Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 2 February
Candlemas: The Purification of the Virgin (First of Scottish quarter-days). Gifts used to be made to schoolmasters by their pupils at Candlemas and, in medieval Scotland, it was a day of pageants and religious plays.
1424: King James I married Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset at Southwark.
1461: Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, in which Yorkists defeated Lancastrians.
1535: Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza.
1635: New Amsterdam (now New York City) was incorporated by the Dutch.
1645: Battle of Inverlochy, between Royalists and Covenanters.
1801: Parliament of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland assembled for the first time.
1836: The first public railway opened in London, from Spa Road to Deptford, on the London & Greenwich Railway.
1852: The first public flushing lavatory for men was opened in Fleet Street, London.
1876: Welsh Football Association was formed.
1880: Frozen meat from Sydney, Australia, was imported to Britain for the first time aboard the SS Strathleven.
1896: Socialist Sunday Schools started in Glasgow.
1913: Grand Central Station, New York, the world’s largest railway station, was opened.
1914: Cub Scouts were founded at Robertsbridge, Sussex.
1917: Wartime bread rationing was introduced in Britain.
1919: Monarchy was proclaimed in Portugal.
1923: No 2 Savoy Hill on the Thames Embankment opened as first permanent headquarters of the BBC – next door to the Savoy Hotel.
1924: In Turkey, the Caliphate was abolished by the National Assembly.
1932: Wooden money was issued in Washington, in the United States, printed on spruce and cedar wood, as an emergency to keep depositors in business after the local bank folded. The wooden dollar is now a lucky talisman.
1932: Disarmament conference was held in Geneva, with 60 countries represented.
1943: German Army surrendered to Russians at Stalingrad.
1953: United States announced that it no longer would block Chinese Nationalist raids against China mainland.
1972: British Embassy in Dublin burned down by protesters against “Bloody Sunday” killings in Londonderry the previous weekend.
1986: Women voted for the first time in Liechtenstein.
1989: South Africa’s President PW Botha, recovering from stroke, resigned as leader of National Party but indicated he would stay on as head of state.
1989: The wreck of the first British submarine, HMS A1, was discovered in the Solent, 78 years after the Royal Navy lost her.
1990: South African president FW de Klerk lifted 30-year ban on African National Congress.
1990: Sebastian Coe retired from athletics after failing to take part in 1,500 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Auckland because of a viral infection.
1996: Yarrow Shipbuilders announced 650 job losses at its Clydeside yard.
2004: Swiss tennis player Roger Federer became the No 1 ranked men’s singles player, a position he would hold for a record 237 weeks.
Sir David Jason OBE, actor, 75; Duncan Bannatyne OBE, Scottish entrepreneur and star of BBC show Dragons’ Den, 66; Christie Brinkley, model and actress, 61; Ken Bruce, broadcaster, 64; Sir Andrew Davis CBE, British conductor, 71; Glynn Edwards, British actor, 84; Stephen McGann, British actor, 52; Graham Nash OBE, singer (The Hollies and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), 73; Libby Purves OBE, British broadcaster and journalist, 65; Shakira, Colombian singer, 38; Christine Bleakley, TV presenter, 36.
Births: 1650 Nell Gwynn, actress and mistress of Charles II; 1743 Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist; 1875 Fritz Kreisler, violin virtuoso; 1882 James Joyce, novelist, notably Ulysses; 1882 James Stephens, poet and novelist; 1901 Jascha Heifetz, violinist; 1920 Hughie Green, entertainer; 1925 Elaine Stritch, American actress and singer; 1927 Stan Getz, jazz saxophonist; 1947 Farrah Fawcett, actress.
Deaths: 1594 Giovanni Palestrina, composer; 1918 John L Sullivan, last bare-knuckle fighting champion; 1970 Lord (Bertrand) Russell, philosopher; 1987 Alistair Maclean, novelist; 1993 Bernard Braden, broadcaster; 1995 Fred Perry, tennis champion and broadcaster; 1996 Gene Kelly, dancer, choreographer, singer, actor and director; 1998 Doctor Robert McIntyre, physician and politician, SNP’s first MP and president 1958-80; 2004 Lord Bullock, historian; 2014 Philip Seymour Hoffman, US actor.