On this day: whisky galore | sweet rationing ends | miner’s strike

Share this article
Have your say

The following events have occurred throughout history on February 4:

1649: Charles II proclaimed king in Edinburgh.

1716: Prince James Francis Stuart, the Old Pretender, left Scotland.

1874: British forces under Garnet Wolseley burned Kumasi, Ghana, ending Ashanti War.

1915: Britain announced a naval blockade of Germany.

1929: The first area of Green Belt was approved: five miles of land near Hendon, Middlesex.

1938: Adolf Hitler assumed office as Germany’s war minister and named Joachim von Ribbentrop as foreign minister.

1941: The 8,000-ton cargo ship Politician went aground on Eriskay, with a cargo of luxuries, including 250,000 bottles of whisky, bound for New Orleans and Kingston, Jamaica. The wreck was immortalised by Sir Compton Mackenzie in Whisky Galore, later made into an Ealing film comedy.

1945: Yalta Conference involving Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin began in the Crimea to find a policy among Allies for closing the war and coping with post-war government.

1953: Sweet rationing ended in Britain.

1962: The first colour supplement was published by the Sunday Times.

1962: Two Swiss climbers achieved the first winter ascent of the Matterhorn’s north face.

1971: Rolls-Royce declared itself bankrupt, brought down by a contract to design and manufacture the RB211 jet engine for the new Lockheed TriStar which had a hard bargain on price and penalty clauses.

1972: Britain and nine other nations recognised East Pakistan as independent nation of Bangladesh.

1974: Eighty-one per cent of miners voted for a national strike.

1981: The government announced it would sell half the shares in British Aerospace – nationalised in 1977 – as part of Margaret Thatcher’s policy to privatise nationalised industries.

1985: A Spanish officer unlocked a pair of green iron gates at the border between Spain and Gibraltar and ended a 16-year siege imposed on the Rock by General Franco in an attempt to transfer sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain.

1990: Terrorists ambushed bus carrying Israeli tourists in Egypt, killing nine and wounding 20.

1990: New Zealand cricketer Richard Hadlee became first player to take 400 Test wickets.

1991: Winnie Mandela went on trial in Johannesburg on eight charges relating to kidnap of four township youths, one of whom was later killed.

1998: An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale in north-east Afghanistan killed more than 5,000.


Births: 1864 Willie Park, junior, Musselburgh golfer; 1907 Doctor (James) McIntosh Patrick, artist and etcher; 1915 Sir Norman Wisdom OBE, actor and comedian; 1916 Gavin Ewart, poet.

Deaths: 1790 William Cullen, professor of medicine and chemistry in the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh; 1962 Sir William Darling, former Edinburgh lord provost; 1976 Roger Livesey, actor;1983 Karen Carpenter, singer; 1987 Liberace, pianist.


Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier), rock singer, 66; Gabrielle Anwar, actress, 43; Granville Gordon, 13th Marquess of Huntly, premier marquess of Scotland and chief of the House of Gordon, 69; Natalie Imbruglia, singer and actor, 38; Dara O’Briain, comedian and television presenter, 41; Dan Quayle, politician, 66; Kimberly Wyatt, American singer and dancer (Pussycat Dolls), 31.