On this day: The Church of England ordained first female priests | Liza Minnelli born

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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 12 March

12 March

1832: Ballet tutus were worn for the first time for a performance of Les Sylphides at the Paris Opera. Displaying not only the ankles of the dancers, but also their arms, they were considered by many to be outrageous.

1904: The first mainland electric train left Liverpool for Southport.

1917: Key event of the Russian Revolution as soldiers of the Volynsky Regiment refused to fire on demonstrators and instead beat to death their commanding officer, Captain Laskevitch.

1923: Foundation stone of the Australia Federal Parliament building in Canberra was laid.

1930: Mahatma Gandhi opened civil disobedience campaign in India against its British rulers. His 240-mile march to the sea was in protest against the British monopoly on the production and sale of salt.

1935: A 30-mile speed limit was imposed on roads in built-up areas in Britain.

1968: Mauritius, a British colony since 1810, became independent member of Commonwealth.

1972: Britain and China agreed to exchange ambassadors, 22 years after London first recognised the Peking government.

1975: UN Security Council adopted resolution calling on Greek and Turkish Cypriots to resume negotiations for political settlement.

1984: First day of miners’ strike against pit closures.

1987: Government gave go-ahead for building of Sizewell “B” PWR nuclear power station in Suffolk.

1988: South African government banned church-led opposition group headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as threat to public safety.

1990: Poll tax demonstrations continued. In Islington, London, 20 people were arrested when police were pelted with bottles and cans.

1993: Eldorado, the much-criticised BBC television soap opera set in Spain, was scrapped.

1994: The Church of England ordained its first female priests.

1999: Former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined Nato.

2003: Serbian prime minister Zoran Dindic was assassinated in Belgrade.

2009: Financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to scamming $18 billion, the largest in Wall Street history.

2011: A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant melted and exploded and released radioactivity into the atmosphere a day after Japan’s earthquake.


Liza Minnelli, actress and singer, 67; Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone, MP, health secretary 1992-5, 65; Graham Coxon, guitarist (Blur), 44; Aaron Eckhart, actor, 45; Al Jarreau, jazz singer, 73; Anish Kapoor CBE, artist and sculptor, 59; David Mellor, MP 1979-97 and radio presenter, 64; Andy Nicol, rugby player and commentator, 42; Alan Sneddon, Scottish footballer, 55; Gudrun Ure, Campsie-born actress, 87; 53; Paul Way, golfer, 50.


Births: 1881 Kemal Atatürk, Turkish general and president; 1890 Vaslav Nijinsky, ballet dancer; 1914 Peter Roth, co-founder Camphill Community; 1917 Googie Withers CBE, actress; 1922 Jack Kerouac, novelist; 1938 Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld, MP 1979-97, Lord High Commissioner, General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 1998 and 1999.

Deaths: 1950 Heinrich Mann, novelist; 1955 Charlie Parker, saxophonist; 1984 Arnold Ridley, playwright and actor (Dad’s Army); 1999 Lord (Yehudi) Menuhin, violinist, conductor and humanitarian.