On this day: Burke and Hare’s last victim

On this day in 1952 the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1952 the United States detonated its first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 31 October

31 October

Halloween. All Saints’ Eve.

The first night of winter when the Celtic year began.

1485: Coronation of King Henry VII started Tudor dynasty in England.

1517: Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church, Germany, at the start of the Reformation.

1828: A beggar woman named Docherty was invited back to a house in Edinburgh by William Burke. William Hare turned up soon after and strangled her. She was the last victim of the body snatchers; her death was discovered and police were called.

1888: Pneumatic bicycle tyres were patented by Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop.

1903: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park Football Club’s stadium, opened in Glasgow.

1940: The end of the Battle of Britain. The RAF lost 915 aircraft, the Luftwaffe 1,733.

1951: Zebra crossings came into effect in Britain.

1952: First United States hydrogen bomb detonated at Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, in mid-Pacific.

1955: Princess Margaret announced: “I’d like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Townsend. Mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.”

1956: British and French bombed Egyptian airfields in Suez War.

1958: In Stockholm, Doctor Ake Senning implanted the first internal heart pacemaker.

1971: Three floors of London’s Post Office Tower destroyed by IRA bomb.

1984: India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in her garden by Sikh bodyguards.

1998: Iraq announced it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

2002: A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicted former Enron Corporation chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.

2005: David McLetchie resigned as leader of Scottish Conservatives after allegations about his Scottish Parliament expenses.

2008: Business secretary Lord Mandelson cleared the planned merger between Lloyds TSB and HBOS after ruling the deal was in the public interest.


Johnny Marr, guitarist (The Smiths), 50; Major General Michael Collins, astronaut, 83; Lollie Alexi Devereaux, actress and writer, 32; Peter Jackson, film director, writer and actor, 52; Barrie Keeffe, dramatist, 68; Michael Kitchen, actor, 65; Larry Mullen jnr, Irish rock drummer (U2), 52; Tom O’Connor, comedian, 74; Willow Smith, actress and singer, 13.


Births: 1620 John Evelyn, diarist; 1632 Jan Vermeer, painter; 1795 John Keats, poet; 1828 Sir Joseph Swan, inventor of electric lamp independently of Edison; 1919 Alastair Hetherington, editor of the Guardian, emeritus professor media studies, Stirling University; 1920 Dick Francis CBE, jockey and thriller writer; 1922 Barbara Bel Geddes, actress (Ellie Ewing in Dallas); 1926 Jimmy Savile OBE, presenter.

Deaths: 1916 Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses; 1926 Harry Houdini, escapologist; 1961 Augustus John, portrait painter; 1993 Federico Fellini, film director; 1999 Lord Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi and broadcaster.