1813: Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born in Le Roncole.

1877: Motoring pioneer William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, was born in Worcester.

1881: The Savoy Theatre, the first public building to be lit by electricity, opened with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience.

1886: The dinner jacket made its first appearance in public when it was worn by its creator at a ball at the Tuxedo Park Country Club, New York.

1903: Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst formed the Women's Social and Political Union to fight for female emancipation in Britain.

1935: Gershwin's Porgy And Bess opened in New York. The opera was a financial failure though an artistic triumph.

1957: A major radiation leak was detected at the Windscale nuclear plant in Cumbria, after an accident three days earlier.

1961: A volcano erupted on the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha and the whole population was brought to Britain.

1972: Sir John Betjeman was appointed Poet Laureate.

1975: After divorce in the early 1970s, followed by several reconciliations and separations, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor remarried in a remote village in Botswana. They divorced again the following year.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A boss at courier firm Hermes apologised to MPs over a case in which a driver's contract was cancelled because he was unable to work due to the premature birth of a child.

BIRTHDAYS: Murray Walker, former motor racing commentator, 95; Nicholas Parsons, radio and TV personality, 95; Judith Chalmers, TV presenter, 83; Charles Dance, actor, 72; Chris Tarrant, broadcaster, 72; Midge Ure, rock singer, 65; Fiona Fullerton, actress, 62; Martin Kemp, actor/musician, 57; Tony Adams, former footballer and manager, 52; Sir Matthew Pinsent, Olympic gold medal rower, 48.