On this day: Scottish Reform Bill introduced

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 February

James Hanratty was sentenced to death in 1962. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests in 2002 proved his guilt. Picture: PA
James Hanratty was sentenced to death in 1962. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests in 2002 proved his guilt. Picture: PA

1540: Scotland’s gypsies given recognition by King James V.

1813: Prussia’s Frederick William III declared war on France.

1863: The International Red Cross was founded in Geneva by Swiss philanthropist Jean Henri Dunant. Its original title was The Committee for Aid to Wounded Soldiers.

1867: The first ship passed through the Suez Canal.

1868: Scottish Reform Bill introduced.

1882: The British League of Mothers was founded.

1897: Britain rejected Austro-Russian proposal for blockade of Piraeus in Greece.

1923: The inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamun was opened at Luxor in the presence of officials of the Egyptian government and archaeologists led by Lord Carnarvon.

1929: The first in-flight film was shown on a Universal Air Line flight from St Paul to Chicago.

1936: British-Irish trade pact ended tariff war.

1944: White paper was issued outlining National Health Service for Britain.

1962: James Hanratty was sentenced to death for killing Michael Gregsten in a lay-by on the A6. He protested his innocence to the end, but DNA tests proved his guilt “beyond reasonable doubt” in 2002, according to the Court of Appeal.

1972: House of Commons voted by a majority of eight in favour of Britain joining the European Common Market.

1972: Volkswagen cars broke the record held by the Model T Ford by selling the 15,007,034th production model of the Beetle.

1989: Frozen carcases of apes, antelopes, monkeys, squirrels and aardvarks were seized by Dutch customs from a cargo vessel en route from Africa to supply restaurants in Belgium and Germany.

1989: Scientists stated that levels of ozone-depleting gases over the Arctic were 50 times higher than had been predicted by computer.

1990: East Germany announced it would take down a 600ft section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, which would be the first section with no official controls.

1996: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.

2003: The London congestion charge scheme began.


Rebecca Adlington OBE, double Olympic swimming gold medallist 2008, 25; Michael Bay, film director, 49; 78; Lord Drummond Young, QC, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 64; Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Lord Lieutenant of Fife 1987-99, 90; Brenda Fricker, actress, 69; Prunella Gee, actress, 64; Barry Humphries CBE, Australian entertainer (Dame Edna Everage) and author, 80; Michael Jordan, basketball player, 51; Julia McKenzie, actress and singer, 73; Norman Pace, comedian and actor, 61; Lady Rendell of Babergh CBE (Ruth Rendell), crime novelist, 84; Patricia Routledge CBE, actress, 85.


Births: 1781 René Laennec, physician who invented and named the stethoscope; 1934 Sir Alan Bates, actor; 1941 Gene Pitney, singer.

Deaths: 1796 James MacPherson, author of the Ossianic poems: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland and translated from the Gaelic or Erse Language; 1909 Geronimo, last Apache chief to surrender 2013 Richard Briers CBE, actor.