1226: St Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order, died.

1888: The first performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeoman Of The Guard took place at the Savoy Theatre, London.=

1906: SOS was established as an international distress signal, replacing the call sign CDQ.

1929: The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was renamed Yugoslavia.

1941: The aerosol was patented by LD Goodhue and WN Sullivan.

1952: Britain's first atomic weapon was exploded in the Monte Bello Islands, off Australia.

1956: The Bolshoi Ballet appeared at Covent Garden for the first time.

1959: The postcode, required in the addressing of mail for mechanical sorting, was first used in Britain in Norwich.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: An ad for an online bingo site was banned for suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from depression and a way of paying off debt and medical bills.

BIRTHDAYS: Steve Reich, composer, 82; Chubby Checker, singer, 77; Lindsey Buckingham, musician, 69; Fred Couples, golfer, 59; Tommy Lee, rock musician, 56; Gwen Stefani, singer, 49; Neve Campbell, actress, 45; Seann William Scott, actor, 42.