On this day: Heseltine on poll tax | Nixon impeached

Michael Heseltine warned of problems if the Tories pressed on with the poll tax, on this day in 1990. Picture: TSPL
Michael Heseltine warned of problems if the Tories pressed on with the poll tax, on this day in 1990. Picture: TSPL
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EVENTS, anniversaries and birthdays for 9 May

1671: Colonel Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as Captain Blood, tried to steal the crown jewels.

1788: Britain passed parliamentary motion for abolishing slave trade.

1911: Illusionist The Great Lafayette, nine members of his company, a lion and a horse were burned to death on stage at the Empire Palace Theatre, Edinburgh, after an illusion went wrong and scenery was set alight. The safety curtain was lowered and the audience escaped but it also trapped the performers.

1918: John MacLean, schoolmaster, labour leader and first Soviet Consul in Britain, tried in the High Court in Edinburgh for sedition.

1932: Piccadilly Circus, London, was first lit by electricity.

1933: Hitler ordered the burning of more than 25,000 books; “un-German” books were thrown on to a mighty bonfire outside Berlin University.

1949: The first self-service launderette was opened in Britain, in Queensway, London.

1955: West Germany was admitted as a member of Nato.

1957: A blaze at Bell’s Brae, Edinburgh, destroyed the three-storey premises of William Mutrie & Sons, one of Britain’s biggest theatrical costumiers; about 90,000 costumes were lost.

1974: Impeachment proceedings began in United States against president Richard Nixon.

1978: Bullet-riddled body of Italy’s former prime minister Aldo Moro was found in a car in Rome, 54 days after his abduction.

1990: Michael Heseltine warned Tories that they would lose the next election unless poll tax legislation was revised.

1992: The first of nine IRA firebombs was found at the MetroCentre shopping complex in Gateshead.

1994: Ian Lang, Scottish secretary, ordered that plans for a National Gallery of Scottish Art in Glasgow be taken back to the drawing board.

1995: The Scottish Rugby Union clamped down on foul play and banned Murrayfield forward Bill Blyth for five years for breaking an opponent’s jaw in two places.

2010: Scientists revealed that laboratory mice display human-like facial expressions when they are in pain.

2012: Retailer Clinton Cards was placed in administration.


Glenda Jackson CBE, actress and MP, 77; Richard Adams, author (Watership Down), 93; Alan Bennett, British playwright, 79; Candice Bergen, film actress, 67; John Corbett, actor, 52; Terry Downes, boxer, 77; Albert Finney, actor, 77; Dave Gahan, singer (Depeche Mode), 51; Paul Heaton, pop singer/guitarist (Beautiful South), 51; Billy Joel, singer, 64; Matthew Kelly, actor and television presenter, 63; Ruth Kelly, former Labour Cabinet minister and MP, 45; Geraldine McEwan, actress, 81; Paul McGuigan, musician (Oasis), 42; Patrick Ryecart, actor, 61; Lord (John) Wheatley, Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland, 72.


Births: 1860 Sir James M Barrie, playwright and novelist (Kirriemuir); 1873 Howard Carter, Egyptologist who discovered tomb of Tutankhamun; 1928 Pancho Gonzales, tennis player; 1930 Joan Sims, actress.

Deaths: 1850 Joseph Gay-Lussac, chemist and physicist; 1911 The Great Lafayette, illusionist (see above). 1986 Tensing Norgay, mountaineer who, on 29 May, 1953, reached the summit of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hilary; 2012 Vidal Sassoon CBE, hairdresser.