On this day: Britain hit by terrible snow-storms

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries


1803: Sindhia of Gwalior submitted to British in India.

1879: Gilbert and Sullivan opera The Pirates Of Penzance was first performed at Paignton, Devon, and in New York. When Sullivan arrived in New York, he found he had left the only copy of the music at home. Through the nights of 28 and 29 December, he wrote it down again from memory.

1880: Transvaal Boers under Stephanus Kruger declared a republic.

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1887: A petition addressed to Queen Victoria with more than one million names of women appealing for public houses to be closed on Sundays was handed to the home secretary.

1900: Flooding and violent gales hit Britain, causing 50 deaths.

1916: Rasputin, Russian religious fanatic who claimed to have magic healing powers, was killed aged 44. It was said that enemies poisoned his wine and put cyanide in his food, but he was unaffected. He was then shot and stabbed nine times to no avail. He was finally drowned.

1922: Russia officially became the USSR, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1947: King Michael of Romania abdicated in favour of a Communist republic.

1962: The worst snow-storms since 1881 hit Britain.

1964: United Nations Security Council resolved to call for an end to all foreign intervention in the Congo, a ceasefire there, and the withdrawal of mercenaries.

1987: Iraq said its warplanes attacked ship in gulf off Iran as toll grew in worst month of the “tanker war”.

1988: The government announced it would give £150,000 to the Lockerbie air disaster appeal.

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1989: The Polish parliament approved reforms allowing formation of political parties, protection of private property and the ending of Communist Party’s guaranteed monopoly on power.

1990: The government announced plans for common pension age for both sexes – 63 – that would cost £800 million a year.

1993: Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.

1996: Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu sparked protests from 250,000 workers, who shut down services across Israel.

2010: The top-selling toy of the year in the UK was Lego, underlining its popularity for more than 50 years.


Tracey Ullman, actress and comedienne, 55; Gordon Banks OBE, footballer, 77; David Bedford, athlete, London Marathon organiser, 65; Michael Dods, rugby player, 46; Eliza Dushku, actress, 34; Jeff Lynne, rock musician (ELO), 67; Michael Nesmith, singer, instrumentalist and songwriter (The Monkees), 72; Charlie Nicholas, Scottish footballer and television pundit, 53; Nick Skelton OBE, showjumper, 57; Patti Smith, singer, artist and poet, 68; Sir David Willcocks CBE, conductor, director, Royal College of Music 1974-84, 95; Tiger Woods, golfer, 39; Jay Kay, singer and musician (Jamiroquai), 45; Peter Wright, rugby player and coach, 47; Ellie Goulding, singer, 28; LeBron James, basketball player, 30; Joe Root, England Test cricketer, 24; Jason Behr, actor, 41; Russ Tamblyn, actor and dancer, 80; Sandy Beales, musician (One Direction), 23; Savannah Miller, fashion designer, 34; Leon Jackson, Scottish singer, 26; Duglas T Stewart, Scottish musician and songwriter (BMX Bandits), 50; Ben Johnson, sprinter, 53; James Burrows, TV director, 74; Paul Stookey, singer-songwriter (Peter, Paul and Mary), 77.


Births: AD39 Titus, emperor of Rome; 1722 Charles Yorke, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain; 1851 Asa Griggs Candler, business tycoon who founded the Coca-Cola Company; 1865 Rudyard Kipling, poet and writer; 1867 Simon Guggenheim, businessman, politician and philanthropist; 1884 Hideki Tojo, Japanese army general and prime minister, hanged for war crimes; 1895 LP Hartley, novelist and short story writer; 1906 Sir Carol Reed, film director; 1920 Jack Lord, actor (Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-O); 1928 Bo Diddley, rock’n’roll singer, songwriter and guitarist; 1933 Andy Stewart, entertainer, songwriter; 1934 Del Shannon, rock’n’roll singer-songwriter; 1945 Davy Jones, singer (The Monkees).

Deaths: AD274 Pope Felix I; 1460 Duke of York, Battle of Wakefield (father of Edward IV and Richard III); 1591 Pope Innocent IX; 1691 Robert Boyle, physicist; 1894 Amelia Bloomer, women’s rights and temperance activist after whom women’s bloomers are named; 1970 Sonny Liston, world heavyweight boxing champion; 1979 Richard Rodgers, composer; 1996 Lew Ayres, actor.