On this day: 15 miners die at Burngrange Colliery
1812: An impenetrable fog of sooty smoke and polluted mist shrouded London so totally that midday was like midnight.
1828: The lowest-ever banknote denomination was issued by the Bank of England – worth a penny.
1840: Sir Rowland Hill’s Penny Post came into force in Britain.
1840: Shorthand inventor Isaac Pitman advertised the first correspondence course. 1863: First section of London Underground – Paddington to Farringdon Street – was opened.
1901: The first oil strike in Texas.
1920: The League of Nations came into being, holding its first meeting in Geneva. It was dissolved on same date in 1946, and superseded by the UN.
1928: Leon Trotsky ordered into exile by Soviet government.
1947: Fifteen miners died in explosion at Burngrange Colliery, Midlothian, caused by flame from open acetylene lamp.
1953: The European Coal and Steel Community met for the first time.
1977: Two Soviet cosmonauts went into space to join crew of orbiting Salyut research station.
1985: Sir Clive Sinclair unveiled the £399 C5 battery and pedal-powered tricycle, with a range of 20 miles. He predicted that by the year 2000 the petrol engine would be a thing of the past.
1989: Astronomers discovered 90-trillion-mile long stream of gas that appeared to be feeding a black hole at centre of Earth’s Milky Way galaxy.
1990: China ended seven months of martial law in Beijing. Tiananmen Square was opened for first time since June 1989 massacre.
1991: Last-ditch talks to prevent war in the Gulf failed in Geneva.
1992: A bomb exploded in Whitehall, only 300 metres away from Downing Street. The IRA claimed responsibility.
1993: Iraqis crossed into Kuwait and seized four Silkworm missiles.
1998: Donald Dewar, the Scottish Secretary, announced Holyrood had been chosen as the site for the new Scottish Parliament building, and it would be ready for the autumn session of 2001.
2005: A mudslide occurred in La Conchita, California, killing ten people, and closing the coast road between San Francisco and Los Angeles for ten days.
2011: Torrential rain in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley caused severe flash flooding, killing nine people.
Ford Kiernan, Scottish actor and comedian, 53; Pat Benatar, pop/rock singer, 62; Abigail Clancy, model, 29; Tom Clarke CBE, Labour MP, 74; Aynsley Dunbar, rock drummer, 69; Donald Fagen, co-founder and lead singer of Steely Dan, 67; George Foreman, boxer, ordained priest and grilling machine entrepreneur, 66; Caroline Langrishe, TV actress, 57; Mischa Maisky, cellist, 67; Rod Stewart CBE, rock singer, 70; Félix Trinidad, former world champion boxer, 42; Ian Poulter, golfer, 39; Bob Lang, actor and musician (the Mindbenders), 69; David Horowitz, writer, 76.
Births: 1750 Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine, Scottish lawyer, politician and Lord Chancellor; 1776 Doctor George Birkbeck, educationist; 1843 Frank James, American outlaw; 1883 Alexei Tolstoy, novelist and playwright; 1922 Billy Liddell, footballer.
Deaths: 1276 Pope Gregory X; 1778 Carl Linnaeus, botanist; 1862 Samuel Colt, inventor and firearms manufacturer; 1917 Buffalo Bill Cody, hunter, scout, Pony Express rider and showman; 1971 Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, fashion designer; 1997 George Young, Scottish footballer.