On this day: Ballerina Margot Fonteyn debuts

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 19 January
On this day in 1937 Margot Fonteyn, later made a Dame, debuted on stage at Saddlers Wells, London. Picture: GettyOn this day in 1937 Margot Fonteyn, later made a Dame, debuted on stage at Saddlers Wells, London. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1937 Margot Fonteyn, later made a Dame, debuted on stage at Saddlers Wells, London. Picture: Getty

1649: Trial of King Charles I began.

1795: French forces overran Holland.

1812: British forces under Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, took Ciudad Rodrigo in Spain.

1859: France and Sardinia signed treaty of alliance.

1903: New bicycle race announced – to be called the Tour de France.

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1911: The floor collapsed as John Philip Sousa was conducting his Stars And Stripes Forever at Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. He emerged, dusty, from seven feet below stage and announced: “We will now continue…”

1915: First casualties sustained in an air raid on Britain, when bombs were dropped on Great Yarmouth in Norfolk by the German L3 Zeppelin.

1918: Bolsheviks dissolved Russian Constitutional Assembly in Petrograd.

1937: Debut of 18-year-old ballerina Margot Fonteyn in Giselle at Sadler’s Wells, London.

1938: General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist air force bombed Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia, killing 700.

1942: Japanese troops invaded Burma.

1945: Soviet troops took Cracow, Poland.

1956: Sudan joined Arab League as ninth member.

1960: United States and Japan signed treaty of mutual security.

1966: Indira Gandhi became prime minister of India, following in the footsteps of her father, Jawaharlal Nehru.

1975: Britain and Irish Republican Army announced first direct negotiations since start of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland five years earlier.

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1982: London’s new Billingsgate market opened on the Isle of Dogs.

1989: The Soviet Union announced it would unilaterally withdraw some of its short-range nuclear missiles from Europe.

1989: Margaret Thatcher, in a farewell letter to the retiring United States president Ronald Reagan, wrote: “You have been a great president, one of the greatest, because you have stood for all that is best in America.”

1990: The mayor of Washington, DC, Marion Barry, was arraigned on charges of crack cocaine possession.

1991: Iraqi Scud missiles injured at least 17 people in Tel Aviv. United States urged Israel to show restraint. Baghdad expelled 30 journalists.

1995: The Pope beatified (the penultimate step towards sainthood) Australian nun Mary MacKillop, who was born in Melbourne in 1842 to a couple from the Scottish Highlands, and died in 1909.

2009: The share price of The Royal Bank of Scotland plunged 66 per cent as the once proud institution fell further into the mire. The bank lost its position as Scotland’s biggest company.

2009: Former chancellor Ken Clarke expressed “delight” at rejoining the Conservative Party’s front bench team, as shadow business secretary.


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Julian Barnes, British writer, 69; John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons 2009-present, 52; Jenson Button MBE, Formula 1 racing champion, 35; Michael Crawford OBE, British actor and singer, 73; Stefan Edberg, Swedish tennis player, 49; Rod Evans, British rock singer, 68; Wayne Hemingway MBE, fashion designer, 54; Richard Lester, American film director, 83; Dolly Parton, country music singer and actress, 69; Sir Simon Rattle CBE, British conductor, 60; Dennis Taylor, British snooker player and commentator, 66; Christine Tucci, American actress, 48; Shawn Wayans, American actor, 44.


Births: 1736 James Watt, Greenock engineer and inventor; 1757 Thomas Ruddiman, grammarian, schoolmaster, Jacobite, librarian of Advocates’ Library; 1798 Auguste Comte, French philosopher and founder of modern sociology; 1807 General Robert E Lee, American Civil War Confederate commander-in-chief; 1809 Edgar Allan Poe, writer of macabre stories and poems; 1813 Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of blast furnace method of converting cast iron into steel; 1839 Paul Cézanne, French artist and pioneer of the Impressionist movement; 1848 Matthew Webb, first person to swim English Channel; 1906 Lilian Harvey, actress; 1921 Patricia Highsmith, American crime writer; 1925 Nina Bawden CBE, British novelist; 1929 John Murray, 11th Duke of Atholl; 1939 Phil Everly, American rock singer; 1943 Janis Joplin, rock singer; 1949 Robert Palmer, rock singer.

Deaths: 1729 William Congreve, playwright; 1905 George Boughton, painter; 1990 Semprini, pianist; 1998 Carl Perkins, rock singer and guitarist; 2000 Hedy Lamarr, American film actress; 2010 Bill McLaren CBE, rugby commentator; 2014 Sir Christopher Chataway, British Olympic athlete and MP 1959-66 and 1969-74.