We celebrate the births of, among others, school children’s favourite inventor Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (he of the burner fame), who started producing his own gas in 1811. Writer of nags story Black Beauty, Anna Sewell cantered through birth in 1820. Dutch dauber with the cut off ear, Vincent Willem von Gogh coloured things up a bit in Zundert in 1853. Not the ex-British Prime Minister who was into sailors, oh, sorry, sailing, but big band leader George Edward ‘Ted’ Heath started waving his arms around uncontrollably in 1902. Chief executioner of Great Britain, Albert Pierrepoint was left hanging himself when born in 1905. Fourth President of Malta, Vincent Ćensu Tabone wasn’t cross being born in 1913. Founder of flat pack palace Ikea, Ingvar Feodor Kamprand was a ready made kid in 1926. Novelist Thomas Ridley ‘Tom’ Sharpe didn’t suffer the throwback in 1928. Severely disgraced artist and entertainer not to mention sex pest, Rolf Harris will be chomping birthday cake (again) behind bars in celebration of his 87th birthday. Actor, (and younger bro to Shirley MacLaine), Henry Warren Beaty/Beatty had the fortune to be born in 1937. Previous acting President of Pakistan Wasim Sajjad was actually born in 1941. 1945 saw two people arrive into the world – first up, Eric Patrick ‘Slow Hand’ Clapton and respected radio DJ Peter Waters Dingley or Johnnie Walker. Ex-keeper of the national abacus and chief bean counter for the UK, Mervyn Allister King started counting the years in 1948. Also born that year, founder of defunct F1 team and analyst of cars driving around a track, Edmund Patrick ‘Eddie’ Jordan started giving his opinions. Sometime mildly amusing comedian who’s now making a living as an actor – Anthony Robert McMillan or Robbie Coltrane, was right on the nose being born in 1950. Wearer of ridiculous trousers whilst prancing around, Stanley Kirk Burrell who went by the slightly hipper name, M.C. Hammer certainly didn’t touch this in 1962. Singer of one hit before bothering the lower charts, Tracy Chapman has been talkin’ ’bout a revolution since 1964. Sacked American chat show host and best mate to Jeremy Clarkson, Piers Stefan O’Meara but now known as Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan started making headlines in 1965. Warbler of various dull hits, Céline Marie Claudette Dion, found her heart will go on since 1968. Ravi Shankar’s daughter, Geetali Norah Shanker who now goes by the name Norah Jones, had the fall in 1979. Also born that year, singer with defunct (thankfully) boy band Blue, Simon Webbe had no worries about being born.
As for deaths, seeing as there aren’t any Popes to mention we’ll make do with Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Bourchier who found a quiet spot in Canterbury Cathedral in 1486, well before the tourists started traipsing by. Original dandy George Bryan ‘Beau’ Brummell didn’t get to wear his trousers (as opposed to breeches) again after 1840. Three time French Prime Minister Léon Blum ate his last snail in 1950. British MP who was the first British officer to successfully escape Colditz, Airey Middleton Sheffield Neave was in the wrong place at the wrong time in 1979. Actor James Francis Cagney Jr., found the doorway to hell in 1986. Eighth President of Austria, Rudolf Kirchschläger who was mentioned a mere ten days ago in honour of his birth, gets another mention given he survived all of three months into the new millennium. Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, or the Queen Mum, made it to 101 before swigging her last gin and tonic in 2002. Journalist Alastair Cooke didn’t get any more letters from America after 2004. Finally, actress known for her role in Dynasty – Frances Meredith Carro, or as her equity card stated, Kate O’Mara, saw the curtain come down in 2014.