On this day: Scottish Reform Bill introduced

James Hanratty was sentenced to death in 1962. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests in 2002 proved his guilt. Picture: PA
James Hanratty was sentenced to death in 1962. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests in 2002 proved his guilt. Picture: PA
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 February

1540: Scotland’s gypsies given recognition by King James V.

1813: Prussia’s Frederick William III declared war on France.

1863: The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva by Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant. Its original title was The Committee for Aid to Wounded Soldiers.

1867: The first ship passed through the Suez Canal.

1868: Scottish Reform Bill introduced.

1882: The British League of Mothers was founded.

1897: Britain rejected Austro-Russian proposal for blockade of Piraeus in Greece.

1923: The inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun was opened at Luxor in the presence of officials of the Egyptian government and archaeologists led by Lord Carnarvon.

1929: The first in-flight film was shown on a Universal Air Line flight from St Paul to Chicago.

1936: British-Irish trade pact ended tariff war.

1944: White paper was issued outlining National Health Service for Britain.

1962: James Hanratty was sentenced to death for killing Michael Gregsten in a lay-by on the A6. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests proved his guilt “beyond reasonable doubt” in 2002, according to the Court of Appeal.

1972: House of Commons voted by a majority of eight in favour of Britain joining the European Common Market.

1972: Volkswagen cars broke the record held by the Model T Ford by selling the 15,007,034th production model of the Beetle.

1989: Frozen carcases of apes, antelopes, monkeys, squirrels and aardvarks were seized by Dutch customs from a cargo vessel en route from Africa to supply restaurants in Belgium and Germany.

1989: Scientists stated that levels of ozone-depleting gases over the Arctic were 50 times higher than had been predicted by computer.

1990: East Germany announced it would take down a 600ft section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, which would be the first section with no official controls.

1996: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.

2003: The London congestion charge scheme began.


Rebecca Adlington OBE, double Olympic swimming gold medallist 2008, 25; Michael Bay, film director, 49; 78; Lord Drummond Young, QC, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 64; Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Lord Lieutenant of Fife 1987-99, 90; Brenda Fricker, actress, 69; Prunella Gee, actress, 64; Barry Humphries CBE, Australian entertainer (Dame Edna Everage) and author, 80; Michael Jordan, basketball player, 51; Julia McKenzie, actress and singer, 73; Norman Pace, comedian and actor, 61; Lady Rendell of Babergh CBE (Ruth Rendell), crime novelist, 84; Patricia Routledge CBE, actress, 85.


Births: 1781 René Laennec, physician who invented and named the stethoscope; 1934 Sir Alan Bates, actor; 1941 Gene Pitney, singer.

Deaths: 1796 James MacPherson, author of the Ossianic poems: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland and translated from the Gaelic or Erse Language; 1909 Geronimo, last Apache chief to surrender 2013 Richard Briers CBE, actor.