On this day: Lions arrived in Trafalgar Square

On this day in 1867 the huge statues of lions ' created by Sir Edwin Landseer ' arrived in Trafalgar Square in London. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1867 the huge statues of lions ' created by Sir Edwin Landseer ' arrived in Trafalgar Square in London. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 31 January

1858: The five-funnelled 692ft-long Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and John Scott Russell, was launched at Millwall.

1867: The lions arrived in Trafalgar Square, London. The four bronze figures at the base of Nelson’s Column were completed by Sir Edwin Landseer.

1876: The United States government banished all Sioux Indians to reservations, starting the Sioux wars.

1884: Russians took Merv from Amir of Afghanistan.

1891: Civil war began in Chile.

1910: Doctor Crippen poisoned his wife, Cora, for which he was executed at Pentonville on 23 November.

1917: Germany announced policy of unrestricted naval warfare.

1918: In a chaotic series of collisions involving battleships, destroyers and submarines during a night naval exercise off the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, 103 officers and ratings were lost. Two K-class submarines were sunk and two other submarines and a cruiser were seriously damaged.

1928: Leon Trotsky exiled from Russia by Stalin.

1943: German troops surrendered at Stalingrad.

1953: British Rail passenger and car ferry, Princess Victoria, capsized and sank, with the loss of 133 lives, in a storm off Irish coast at Donaghadee, after her stern doors had been smashed soon after leaving Stranraer. Only 44 were saved; 39 of the 49 crew members were among the dead.

1953: Sixty-six crewmen were saved when cargo vessel Clan MacQuarrie went aground near Borve, Lewis. The rescue, in winds gusting to 100mph, was the biggest ever carried out using breeches buoy in a single operation.

1958: America’s first satellite, Explorer I, was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1962: Foreign ministers of Organisation of American States voted to exclude Cuba from participating in the Inter-American system.

1971: Apollo 14 launched with Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell. Shepard and Mitchell later made the third Moon landing.

1983: The wearing of seat belts in cars became compulsory in Britain.

1988: Thousands of Solidarity supporters marched in Gdansk to protest at price increases announced by Polish government.

1989: A symbolic burial service, with a single casket of ashes, was held for the victims of the Lockerbie airliner disaster.

1990: Huge queues formed as McDonald’s opened its first hamburger emporium in Moscow.

1991: Saudi and Qatari troops liberated Khafji in Gulf war.

1992: Britain and Russia embarked on “a new era of friendship” after a meeting in London between John Major and Boris Yeltsin.

1994: The Rover car company was sold to BMW for £1.7billion.

1996: More than 80 people died when Tamil Tigers exploded a lorry bomb in the centre of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

2000: Doctor Harold Shipman, 54, was given 15 life sentences for the murder of 15 of his female patients at Hyde, Greater Manchester, between March 1995 and June 1998. Police said they were investigating at least another 130 deaths in which he may have been involved.

2011: BMI announced its decision to axe flights between Glasgow and Heathrow, in London.


Minnie Driver, actress, 45; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, 77; George Benjamin CBE, composer, 55; Carol Channing, actress, 94; Lloyd Cole, singer, 54; John Collins, Scottish footballer and manager, 47; Philip Glass, composer, 78; Rasmus Hardiker, actor, 30; Carol Hawkins, actress, 66; Anthony LaPaglia, actor, 56; John Lydon, rock singer (Johnny Rotten), 59; Phil Manzanera, rock guitarist (Roxy Music), 64; Justin Timberlake, pop star and actor, 34; Connie Booth, actress and psychotherapist, 71.


Births: 1797 Franz Schubert, Austrian composer; 1875 Zane Grey, writer of western novels; 1885 Anna Pavlova, prima ballerina; 1892 Eddy Cantor, American comedian and dancer; 1903 Tallulah Bankhead, actress; 1903 Lord Soper, Methodist minister; 1921 Mario Lanza, American opera singer and film actor; 1923 Norman Mailer, writer; 1929 Jean Simmons OBE, English actress; 1931 Sir Christopher Chataway, British Olympic athlete and MP 1959-66 and 1969-74.

Deaths: 1606 Guy Fawkes, plotted to blow up Houses of Parliament (executed); 1788 Prince Charles Edward Stuart, leader of Jacobite rising (in Rome); 1933 John Galsworthy, novelist; 1951 Sir CB Cochran, theatrical producer; 1956 AA Milne, writer of children’s books, notably Winnie the Pooh; 1974 Sam Goldwyn, film producer; 1983 Winifred Atwell, pianist; 2006 Moira Shearer (Lady Kennedy), Dunfermline-born ballerina.