On this day: Pandas arrive at Edinburgh Zoo

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 4 December

On this day in 2011 two giant pandas began settling into their new home at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: Neil Hanna
On this day in 2011 two giant pandas began settling into their new home at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: Neil Hanna


1154: Nicholas Breakspear became the only English Pope as Adrian IV.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

1586: Queen Elizabeth I confirmed death sentence against Mary Queen of Scots.

1829: Suttee, the Hindu custom of a wife being burnt with her dead husband, became illegal in India, but continues in areas like Rajasthan to the present day.

1859: The colony of Queensland was established.

1935: Monopoly was born.

1937: The Dandy comic was first published by DC Thomson in Dundee, featuring Desperate Dan, the brainchild of Dudley Watkins.

1952: A freak weather change saw London enveloped by a layer of smog. After five days, the death toll came to more than 4,000, and thousands more died later from related illnesses.

1961: The birth control pill became available on the National Health Service.

1978: HMS Ark Royal, the navy’s largest ship, arrived at Plymouth on her last voyage before being broken up.

1990: Aga Khan withdrew all his race horses from Britain in protest against dope detection methods which had disqualified his filly Aliysa from winning previous year’s Oaks.

1991: Terry Anderson, the longest-serving Western hostage in Lebanon, was set free in Beirut after seven years.

1996: A referendum in Hawick voted by 4-1 in favour of women continuing to be excluded from the town’s traditionally men-only common riding.

2007: An inquiry into the deaths of 14 servicemen in a Nimrod MR2 from Kinloss, which exploded in midair in Afghanistan, found that it was caused by a fuel leak after air-to-air refuelling and blamed the Ministry of Defence and the RAF for failing to ensure that the aircraft was safe.

2008: Karen Matthews, the mother of nine-year-old Shannon, was convicted of her kidnap. The trial in Leeds heard that Matthews and co-accused Michael Donovan kept Shannon “drugged, subdued and hidden from the public” so they could claim £50,000 in reward money.

2009: Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were found guilty in Italy of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in 2007. The pair were acquitted of the murder in October 2011.

2011: Two giant pandas began settling into their new home at Edinburgh Zoo after a nine-hour flight from China. They were on loan to the zoo for ten years.


Ronnie Corbett OBE, Scottish actor and comedian, 83; Joan Brady, novelist, 74; Jeff Bridges, actor, 64; Scott Hastings, Scottish rugby player, 50; Anke Huber, tennis player, 39; Jay-Z (Shawn Carter), hip hop artist, 44; Gemma Jones, actress, 71; Richard Meade OBE, three-day eventer, 75; Yvonne Minton CBE, mezzo-soprano, 75; Eileen O’Brien, actress, 68; Pamela Stephenson, therapist and actress, 64; Marisa Tomei, actress, 49.


Births: 1795 Thomas Carlyle, Ecclefechan-born historian and writer; 1865 Edith Cavell, nurse and patriot executed by Germans in 1915 for helping Allied soldiers to escape; 1866 Wassily Kandinsky, artist; 1892 General Franco, Spanish dictator.

Deaths: 1649 William Drummond of Hawthornden, poet and scholar; 1679 Thomas Hobbes, philosopher; 1732 John Gay, poet and playwright; 1902 Charles Dow, creator of the Dow Jones average; 1976 Lord (Benjamin) Britten, composer; 1993 Frank Zappa, musician.