1065: Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
1612: Galileo Galilei observes and records a “fixed star” without realising it is the undiscovered planet Neptune.
1694: Queen Mary II, wife of William III and co ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland, dies of smallpox aged 32.
1734: Scottish folk hero and outlaw Rob Roy McGregor, dies aged 63.
1836: Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico.
1846: Iowa becomes 29th state of the Union.
1850: Rangoon, Burma, is destroyed by fire.
1879: A passenger train plunges into the River Tay near Dundee, killing 75 passengers.
1895: The Lumiere brothers, hold the first commercial film screening at Salon Indien du Grand Café, Paris.
1908: An earthquake strikes Messina, Italy, killing nearly 80,000.
1915: The British cabinet decides to institute compulsory military service, with single men to be conscripted before married ones.
1923: George Bernard Shaw’s “St Joan” premieres in New York.
1937: French composer Maurice Ravel dies aged 62.
1950: Chinese troops cross the 38th Parallel into South Korea. On the same day, the Peak District becomes the UK’s first National Park.
1957: One of Britain’s largest abattoirs in Liverpool closes down after foot-and-mouth disease is found in cattle waiting to be slaughtered. On the same day, actress Natalie Wood marries actor Robert Wagner.
1968: The three day Miami Pop festival begins, the first major rock festival held on the East Coast of the US, with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Procol Harum and The Grateful Dead.
1972: Kim Il-song becomes president of North Korea. On the same day, the skeleton of Hitler’s deputy Martin Bormann is found in Berlin. Also, two people are killed in a loyalist bomb attack on the village of Belturbet, County Cavan, Republic of Ireland.
1975: An earthquake in Pakistan kills 4,000.
1976: Blues guitarist Freddie King dies of heart trouble and ulcers aged 42.
1983: Having made two successful dives below a friend’s yacht in Marina Del Rey, California, to find items he’d drunkenly thrown off his own boat three years before, Beach Boys drummer Denis Wilson took one last dive into the Pacific and drowned.
1984: Ted Hughes is appointed Poet Laureate by The Queen. On the same day, director Sam Peckinpah dies aged 59.
1986: Singles chart:
- Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson
- Caravan Of Love – The Housemartins
- The Final Countdown – Europe
- Open Your Heart – Madonna
- Cry Wolf – A-Ha
- The Rain – Oran’ Juice Jones
- Sometimes – Erasure
- Is This Love? – Alison Moyet
- Shake You Down – Gregory Abbott
- Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
- Now That’s What I Call Music 8 – Various Artists
- True Blue – Madonna
- Graceland – Paul Simon
- The Whole Story – Kate Bush
- Hits 5 – Various Artists
- Silk And Steel – Five Star
- Every Breath You Take: The Singles – The Police
- Revenge – Eurythmics
- Live Magic – Queen
- The Singing Detective – Various Artists
1988: Director Hal Ashby dies from cancer aged 59.
1993: British customs officials seize £70m of Colombian cocaine thought to be linked to the Mafia.
2007: Nepal is declared a federal democratic republic.
2015: Lemmy, (Ian Kilminster) lead vocalist and bassist with Motörhead dies at his home in Los Angeles, four days after his 70th birthday following a short battle with an extremely aggressive cancer. On the same day, John Bradbury, drummer with The Specials dies aged 62.
2016: Hollywood actress Debbie Reynolds dies of a stroke aged 84 one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher.
2018: The New Years Honour’s List includes knighthoods for Michael Palin and novelist Philip Pullman. On the same day, actress June Whitfield dies aged 93 and Dr Hook singer Ray Sawyer dies aged 81.
BIRTHDAYS: Nichelle Nichols, actress, 89; Baron Roy Hattersley, politician, 89; Dame Maggie Smith, actress, 87; Frank McLintock, footballer/manager, 82; Lonnie Liston Smith, jazz musician, 81; Max Hastings, journalist, 76; Edgar Winter, musician, 75; Richard Clayderman, pianist, 68; Denzel Washington, actor, 67; Rosie Vela, singer-songwriter/model, 67; Nigel Kennedy, violinist, 65; Terry Butcher, footballer, 63; Andy McNab, novelist, 62; Catherine Popper, bassist, 48; Seth Meyers, comedian/TV host, 48; Joe Manganiello, actor, 45; John Legend (Stephens) singer-songwriter, 43; Noomi Rapace, actress, 42; Sienna Miller, actress, 40; Jessie Buckley, actress, 32; Marcos Alonso, footballer, 31; Tanguy Ndombele, footballer, 25.