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On this day.

| 1707: Charles Wesley, hymn-writer and prolific preacher, was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire. | 1737: Antonio Stradivari, violinmaker, died in his nineties at Cremona, Italy.

| 1865: The United States officially abolished slavery with the ratification of the 13th Amendment. | 1912: Newspapers ran headlines of the discovery of Piltdown Man in Sussex. It was claimed to be the fossilised skull and remains of the earliest known European. In 1953 it was proved to be a hoax - the skull was that of an orang-utan combined with the skull of a fully developed, modern man.

| 1952: Bill and Ben, the Flowerpot Men, were first seen on BBC TV, along with Little Weed.

| 1969: The death penalty for murder was formally abolished in Britain. | 1970: Divorce became legal in Italy. | 2012: The Queen capped her Diamond Jubilee year by becoming the first monarch to attend the Cabinet in more than two centuries.

| 2014: Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber who won worldwide notoriety for spending 36 years on the run after escaping prison, died aged 84. | ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a new family picture as they announced their daughter Charlotte would be starting her education at a nursery rated outstanding by Ofsted. | BIRTHDAYS: Keith Richards, Rolling Stones guitarist, 75; Steven Spielberg, film-maker, 72; Brad Pitt, actor, 55; Robson Green, actor, 54; DMX (Earl Simmons), rapper, 48; Katie Holmes, actress, 40; Christina Aguilera, singer, 38; Lizzie Armitstead, cyclist, 30.

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Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs pictured in Brazil in 1982

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2018
Words:252
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