On this day: Bank of England nationalised

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 14 February

On this day in 1963, Harold Wilson became Labour Party leader after the death of Hugh Gaitskell. Lord Wilson died in 1995. Picture: Getty

St Valentine’s Day.

c270AD: St Valentine martyred by Roman Emperor Claudius II. The tradition of sending love letters is unlikely to be connected with St Valentine but to follow the medieval belief that birds traditionally pair on 14 February.

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1797: The naval Battle of Cape St Vincent took place off south-west Portugal. The Spanish fleet was defeated by the British, under Admiral Sir John Jervis, ennobled as Earl St Vincent.

1922: Marconi began the first regular broadcasting transmissions in Britain.

1929: St Valentine’s Day massacre took place in a Chicago warehouse and seven members of Bugsy Moran’s gang were gunned down.

1933: The world’s first speaking clock began to operate in Paris. It was designed for the French ministry of posts and telecommunications by M Esclangon of the Paris Observatory, who was fed-up with people phoning the observatory to ask for the exact time.

1936: The Post Office introduced special greetings telegrams for St Valentine’s Day.

1946: The Bank of England was nationalised.

1963: Harold Wilson became leader of the Labour Party.

1981: Fire at Dublin disco killed 49 people.

1984: Britain’s Torvill and Dean skated their way to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.

1990: Abbey National increased mortgage rate to 15.4 per cent.

1993: Two-year-old James Bulger, missing after being abducted from a shopping centre in Bootle, was found dead on a nearby railway embankment.

1998: An oil tanker train collided with a freight train in Yaoundé, Cameroon, spilling fuel oil. One person scavenging the oil dropped a lit cigarette, creating a massive explosion which killed 120.

2000: The spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker entered orbit around asteroid 433 Eros, the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.

2005: Seven people were killed and 151 wounded in a series of bombings by suspected al-Qaeda-linked militants in the Philippines.

2009: US president Barack Obama welcomed Congress’s approval of his $787 billion (£548bn) stimulus package.

2012: Rangers Football Club entered administration.

2013: Three people died and a man was critically injured after being caught in an avalanche in the Highlands.


Helen Baxendale, actress, 45; Carl Bernstein, Watergate journalist, 70; Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of EasyJet, 47; Kevin Keegan OBE, football player and coach, 63; Countess Mountbatten of Burma CBE, 90; Sir Alan Parker CBE, film director, 70; Simon Pegg, actor, 44; 54; Baron Wilson of Tillyorn, Lord High Commissioner to General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 2008-11, 79.


Births: 1473 Nicolas Copernicus, astronomer; 1602 Francesco Cavalli, opera composer; 1766 Thomas Malthus, economist; 1819 Christopher Sholes, inventor of modern typewriter; 1838 Margaret Knight, inventor of the square-bottomed paper bag; 1894 Jack Benny, comedian and actor.

Deaths: c270AD St Valentine, martyred; 1779 Captain Cook, stabbed to death in the Sandwich Islands, now Hawaii; 1975 Sir Pelham Grenville (PG) Wodehouse, novelist; 1975 Sir Julian Huxley, biologist and philosopher; 2010 Dick Francis CBE, jockey and thriller writer.