On this day: Clarkston gas explosion | Stone of Destiny to Edinburgh Castle announcement

People survey the scene of destruction after a gas explosion tore apart a block of 26 shops at Clarkston, Glasgow in 1971. Picture: Allan Milligan
People survey the scene of destruction after a gas explosion tore apart a block of 26 shops at Clarkston, Glasgow in 1971. Picture: Allan Milligan
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries from 21 October

Close season for killing of stags begins

1805: Battle of Trafalgar in which Lord Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets, preventing a French invasion.

1824: Portland cement was patented by Joseph Aspdin, of Wakefield, Yorkshire.

1858: The Can-Can was first performed in Offenbach’s Orpheus In The Underworld, in Paris.

1879: The first effective electric light bulb worked for 14hr 30min. It was invented by Thomas Edison of New Jersey.

1918: The “Spanish flu” epidemic started in Britain, eventually killing approximately twice as many people as were killed in the First World War.

1940: Purchase tax introduced in Britain.

1948: A KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Constellation, flying from Amsterdam to New York, crashed in poor visibility near Tarbolton as it tried to land at Prestwick, with the loss of 39 lives. One passenger survived.

1950: Chinese forces occupied Tibet.

1952: Britain declared state of emergency in Kenya as Mau Mau guerrilla activity intensified. More than 2,000 terrorism suspects were rounded up and Jomo Kenyatta, president of the Kenyan African Union, was arrested.

1958: First women peers were introduced to the House of Lords.

1960: Britain’s first nuclear-powered submarine, Dreadnought, was launched at Barrow, Lancashire.

1966: A colliery slag tip slid down the side of a hill and engulfed houses, a farm, and a school in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan, killing 144 people, 116 of them children.

1967: Israeli destroyer Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missiles.

1969: Willy Brandt was elected chancellor of West Germany.

1971: Gas explosion tore apart the centre of a block of 26 shops at Clarkston, Glasgow, killing 20 and injuring 105.

1990: Edward Heath met Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, who promised to release some of his “human shield” hostages.

1991: Jesse Turner, an American hostage, was freed in Beirut after nearly five years in captivity.

1993: Garry Kasparov beat Nigel Short by 12.5 matches to 7.5 in their unofficial world chess championship encounter.

1996: It was announced that the Stone of Destiny would be housed in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle when it was returned on St Andrew’s Day.


Angus MacFadyen, Glasgow-born actor, 50; Geoff Boycott OBE, cricketer and commentator, 73; David Campese, rugby player, 51; Julian Cope, rock musician and writer, 56; Maureen Duffy, poet, playwright and novelist, 80; Carrie Fisher, actress, 57; Natalia Makarova, Russian ballerina, 73; Lord (Peter) Mandelson, politician and life peer, 60; Manfred Mann, rock band leader, 73.


Births: 1772 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet; 1788 George Cooke, Edinburgh-born phrenologist; 1833 Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and inventor of dynamite in 1867, founder of Nobel prizes 1868 Sir Ernest Swinton, soldier and one of the originators of the military tank; 1912 Sir Georg Solti, conductor, artistic director, Salzburg Easter Festival;.

Deaths: 1805 Lord Nelson, naval hero (killed in action off Cape Trafalgar); 1953 Sir Muirhead Bone, artist and etcher; 1967 Ejnar Hertzsprung, astronomer;1969 Jack Kerouac, poet and novelist; 2011 Edmundo Ros OBE, Trinidadian bandleader.