On this day: First official Grand National

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 26 February

Charles Hunts picture depicts the first ever Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, which took place on this day in 1839. Picture: Getty
Charles Hunts picture depicts the first ever Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, which took place on this day in 1839. Picture: Getty

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

1623: Dutch massacred English colonists at Amboyna, Indonesia.

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1672: Naturalisation granted to Philip van der Straten.

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

1815: Napoleon escaped from exile on the island of Elba.

1832: Polish Constitution was abolished by Nicholas I.

1839: The first official Grand National steeplechase, run at Aintree, Liverpool.

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.

1909: Turkey recognised Austria’s annexation of Bosnia.

1918: German planes bombed Venice.

1935: Radar 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: 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.

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

1995: Barings Bank crashed.

2010: Scottish rugby legend Ian McGeechan was knighted.

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


Corinne Bailey Rae, soul singer, 35; Erykah Badu, singer, 43; Michael Bolton, singer, 61; Lynda Clark, QC, Baroness Clark of Calton, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 65; Fats Domino, R&B singer and pianist, 86; David Edgar, playwright, 66; Michel Houellebecq, novelist, 58; Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby DBE, soprano, 65; Tony Selby, British actor, 76; Sandie Shaw, singer, 67; Brian Simmers, Scottish rugby player, 74; Colin Telfer, Scottish rugby player and coach, 67.


Births: 1802 Victor Hugo, poet and novelist; 1846 William Cody, showman, known as Buffalo Bill; 1879; Frank Bridge, composer; 1907 Harry Gold, saxophonist; 1916 Jackie Gleason, actor; 1921 Betty Hutton, actress; 1922 Margaret Leighton, actress; 1925 Peter Brough, ventriloquist; 1932 Johnny Cash, singer; 1931 Ally McLeod, football manager.

Deaths: 1723 Thomas d’Urfey, satirist and songwriter; 1770 Giuseppe Tartini, violinist and composer; 1898 Frederick Tennyson, poet; 2004 Russell Hunter, actor; 2005 Max Faulkner, golfer.