1728: John Gay's The Beggar's Opera was first performed, with a score derived from popular ballads of the time.
1820: George III, longest-lived and longest-reigning King of England, died at Windsor aged 81.
1856: Queen Victoria instituted Britain's highest military decoration, the Victoria Cross.
1880: WC Fields, US comedian who claimed he wouldn't act with children or animals, was born in Philadelphia.
1886: Karl Benz patented the first practical car with petrol-driven internal combustion engine. It had three rubber-tyred wheels and went at 9.3mph.
1916: Zeppelins bombed Paris for the first time.
1942: Desert Island Discs started on BBC Radio, presented by Roy Plomley. His first castaway was comedian Vic Oliver.
1951: Actress Elizabeth Taylor, 19, divorced her first husband, hotel chain heir Nicky Hilton.
1980: Jimmy Durante, ''Schnozzola'', American comedian, died aged 87.
1985: Oxford University dons refused to grant Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree.
1988: Failed opera singer Bantcho Bantchevsky leapt to his death from the balcony of New York's Metropolitan Opera House during a performance of Verdi's Macbeth.
ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: The acting editor of the Sunday Times echoed News International boss Rupert Murdoch's apology about a 'grotesque' cartoon which appeared in the paper sparking claims of anti-semitism.