1952: The danger to elderly people living alone, who might be unable to call for help in an emergency, was highlighted in a Swindon survey carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Health. The survey committee proposed that SOS cards be issued, which holders could then display in their windows to alert passers-by if help was needed. At that time relatively few households had telephones.

1952: Workers at the Supermarine Works of the Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd engineering plant at South Marston were to receive free life assurance in a newly-announced scheme. Applying to death in service, it meant £75 for men aged 21 to 60 and £50 for women aged 25 to 55, with a variety of higher benefits for staff with a decade or more of continuous service.

1962: Retired railway worker Frank Walters, 77, who lived in Summers Street, revealed he had kept a list of all 6,000 locomotives he had worked on as a cylinder borer. He had joined the Railway Works at 14 on a wage of five shillings - equivalent to 25 pence in decimal currency - and stayed for 54 years. His stint as a cylinder borer, meticulously chronicles in copperplate handwriting, lasted from 1922 until 1943.

1962: Word reached the Adver that a Swindon couple who emigrated to Australia in 1912 had just celebrated their golden wedding. Mr and Mrs James Bridges had set sail for Australia two days after marrying in Swindon, and their luggage included a bicycle. They explained to the local newspaper in their adopted homeland: “We didn’t know there were any trams in Sydney.”

1972: A sit-in by women working in the resistors moulding division of Cheney Manor electronics firm Plesseys had grown from 50 participants to more than 300 in a week. The dispute was over rates paid for piece work, and a union spokesman accused management of using the threat of lay-offs to try to force people back to work.

1972: A plea for more marriage guidance counsellors was made by the Rev Jeremy Walsh, retiring chairman of Swindon and North Wilts Marriage Guidance Council, during the organisation’s annual meeting at the Methodist Central Hall. Extra work, he said, was placing a heavy burden on staff.

the world

1763: Dr Johnson and James Boswell met for the first time at Tom Davie’s

bookshop in Russell Street, London.

1770: The Dauphin of France (later Louis XVI) married Marie Antoinette.

1875: The Kentucky Derby was first run at Louisville, Kentucky.

1888: Emile Berliner gave the first demonstration of flat disc recording and reproduction before members of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.

1919: Pianist and entertainer (Wladziu Valentino) Liberace was born in Wisconsin. His father wanted him to be an undertaker.

1920: Joan of Arc was canonised.

1929: The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in Hollywood - the name Oscar was not used for another few years. Emil Jannings was the first Best Actor and Janet Gaynor Best Actress.

1943: The Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams in Germany were attacked by 19 Lancaster bombers of 617 quadron, led by Guy Gibson, using the “bouncing bombs” invented by Dr Barnes Wallis.

1956: Jim Laker, playing for Surrey, took all 10 Australian wickets for 88 in 46 overs at the Oval. A month later, playing for England, he took 19 wickets in the Test match against Australia at Old Trafford.

1983: London police began wheel clamping illegally parked vehicles.

1991: Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.

2007: Nicolas Sarkozy took office as President of France.


Roy Hudd, comedian, 82; Judy Finnigan, TV presenter/columnist, 70; Christian Lacroix, fashion designer, 67; Pierce Brosnan, actor, 65; Olga Korbut, former gymnast, 63; Hazel O’Connor, singer and actress, 63; Debra Winger, actress, 63; Janet Jackson, soul singer, 52; Gabriela Sabatini, former tennis player, 48.