On this day: The River Thames started to freeze

On this day in 1940 the River Thames started to freeze over for the first time since 1880. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1940 the River Thames started to freeze over for the first time since 1880. Picture: Getty
Have your say

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 17 January

1536: King Henry VIII fell off his horse while jousting and was unconscious for several hours, triggering his mental instability, experts believe. He didn’t change clothes for ten weeks afterward.

1746: Battle of Falkirk, last Jacobite victory.

1759: Holy Roman Empire declared war on Prussia.

1773: Captain Cook’s ship Resolution became the first to cross the Antarctic Circle.

1874: The original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, died within three hours of each other, aged 62.

1917: Washington purchased Danish West Indies for $25million to form US Virgin Islands.

1940: River Thames froze over for first time since 1880.

1945: Soviet troops and Polish patriot forces liberated Warsaw, more than five years after it fell to Nazi Germany.

1948: Netherlands and Republic of Indonesia signed truce.

1949: First situation comedy on television, The Goldbergs, began a run that lasted until June 1951.

1966: A hydrogen bomb was lost in the sea near Spain after an American plane was involved in a mid-air collision. It was recovered three months later.

1983: BBC’s Breakfast TV first airs with Frank Bough and Selina Scott.

1985: The House of Commons Speaker suspended business for more than 20 minutes as some Labour MPs refused to sit down, demanding an emergency debate on the miners’ strike.

1989: North Korean military and the UN met for the first time since the end of the Korean War to discuss how to ease tensions.

1989: A gunman shot dead five children and injured 39 others in a Californian school playground.

1991: Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand completed the first hot-air balloon crossing of the Pacific.

1996: Duchess of York’s debts may total £3 million it is reported.

1998: Matt Drudge broke the story of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair on his website The Drudge Report.

2007: The Doomsday Clock was set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea nuclear testing.


Calvin Harris, Scottish music producer and DJ, 31; Muhammad Ali, former world heavyweight boxing champion, 73; Jim Carrey, actor, 53; Keith Chegwin, television presenter, 58; James Hubert Ramsay, 17th Earl of Dalhousie, Chief of the Clan Ramsay, 67; Zooey Deschanel, actress and musician, 35; Françoise Hardy, singer/songwriter, 71; James Earl Jones, actor, 84; Shabba Ranks, singer, 49; Betty White, actress, 93; Michelle Obama, US First Lady, lawyer, writer, 51; Frankie Cocozza, singer, 22; Paul Young, singer, musician, 59; Kip Keino, Olympic champion athlete 1968 and 1972, 75; James Wattana, snooker player, 45; Trish Johnson, golfer, 49,


Births: 1686 Archibald Bower, Scottish historian; 1706 Benjamin Franklin, statesman, philosopher and scientist; 1761 Sir James Hall of Dunglass, 4th Baronet, Scottish geologist; 1860 Anton Chekhov, dramatist; David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, British prime minister 1916 to 1922; 1926 Moira Shearer (Lady Kennedy), Dunfermline-born ballerina; 1927 Eartha Kitt, singer.

Deaths: 1833 James Ballantyne, Scottish editor and publisher; 1933 Louis Tiffany, jeweller and glass designer; 1997 Clyde William Tombaugh, astronomer who discovered Pluto; 2008 Bobby Fischer, world chess champion 1972-75.