It happened today – 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 is 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 is demonstrated by Edwin Land in New York.

1952: Elizabeth Taylor marries Michael Wilding.

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

Singles chart:

  1. The Story Of My Life – Michael Holliday
  2. Magic Moments – Perry Como
  3. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
  4. At The Hop – Danny and the Juniors
  5. Oh Boy – Buddy Holly and the Crickets
  6. All The Way – Frank Sinatra
  7. Love Me Forever – Marion Ryan
  8. You Are My Destiny – Paul Anka
  9. April Love – Pat Boone
  10. Peggy Sue – Buddy Holly and the Crickets

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

1965: The Beatles – Beatles For Sale

Album chart:

  1. Beatles For Sale – The Beatle
  2. Rolling Stones No2 – The Rolling Stones
  3. Best Of – Jim Reeves
  4. Lucky 13 Shades Of Val Doonican – Val Doonican
  5. Kinks – The Kinks
  6. The Voice Of Churchill – Sir Winston Churchill
  7. Cilla – Cilla Black
  8. The Bachelors And 16 Great Songs – The Bachelors
  9. A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
  10. West Side Story – Original Soundtrack

1967: Pink Floyd start recording their debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn at at 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 and John D Ehrlichman are sentenced to 2½-8 years for conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

1976: Florence Ballard of The Supremes dies 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 the 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 had been 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: Bombing in the Syrian cities of Homs and Damascus kills 140 people. Islamic State claims responsibility.

2018: Evangelist Billy Graham dies aged 99.

2019: Peter Tork of The Monkees dies age 77.

2021: Englishwoman Jasmine Harrison, 21, becomes the youngest woman to row across an ocean after arriving in Antigua as part of the Atlantic Challenge in 70 days, 3 hours, 48 minutes.

Charlotte Church

BIRTHDAYS: David Geffen, record label boss, 80; Tyne Daly, actress, 77; Jerry Harrison, keyboards/guitarist, (Talking Heads) 74; Jean-Jacques Burnel, bassist/singer (The Stranglers) 71; Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer, 65; Vanessa Feltz, broadcaster, 61; William Baldwin, actor, 60; Kelsey (Allen) Grammer, actor, 58; James Dean Bradfield, guitarist/singer (Manic Street Preachers, 54; Michael McIntyre, comedian, 47; Jennifer Love Hewitt, actress, 44; Jordan Peele, director/screenwriter/actor/comedian, 44; Charlotte Church, singer, 37; Elliot Page, actor, 36; Riyad Mahrez, footballer, 32; Sophie Turner (Jonas) actress, 27.