It happened today – on this day in history – February 21

1173: Pope Alexander III canonises Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury.

1431: Joan of Arc’s first day of interrogation during her trial for heresy.

1437: James I of Scotland is murdered during a coup attempt.

1797: Trinidad surrenders to the British.

1848: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish “The Communist Manifesto” in London.

1874: Benjamin Disraeli succeeds William Gladstone as Prime Minister.

1911: Gustav Mahler conducts his last concerto, Berceuse élégiaque, in New York.

1916: The Battle of Verdun begins.

1922: Britain declares Egypt a sovereign state.

1931: Alka Seltzer introduced.

1945: Eric Liddell, 400m runner (Olympic gold 1924) and Christian missionary in China, dies of an inoperable brain tumor at 43 while interned at the Weihsien Internment Camp in Weifang, Shandong, China.

1947: The first instant developing camera demonstrated by Edwin Land in New York.

1952: Elizabeth Taylor marries Michael Wilding.

1958: Duncan Edwards, Manchester United midfielder, dies from injuries sustained in Munich air disaster aged 21.

1963: Singles chart:

  1. Wayward Wind – Frank Ifield
  2. Please Please Me – The Beatles
  3. Diamonds – Jet Harris and Tony Meehan
  4. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes – Bobby Vee
  5. Little Town Flirt – Del Shannon
  6. Loop-De-Loop – Frankie Vaughan
  7. All Alone Am I – Brenda Lee
  8. Island Of Dreams – The Springfields
  9. The Next Time/Bachelor Boy – Cliff Richard
  10. Sukiyaki – Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen

1965: Controversial black leader Malcolm X is assassinated in New York.

1967: Pink Floyd started recording their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at at the EMI Studios, Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood, working on the Syd Barrett song ‘Matilda Mother’.

1972: US President Richard Nixon arrives in China at the start of a week-long summit aimed at ending 20 years of frosty relations between the two countries. On the same day, Palestinian hijackers take over a Lufthansa jet in the Yemen.

1975: Watergate figures John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman & John D Ehrlichman sentenced to 2½-8 years for conspiracy and obstruction of justice.


1976: Florence Ballard of The Supremes died of a cardiac arrest, aged 32.

1980: American speed skater Eric Heiden wins 1,500m in Olympic record 1:55.44 at Lake Placid. On the same day, British figure skater Robin Cousins wins men’s singles gold medal.

1981: Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is arrested.

1987: The Syrian Army marches into Beirut.

1988: Jimmy Swaggart, America’s leading television evangelist, resigns from his ministry after revelations he had been consorting with a prostitute.

1991: English ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn dies aged 71.

1995: Arsenal manager George Graham is sacked after a Premier League investigation finds that he had taken a £425,000 ‘’gift’ from agent Rune Hauge when arranging the transfer of two players.

1997: Three men jailed 18 years ago for the murder of 13-year-old paper boy Carl Bridgewater are released after their convictions are ruled unsafe.

2001: The European Commission bans all British milk, meat and livestock exports following the UK’s first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease for two decades. On the same day, Robbie Williams is attacked on stage during a concert in Stuttgart, Germany when a man pushes him into the security pit.

2004: Mud singer Les Gray dies of a heart attack, whilst fighting throat cancer, aged 57.

2008: Britney Spears fails in a court bid to regain visitation rights to her two children. She was banned from monitored visits in January after refusing to hand the children back, resulting in a stand-off with police at her house.

2010: Kathryn Bigelow wins a best director BAFTA for The Hurt Locker

2014: US President Barak Obama meets with the Dalai Lama.

2016: Bombings in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus kill 140 people. Islamic State claims responsibility.

2018: Evangelist Billy Graham dies aged 99.

2019: Peter Tork of The Monkees dies age 77.

2020: Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head

2020: Album chart:

  1. Changes – Justin Bieber
  2. Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent – Lewis Capaldi
  3. The Slow Rush – Tame Impala
  4. When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go – Billie Eilish
  5. New Hope Club – New Hope Club
  6. Music To Be Murdered By – Eminem
  7. Heavy Is The Head – Stormzy
  8. Fine Line – Harry Styles
  9. No 6 Collaboration Project – Ed Sheeran
  10. Big Conspiracy – J Hus

BIRTHDAYS: David Geffen, record label boss, 78; Tyne Daly, actress, 75; Jerry Harrison, keyboards/guitarist, (Talking Heads) 72; Jean-Jacques Burnel, bassist/singer (The Stranglers) 69; Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer, 63; Vanessa Feltz, broadcaster, 59; William Baldwin, actor, 58; Kelsey (Allen) Grammer, actor, 56; James Dean Bradfield, guitarist/singer (Manic Street Preachers, 52; Michael McIntyre, comedian, 45; Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress, 42; Jordan Peele, director/screenwriter/actor/comedian, 42; Charlotte Church, singer, 35; Elliot Page, actor, 34; Riyad Mahrez, footballer, 30; Sophie Turner (Jonas) actress, 25.