31st December

Born on this day 31st December
1720 Charles Edward Stuart
1738 Charles Cornwallis
1869 Henri Matisse
1877 Lawrence Beesley
1897 Rhys Williams
1905 Jule Styne
1912 Maj-Gen John Frost
1917 Wilfrid Noyce
1943 John Denver
1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins
1941 Sarah Miles
1941 Sir Alex Ferguson
1942 Andy Summers
1943 Sir Ben Kingsley
1943 Pete Quaife
1948 Donna Summer
1959 Val Kilmer
1960 Steve Bruce
1962 Heather McCartney
1965 Tony Dorigo


1960 The Miracles gave Tamla Motwon their first major hit when their ‘Shop Around’ the US Top 40

1966 Soul Music reached a peak in the UK with 7 records in the Top 30

1984 Rick Allen, drummer with Def Leppard, was badly injured in the car crash which left him having to have his left arm amputated


1964 Donald Campbell achived a new world water speed record of 276.33mph

1997 Legendary footballer Tom Finney became the 3rd footballer to be knighted

People & Showbiz

1913 Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpice the Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre from where it had been stolen 2 years earlier

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast for the first time

1996 Paul McCartney became Sir Paul McCartney in the New Years Honours List

General Events

1600 The British East India Company is chartered.

1660 James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France.

1695 The window tax was imposed in Britain, resulting in many windows being bricked up

1759 Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.

1857 Queen Victoria chooses Ottawa, Ontario, as the capital of Canada

1917 Sugar was rationed in Britain as a result of shortages during World War I, the first time food rationing had been imposed on a national scale

1923 The chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC

1927 Severe weather in the UK resulted in food supplies being air-dropped into many villages cut off by snow

1938 The Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first aircraft with a pressurised passenger cabin, took its first flight in the US

1938 The breath test known as the ‘drunkometer’ was officially introduced by the Indianapolis Police Dept, USA

1945 The Home Guard was disbanded

1960 The last National Servicemen received their call-up cards before the termination of National Service

1960 The farthing coin ceases to be legal tender

1973 The 3 day working week was introduced in Britain to conserve fuel during the miner’s strike

1984 The halfpenny coin ceased to be legal tender after 704 years of use. It was among one of the smallest coins issued in the UK since the Dark Ages

1987 Robert Mugabe assumes office as President of Zimbabwe

1998 The European Exchange Rate Mechanism freezes the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and establishes the value of the euro currency

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