On this day: The first ever Grand National

On this day in 1839 the first official Grand National steeplechase was run at Aintree. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1839 the first official Grand National steeplechase was run at Aintree. Picture: Getty
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EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries on February 26.

1531: Earthquake in Portugal killed tens of thousands of people and flattened much of Lisbon and other cities.

1623: Dutch massacred English colonists at Amboyna, Indonesia.

1672: Naturalisation granted to Philip van der Straten, a Fleming who set up a factory in Kelso to begin the Border woollen industry.

1797: £1 notes first issued by the Bank of England.

1815: Napoleon escaped from exile on the island of Elba and returned to France.

1839: The first official Grand National steeplechase, run at Aintree, Liverpool. The race was won by Jem Mason on Lottery.

1848: Second French Republic was proclaimed.

1852: Troopship Birkenhead sank off Simon’s Bay, South Africa, and 485 died.

1871: Preliminary Peace of Versailles was signed between France and Germany.

1918: German planes bombed Venice.

1935: Radar – radio detection and ranging – was first demonstrated in Daventry by Robert Watson-Watt.

1936: The Volkswagen car factory was opened in Saxony by Adolf Hitler.

1936: Military coup in Japan replaced Koki Hirota as premier.

1952: Winston Churchill announced that Britain had produced its own atomic bomb.

1968: Israel’s foreign minister Abba Eban announced that Israel had agreed to what he called “a form of negotiation” with Arabs.

1980: Diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Egypt.

1987: SDP political novice Rosie Barnes captured Greenwich, held by Labour for 50 years, with majority of 2,141.

1989: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini met Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze for talks centring on Islam.

1989: Burke’s Peerage stated that King Arthur’s Round Table had been found near Stirling, on the banks of the Carron river.

1990: The Welsh town of Towyn, population 2,000, was evacuated with 20 minutes to spare before high tide caused devastation.

1991: United States aircraft mistakenly killed nine British soldiers on 41st day of Operation Desert Storm. Allied tanks moved into Kuwait City as Iraqis fled with up to 5,000 Kuwaiti hostages.

1992: Dublin Supreme Court ruled that 14-year-old Irish schoolgirl who became pregnant after being raped, could travel to London for an abortion, reversing High Court ban.

1993: Five people were killed by a car bomb in underground car park at the World Trade Centre in New York.

1995: Barings Bank crashed after one of its Far East traders, Nick Leeson, lost more than £500m in unauthorised dealing on the Tokyo stock exchange.

1997: A report said that Parliament had been repeatedly misled over the widespread use of dangerous organophosphate pesticides by British troops during the Gulf war.

2010: Scottish rugby legend Ian McGeechan was knighted for a glittering sports career as both player and coach.

2013: A hot air balloon crashed near Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 people.

2014: Michael Adebolajo was given a whole-life term and Michael Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years for murdering Fusilier Lee Rigby. Fusilier Rigby was murdered as he returned to his barracks in London in May 2013. He died of multiple cut and stab wounds.


Sandie Shaw, singer, 68; Erykah Badu, singer, 44; Michael Bolton, singer, 62; Lynda Clark, QC, Baroness Clark of Calton, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 66; Fats Domino, R&B singer and pianist, 87; Carmen Du Sautoy, actress, 65; David Edgar, playwright, 67; Christopher Hope, South African writer, 71; Michel Houellebecq, novelist, 57; Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby DBE, soprano, 66; Corinne Bailey Rae, soul singer, 36; Tony Selby, actor, 77; Brian Simmers, Scottish rugby player, 75; Colin Telfer, Scottish rugby player and coach, 68; Sir Everton Weekes OBE, West Indies cricketer and international bridge player, 90.


Births: 1802 Victor Hugo, poet and novelist; 1846 William Cody, American frontiersman and showman, known as Buffalo Bill; 1907 Harry Gold, bandleader and saxophonist; 1916 Jackie Gleason, comic film actor; 1921 Betty Hutton, film actress; 1932 Johnny Cash, singer and songwriter; 1931 Ally McLeod, football manager.

Deaths: 1802 Alexander Geddes, biblical critic and poet; 1823 John Philip Kemble, actor-manager; 1834 Aloys Senefelder, inventor of lithography; 1898 Frederick Tennyson, poet; 1903 Richard Gatling, inventor of revolving battery gun that bears his name; 1950 Sir Harry Lauder, music hall singer and comedian; 1971 Fernandel, actor and comedian; 2004 Russell Hunter, actor; 2005 Max Faulkner, golfer; 2009 Wendy Richard MBE, actress.