It happened today – this day in history – August 19

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14 AD: Death of Augustus, first Roman emperor.

1856: Condensed milk was patented.

1685: Judge Jeffreys began sentencing people to death at what became known as the Bloody Assize.

1883: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, French designer, was born. She revolutionised women’s fashions during the 1920s and also manufactured the famous Chanel No 5 perfume.

1897: The London Electric Cab Co began operating the first taxi-cab in London’s West End and City. The black and yellow electric cars went at 9mph. They had a range of just up to 30 miles, but proved uneconomical and were withdrawn in 1900.

1934: A plebiscite in Germany gave sole power to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.

1942: Canadian and British Commandos raided the French port of Dieppe.

1953: England, under captain Len Hutton, won the Ashes for the first time since the controversial bodyline tour of 1932-33.

1977: Comic Groucho Marx died. Years earlier Irving Berlin had written the perfect epitaph for him: “The world would not be in such a snarl, If Marx had been Groucho instead of Karl.”

1987: Michael Ryan shot dead 16 people in the Berkshire town of Hungerford before killing himself.

1991: Soviet hardliners toppled President Gorbachev in a dramatic coup. The plotters put tanks on the streets of Moscow, banned demonstrations and imposed a state of emergency.

2008: Cyclist Chris Hoy won his third gold medal of the Beijing Games – in the men’s sprint, making him Britain’s most successful Olympian at a single Olympics for 100 years.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: More young people were planning to train as priests, figures released on this day showed.

BIRTHDAYS: Richard Ingrams, former editor of Private Eye, 82; Ginger Baker, drummer, 80; Jill St John, actress, 79; Billy J Kramer, Sixties pop star, 76; Bill Clinton, former US president, 73; John Deacon, rock musician, 68; Kevin Dillon, actor, 54; Matthew Perry, actor, 50; Erika Christensen, actress, 37.

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