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On this day: June 17

Today’s birthdays

Ken Loach (pictured), TV and film director, 83

Barry Manilow, singer, 76

Ken Livingstone, former London mayor, 74

Estelle Morris, Baroness Morris of Yardley, Labour politician, 67

Greg Kinnear, actor, 56

Diane Modahl, former athlete, 53

Jason Patric, actor, 53

Venus Williams, tennis player, 39

It happened today…

1579: Sir Francis Drake anchored the Golden Hind just north of what would one day be San Francisco Bay, naming the area New Albion.

1703: The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, was born, the 15th of 19 children of a clergyman.

1775: The Battle of Bunker Hill, the second major clash of the American War of Independence, was fought just north of Boston, Massachusetts.

1823:Charles Macintoshpatented the waterproof cloth he was to use to make raincoats.

1867: Joseph Lister performed a mastectomy on his sister Isabella using carbolic acid as an antiseptic. It was the first operation using antiseptic.

1929:Hitchcock’s Blackmail (pictured above) was premiered in London. The first reel was shot before the studio was equipped for sound and has only sound effects and music, so the dialogue begins in reel two.

1970:Edwin Land patented his Polaroid camera.

1972: Five burglars were caught in the Watergate office complex in Washington, election headquarters of the Democratic Party, sparking a major political scandal.

1982: Italian banker Roberto Calvi, known as ‘God’s banker’ due to his close ties with the Vatican, was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge in London.

1991: In South Africa, the repeal of the Population Registration Act of 1950 officially ended apartheid.

Quote of the day

‘Proactive, fearless — and a total twerp’ — Sir Michael Parkinson’s reported opinion of TV’s Piers Morgan (both pictured on Morgan’s chat show Life Stories)

Thought for the day

‘Practice kindness all day to everybody and you’ll realise you’re already in heaven now’ — US writer Jack Kerouac