to Corrour Bothy.

1974: IRA bombs in Birmingham killed 21 and injured 120 when two packed pubs were blown up.

1976: Syrian army completed its final phase of occupation of Lebanon.

1979: In Tehran, the Iranians warned that if the US attacked Iran all the embassy hostages would die “on the spot”.

1985: End of Geneva arms reduction talks between United States and Russia. President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev spent six hours together. Reagan said: “I cannot claim we had a meeting of minds but we understand each other better.”

1986: Government began the first campaign to fight Aids.

1995: The presidents of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia accepted a United States-brokered peace deal aimed at ending Bosnian war.

2002: Nato invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.

2008: Pop star Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie were granted a divorce at the High Court in London.


Björk (born Björk Gudmundsdöttir), singer, 48; Tina Brown CBE, editor of Vanity Fair 1984-92, 60; Andrew Caddick, cricketer, 45; Nickolas Grace, actor, 66; Goldie Hawn, actress, 68; Alex James, musician (Blur), 45; Dr John (Mac Rebennack), R&B musician, 73; Jacques Laffite, racing driver, 53; Lorna Luft, actress, 61; Natalia Makarova, ballerina and choreographer, 73; Juliet Mills, actress, 72; Nicolette Sheridan, actress, 50.


Births: 1694 Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), philosopher and writer; 1787 Samuel Cunard, shipowner; 1888 Harpo Marx, Marx Brother who never spoke on the screen; 1898 René Magritte, artist; 1931 Malcolm Williamson, composer, Master of the Queen’s Music 1975-2003; 1934 Dame Beryl Bainbridge DBE, novelist; 1937 Ingrid Pitt, actress.

Deaths: 1695 Henry Purcell, composer; 1835 James Hogg, writer; 1999 Quentin Crisp, author and raconteur; 2002 Lord Emslie, Lord Justice-General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session 1972-89.