On this day: Victoria and Albert Museum opened

On this day in 1909 the Victoria and Albert Museum opened in London. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1909 the Victoria and Albert Museum opened in London. Picture: Getty
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Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 26 June

1284: According to legend, the Pied Piper reappeared in the German town of Hamelin. He had rid the town of rats but the townspeople refused to pay him, so he piped away 130 children and sealed them in a cave on Koppenburg Mountain.

1695: The company was formed which undertook the Darien Scheme and came to ruin five years later through English obstruction, Spanish hostility and Scottish mismanagement.

1857: The first investiture ceremony of Victoria Cross medals took place in Hyde Park. Queen Victoria awarded 62 servicemen this highest military honour.

1862: Kent bowler Joseph Wells, father of the novelist HG Wells, became the first man to take four first-class wickets with four successive balls, against Sussex.

1906: The first motor racing Grand Prix took place at Le Mans and was won by Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, driving a Renault at an average speed of 63mph.

1909: The Victoria and Albert Museum opened.

1917: King George V dropped the German titles from the Royal Family, and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became Windsor. The name Battenberg was changed to Mountbatten.

1939: The first National Serviceman, number 10000001, Private Rupert Alexander, signed up with the Middlesex Regiment.

1962: Billie Jean Moffit, 18, knocked out top seed Margaret Smith – the start of Billie Jean King’s long reign at Wimbledon.

1977: Elvis Presley gave his last concert performance. He died two months later.

1991: After battling for 15 years to prove their innocence, the “Maguire Seven” were cleared of running an IRA bomb factory in England.

1990: Ten-year battle over ski development project for Lurcher’s Gully on Cairn Gorm ended with Secretary of State Malcolm Rifkind’s veto.

1994: The driver and a passenger died when vandals derailed a train at Greenock.

1995: Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani deposed his father, Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in a bloodless coup.

1996: Irish journalist Veronica Guerin was shot in her car while in traffic in the outskirts of Dublin.

1997: The US Supreme Court ruled that the Communications Decency Act violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2008: Labour finished a humiliating fifth in a by-election at Henley, behind the Greens and the BNP.

2009: The Queen was given a year’s supply of ice-cream at the Royal Highland Show, at Ingliston, near Edinburgh.


Chris Isaak, actor and singer, 58; Paul Thomas Anderson, film director, 44; Steven Brand, Dundee-born actor, 45; Georgie Fame, singer and songwriter, 71; Colin Greenwood, rock musician (Radiohead), 45; Sean Hayes, actor, 44; Mick Jones, guitarist (The Clash), 59; Lord Maclennan of Rogart, MP 1966-2001, president, Liberal Democrats 1994-8, 78; Gordon McQueen, Scottish footballer, 62; Emma Noble, model, 43; Chris O’Donnell, actor, 44; Jason Schwartzman, actor, 34; Earl of St Andrews, son of Duke and Duchess of Kent, 52; Deron Williams, basketball player, 30; Samir Nasri, footballer, 27; Paolo Maldini, footballer, 46; Greg LeMond, cyclist, former world champion and three-time Tour de France winner), 53; Patty Smyth, singer-songwriter, 57; Pamela Wright, Scottish golfer, 50.


Births: 1763 George Morland, artist; 1796, Tsar Nicholas I; 1824 William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, physicist and mathematician; 1898 Wilhelm Messerschmitt, German aircraft designer; 1904 Peter Lorre, film actor; 1914 Laurie Lee, author (Cider with Rosie) and poet; 1914 Babe Zaharias, golfer; 1916 Giuseppe Taddei, Italian baritone; 1917 Willie Hamilton, MP; 1931 Colin Wilson, British author.

Deaths: 1541 Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Inca empire; 1795 Gilbert White, clergyman and naturalist; 1810 Joseph Montgolfier, ballooning pioneer; 1827 Samuel Crompton, inventor of the spinning mule; 1830 King George IV; 1836 Rouget de Lisle, army officer and composer of La Marseillaise; 1939 Ford Madox Ford, writer; 1977 Lady Baden-PowelI, founder of the Girl Guide movement in 1910; 1984 George Gallup, opinion poll organiser; 2002 Dolores Gray, singer and actress; 2012 Nora Ephron, journalist, screenwriter, director.