It happened today – this day in history – August 19

Subscribe to get your latest local news articles by email each day...

Or click here to subscribe to our weekly digital edition. Your details will be stored to support your experience in line with our privacy policy.

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 They had a range of just up to 30 miles, but proved uneconomical and were withdrawn in 1900.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.