Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 9 April
1747: Britain’s last beheading took place on Tower Hill, London. Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, was executed for his part in the Jacobite rising. The Scots Magazine reported that as he mounted the steps to the scaffold, assisted by two warders, he looked round and, seeing so many people, declared: “God save us, why should there be such a bustle about taking off an old grey head that can’t get up three steps without two men to support it?”
1770: James Cook visited Botany Bay – declaring that the Aborigines there seemed “open to reason”.
1838: The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, was opened.
1865: Confederate Robert E Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant, effectively bringing the American Civil War to an end.
1940: Germany invaded Norway and Denmark.
1945: USS Liberty exploded in Bari harbour, Italy, killing 360.
1949: UN International Court of Justice delivered its first decision, holding Albania responsible for incidents in the Corfu Channel and awarding Britain damages.
1969: The British supersonic airliner Concorde made its maiden flight from Bristol to Fairford in Gloucestershire.
1970: Legal moves to dissolve the Beatles’ business partnership were begun by Paul McCartney.
1983: Jenny Pitman became the first woman to train a Grand National winner with Corbiere.
1986: West Berlin expelled two Libyan diplomats and said it had “several indications” Libya was behind the bombing of a Berlin discotheque.
1989: Sixteen people were reported killed as Soviet troops rushed a crowd of protesters in a central square of the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
1991: Georgia voted to secede from Soviet Union.
1992: The Conservatives won a fourth successive term in office when they triumphed at the general election – but with a greatly reduced majority of 21.
2003: Baghdad fell to American forces; a large statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled as Iraqis turned on symbols of their former leader, pulling down the statue and tearing it to pieces.
2005: The Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles, a divorcee, at a civil ceremony in Windsor.
Births: 1649 James, Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch, natural son of King Charles II and Lucy Walter; 1806 Isambard Kingdom Brunel, railway and marine engineer; 1879 Sir Gerald Kelly, artist; 1898 Paul Robeson, singer and actor; 1906 Hugh Gaitskell, leader of Labour Party and chancellor who in 1950 introduced National Health Service charges.
Deaths: 1483 King Edward IV; 1492 Lorenzo de Medici (The Magnificent); 1626 Francis Bacon (Lord Verulam), philosopher and statesman; 1882 Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and painter; 1959 Frank Lloyd Wright, architect; 2011 Sidney Lumet, film director.
Hannah Gordon, Edinburgh-born actress, 72; Jean-Paul Belmondo, actor, 80; Eric Clarke, MP 1992-2001, 80; Hugh Hefner, Playboy publisher, 87; Alan Knott, English cricketer, 67; Tom Lehrer, lecturer and satirical songwriter, 85; Jerzy Maksymiuk, chief conductor 1983-93, conductor laureate, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, 77; Cynthia Nixon, actress, 47; Dennis Quaid, actor, 59; Tony Sibson, British boxer, 55; Valerie Singleton OBE, broadcaster, 76; Rachel Stevens, singer, 35; Jacques Villeneuve, racing driver, 42.