On this day: King’s Cross Underground fire | Margaret Atwood born

The devastation is clear to see after a blaze ripped through King's Cross Underground station in 1987, killing 30 people. Picture: PA
The devastation is clear to see after a blaze ripped through King's Cross Underground station in 1987, killing 30 people. Picture: PA
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 18 November

1477: William Caxton issued the first dated, printed book from his printing press in Westminster.

1626: St Peter’s Basilica in Rome consecrated by Pope Urban VIII.

1903: United States and Panama signed treaty granting US right to build Panama Canal.

1926: George Bernard Shaw refused to accept the Nobel prize money of £7,000 awarded to him in 1925. He said: “I can forgive Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel prize.”

1928: The first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, was shown.

1936: Germany and Italy recognised General Franco’s government in Spain.

1941: British troops launched attack in west African desert.

1968: Fire killed 22 workers in a three-storey upholstery factory in James Watt Street, Glasgow. They were trapped behind the steel-barred windows of the former bonded warehouse.

1976: Twenty-seven people executed in Ethiopia for alleged plots against two-year-old military government.

1978: Jonestown massacre occurred in Guyana, with a United States congressman and four other people killed as they tried to leave People’s Temple camp, and almost 900 cult members committed suicide on the order of their leader, the “Reverend” Jim Jones, by taking soft drink laced with cyanide.

1987: King’s Cross Underground station suffered devastating inferno with the loss of 30 lives. The fire began on a wooden escalator.

1987: US congressional report on Iran-Contra affair was published. It blamed president Ronald Reagan for ignorance.

1989: At least 800 people were left dead after a week of fighting in El Salvador and a third of San Salvador’s one million people were trapped without food or water during rebel siege.

1990: Chris Eubank beat Nigel Benn to become the WBO middleweight boxing champion.

1991: The last western hostages in Beirut, Terry Waite and Tom Sutherland, were set free. Waite had been held for 1,763 days; Sutherland, the man whose release he went to Lebanon to negotiate, had been held since 
9 June, 1985.

1996: Dunblane campaigners vowed to fight on after the Conservative government defeated efforts to introduce a total ban on handguns.


Margaret Atwood, author, 74; Lord Cullen of Whitekirk, KT, Lord Justice-General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session 2001-5, 78; Linda Evans, actress (Dynasty), 71; Bill Giles OBE, television weatherman, 74; Brian Huggett MBE, golfer, 77; Baroness Jay of Paddington, Leader of the House of Lords 1998-2001, 74; Anthony “Ant” McPartlin, actor, television presenter and musician, 38; Graham Parker, rock singer, 63; Elizabeth Perkins, actress, 53; Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe, 59; Brenda Vaccaro, actress, 74; Walton sextuplets Hannah, Lucy, Ruth, Sarah, Kate and Jenny of Liverpool, 30; Kim Wilde, pop singer, 53.


Births: 1697 William Hogarth, artist; 1785 Sir David Wilkie, artist; 1901 George Gallup, originator of Gallup polls; 1906 Sir Alec Issigonis CBE, designer of the Mini.

Deaths: 1922 Marcel Proust, author; 1968 Mervyn Peake, author and artist; 1998 Robin Hall, folk singer, musician, broadcaster and journalist; 2012 Doctor Sir Philip Ledger CBE, principal, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama 1982-2001.