On this day: Ramsay MacDonald became prime minister

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 22 January

On this day in 1924 Ramsay MacDonald  son of a Lossiemouth farm labourer  became Britains first Labour prime minister. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1924 Ramsay MacDonald  son of a Lossiemouth farm labourer  became Britains first Labour prime minister. Picture: Getty

1517: Turkish troops took Cairo.

1528: England and France declared war on Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

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1720: Shares in South Sea Company which had trade monopoly with South America, rose rapidly, speculation spiralled, and when the “South Sea bubble” burst, thousands were ruined.

1771: Spain agreed to cede Falkland Islands to Britain.

1811: France’s Napoleon Bonaparte annexed Oldenburg and alienated Russia’s Tsar Alexander.

1879: About 4,000 Zulu warriors attacked British troops in Battle of Rorke’s Drift (South Africa), where 139 soldiers repelled attacks for almost 12 hours. Eight Victoria Crosses and nine Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded after the action.

1905: “Bloody Sunday” in St Petersburg, Russia, when workers in revolt were massacred by Cossacks and Imperial Army troops.

1924: Ramsay MacDonald became Britain’s first Labour prime minister.

1927: Football League game between Arsenal and Sheffield United was the first match to be broadcast.

1941: Libyan harbour of Tobruk captured by Allied forces.

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1944: The Allied army landings began at Anzio, Italy.

1947: Fresh meat ration was reduced from 1s 2d to 1s (5p) worth weekly.

1952: The Goon Show, with Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine, started on BBC radio – it ran until 1959.

1957: Israeli forces completed withdrawal from Sinai Peninsula, but remained in Gaza Strip.

1968: United States B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs plunged into Greenland Bay. Washington said there was no danger of explosion because bombs were unarmed.

1972: UK, Ireland and Denmark joined European Community.

1986: Three Sikhs were convicted of 1984 assassination of India’s prime minister, Indira Gandhi, and sentenced to death.

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1993: The government unveiled its plans for the privatisation of British Rail.

1996: Harriet Harman, Labour’s health spokesman, came under fire from all parties over her decision to send her son to a selective grammar school.

2002: Kmart became the largest retailer in US history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

2006: Evo Morales was inaugurated as president of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

2007: More than 85 people killed when two car bombs explode in the Bab al-Sharqi market in central Baghdad, Iraq.


John Hurt CBE, actor, 74; Nigel Benn, boxer, 50; Linda Blair, actress, 55; Olivia d’Abo, actress, 47; Diane Lane, actress, 49; Piper Laurie, actress, 82; Christopher Masterson, actor, 34; Beverley Mitchell, actress, 33; Andrew Smith QC, 51; Francis Wheen, author and journalist, 57.


Births: 1775 André Ampère, mathematician and founder of study of electromagnetics; 1788 Lord Byron, romantic poet; 1849 August Strindberg, Swedish dramatist, novelist and artist; 1904 George Balanchine, choreographer and ballet director; 1920 Sir Alf Ramsey, footballer and manager; 1931 Sam Cook(e), singer; 1931 Claire Rayner OBE, agony aunt; 1940 Nyree Dawn Porter, actress; 1960 Michael Hutchence, rock singer (INXS).

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Deaths: 1897 Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of shorthand system; 1901 Queen Victoria; 1942 Walter Sickert, artist; 1994 Telly Savalas, actor; 2002 Peggy Lee (Norma Deloris Egstrom), actress, singer, composer and writer; 2002 John McGrath, playwright; 2008 Heath Ledger, actor; 2010 Jean Simmons OBE, actress.