On this day: National Portrait Gallery opened

The National Portrait Gallery for Scotland was formally opened on this day in 1889 by the Marquess of Lothian. Picture: Ian Gerogeson
The National Portrait Gallery for Scotland was formally opened on this day in 1889 by the Marquess of Lothian. Picture: Ian Gerogeson
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 15 July


St Swithin’s Day.

AD862: When St Swithin, Saxon Bishop of Winchester, died, he asked to be buried outside where rain could fall on his grave. Some 108 years later on the same day, when devoted monks decided to move the body from the “vile and unworthy grave”, a sudden deluge drenched the funeral party and it rained for nearly seven weeks.

1099: Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders.

1857: The Massacre of Cawnpore, in which 197 British women and children were murdered during the Indian Mutiny.

1869: Margarine was patented in France by Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés of Paris.

1889: New National Portrait Gallery for Scotland was opened in Edinburgh by the Marquess of Lothian.

1893: Matabele staged uprising against rule of British South Africa Company.

1912: National Insurance or social payment, devised by Lloyd George, began.

1916: William Boeing founded his aircraft company, Pacific Aero Products, in Seattle, Washington.

1933: Wiley Post took off from New York for first solo round-the-world-flight – the journey of more than 15,000 miles took seven days, 18 hours, 49 minutes. He had previously done it in the same plane, but with a co-pilot.

1948: Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in London, 13 years after starting in the United States.

1948: United Nations Security Council ordered truce in Palestine.

1958: South Africa resumed full membership in United Nations.

1965: US Mariner-4 sent back the first close-up pictures of Mars.

1975: America’s Apollo and Soviet Union’s Soyuz spacecraft blasted into orbit for rendezvous in space.

1989: Police were called in to search for £1 million cash that disappeared from Heathrow Airport.

1990: Tens of thousands of people marched to Kremlin walls to protest against Communist Party control of Soviet government, army and KGB.

1996: Scotland Yard said it had prevented major IRA attacks after raiding two addresses in London and finding 36 timing units for detonating bombs.

2002: Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan handed down the death sentence to British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and life terms to three others suspected of murdering Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

2007: In the largest compensation deal of its kind, the Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles said it would pay total of $660million to the 500 alleged victims of sexual abuse by 221 priests and other church staff dating back to the 1940s.


Celia Imrie, actress, 61; Julian Bream CBE, guitarist and lutenist, 80; Carmen Callil, founder of Virago Press, 75; Derek Griffiths, actor, 67; Trevor Horn CBE, songwriter, 64; Irène Jacob, French film actress, 47; Ann Jellicoe, playwright and theatre director, 86; David Miliband, former Labour Cabinet minister, 48; Brigitte Nielsen, actress, 50; Linda Ronstadt, rock singer, 67.


Births: 1573 Inigo Jones, architect; 1606 Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, artist; 1865 Lord Northcliffe, newspaper proprietor and pioneer of mass circulation journalism.

Deaths:1883 Charles Sherwood Stratton, known as General Tom Thumb, 40in tall; 1990 Margaret Lockwood, actress; 1997 Gianni Versace, fashion designer (murdered) 1999 Earl of Dalhousie, governor-general of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.