On this day: Jeanette Altwegg wins Olympic gold

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 20 February

On this day in 1952 Jeanette Altwegg won gold in the Oslo Winter Olympics, Britains first Olympic skating medal. Picture: Getty

1472: Orkney and Shetland annexed to the crown of Scotland as security for the dowry of Princess Margaret, daughter of Christian I, king of Norway and Denmark, and wife of James III of Scotland.

1938: Anthony Eden resigned as foreign secretary, being unable to support prime minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy on Germany.

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1947: Lord Louis Mountbatten was appointed the last Viceroy of India.

1952: Britain’s first Olympic skating medal was won in Oslo by Jeanette Altwegg, who took the ladies’ figure title.

1962: Astronaut Colonel John Glenn became the first American in orbit when he circled the Earth three times in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7. The journey took nearly five hours.

1968: MPs passed a bill to raise National Insurance contributions and end free secondary school milk.

1978: A judge indicted Senora Isabel Peron, Juan Peron’s third wife and herself the ex-president of Argentina, for fraudulent use of £8 million from the funds of a state-run charity.

1986: Widespread religious violence involving Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs flared in India, and city curfews were imposed in three states.

1990: Whyte & Mackay sold to a firm in the US for £160m.

1991: In helicopter assault across Kuwait-Saudi border, United States forces took 500 prisoners, the biggest single surrender at that point in the Gulf conflict.

1992: Hoover announced further job cuts at its Cambuslang plant in Glasgow. Unions were told 162 of the 1,150 remaining workers would have to go.

1993: South African president FW de Klerk named first non-white cabinet ministers.

2003: During a Great White concert in Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display set the club ablaze, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200 others.

2005: Spain became the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout.

2009: Two Tamil Tigers aircraft packed with explosives en-route to the national airforce headquarters were shot down by the Sri Lankan military before reaching their target, in a kamikaze-style attack.


Cindy Crawford, model, 48; Brenda Blethyn OBE, actress, 68; Gordon Brown, former prime minister, 63; Ian Brown, rock singer (Stone Roses), 51; Jimmy Greaves, ex-footballer and television pundit, 74; Patti Hearst, heiress, 60; Mike Leigh, dramatist and director, 71; Jennifer O’Neill, actress, 66; Sir Sidney Poitier KBE, actor, 87; Rihanna, singer, 26; Peter Strauss, actor, 67; Imogen Stubbs, actress, 53; Bill Walker, MP 1979-97, 85; James Wilby, actor, 56; Nancy Wilson, singer, 77; Barry Wordsworth, conductor, 66.


Births: 1726 William Prescott, American revolutionary leader; 1784 Adam Black, Edinburgh-born publisher of the Encyclopaedia Britannica; 1791 Karl Czerny, Austrian pianist, composer and piano teacher; 1808 Honoré Daumier, artist; 1888 Dame Marie Rambert, founder of Ballet Rambert; 1925 Robert Altman, film director (notably M*A*S*H).

Deaths: 1452 Earl of Douglas (murdered); 1855 Joseph Hume, social reformer; 1893 Pierre Beauregard, American Confederate army general; 1920 Robert Peary, first man to reach the North Pole.