On this day: 2ft 11in Tom Thumb marries bride 3 inches taller

'Tom Thumb' (left), of Barnum's circus, marries in 1863. He was 2ft 11in and his bride Lavinia was three inches shorter. Picture: Getty Images
'Tom Thumb' (left), of Barnum's circus, marries in 1863. He was 2ft 11in and his bride Lavinia was three inches shorter. Picture: Getty Images
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EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries

1306: Stabbing of the Red Comyn by Robert the Bruce in Greyfriars’ Church, Dumfries.

1355: St Scholastica’s Day riots in Oxford lasted for three days after six university men were slain in pub quarrel.

1495: A bull from Pope Alexander VI confirmed the foundation of the University of Aberdeen.

1495: Sir William Stanley, King Henry VII’s Lord Chamberlain, was executed.

1763: France ceded Canada to Britain as Treaty of Paris was signed, ending French and Indian War.

1794: The 4th Duke of Gordon was authorised to raise the Gordon Highlanders.

1840: Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace. Both were aged 20.

1863: Tom Thumb, of Barnum’s circus, married. He was 2ft 11in and his bride Lavinia was three inches shorter.

1913: A relief party found the bodies of Captain Scott and two companions in a snow-covered tent in the Antarctic wastes. Scott’s last words in his diary were: “We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, and the end cannot be far. For God’s sake look after our people.”

1942: The first “gold” disc was presented to Glenn Miller, for Chattanooga Choo Choo.

1955: MPs voted by a majority of 31 to keep the death penalty.

1969: United States, Britain and France rejected restrictions on travel to West Berlin, and reminded Soviets of their responsibility to ensure free access.

1972: Rockall was formally incorporated into Scotland. The uninhabited rock, about 290 miles out in the Atlantic, had been annexed by a boarding party from HMS Vidal in 1955.

1990: Talks between West German chancellor Helmut Kohl and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow suggested Kremlin would not block rapid German reunification.

1996: The IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov for the first time.

1998: Voters in Maine repealed a gay rights law passed in 1997 to become the first US state to abandon such a law.

2003: France and Belgium broke the Nato procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq.

2005: North Korea announced that it possessed nuclear weapons.

2009: The former bosses of RBS and HBOS – the two biggest UK casualties of the banking crisis – apologised “profoundly and unreservedly” for their banks’ failure.

2009: United States and Russian communications satellites collided in space in the first such reported accident. A satellite owned by the American company Iridium hit a defunct Russian satellite at high speed 485 miles over Siberia, Nasa said.


Births: 1670 William Congreve, dramatist; 1890 Boris Pasternak, Soviet author (notably Doctor Zhivago); 1892 Elizabeth Carson, singer; 1893 Jimmy “Schnozzle” Durante, American comedian; 1894 Harold Macmillan, first Earl of Stockton, prime minister 1957-63; 1898 Bertolt Brecht, German poet and playwright; 1910 Joyce Grenfell, actress, comedienne and broadcaster; 1914 Larry Adler, musician and writer; 1940 Hamish Imlach, folk singer.

Deaths: 1567 Henry, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and father of James VI of Scotland and I of England (murdered at Kirk o’ Field, Edinburgh); 1868 Sir David Brewster, physicist and inventor of the kaleidoscope (died in Melrose); 1912 Lord Lister, surgeon and pioneer of antiseptic surgery; 2002 Professor John Erickson, director of Defence Studies, Edinburgh University 1988-96; 2005 Arthur Miller, playwright; 2014 Shirley Temple Black, American child film star and diplomat.