1797: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, second wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and author, in 1818, of Frankenstein, was born in London.
1860: The first tram service in Britain opened, at Birkenhead on Merseyside.
1871: Lord Rutherford, pioneer of subatomic physics, was born in Spring Grove, New Zealand. In the 1920s he was the first to split the atom.
1881: The first stereo system was patented by Clement Ader of Germany, for a telephonic broadcasting service.
1901: Scotsman Hubert Cecil Booth patented the vacuum cleaner.
1937: Joe Louis defeated Welshman Tommy Farr in an epic fight in New York to retain the world heavyweight boxing title.
1939: The great evacuation of children from British cities began. With the Second World War four days away, thousands of youngsters were moved to the country to avoid anticipated German bombing.
1963: The ‘Hotline’ between the US president and the Soviet premier was established to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war. A group of London Metropolitan University students gathered outside Downing Street to express their distress at the UKBA’s decision to strip it of its right to admit foreigners.
1993: France’s Eiffel Tower receives it’s 150,000,000 millionth visitor.
ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: A “well-organised” gang used drones to fly class A drugs and mobile phones into UK jails, delivering contraband straight to inmates’ windows, a court heard.
BIRTHDAYS: Elizabeth Ashley, actress, 80; Sue MacGregor, broadcaster, 78; Robert Crumb, cartoonist, 76; Timothy Bottoms, actor, 68; Mark Strong, actor, 56; Cameron Diaz, actress, 47; Andy Roddick, tennis player, 37.