1167 - King John, who sealed the Magna Carta at Runnymeade in 1215, was born.
1582 - The London bridge Waterworks began piping water to private homes.
1818 - ‘Silent Night’ was performed for the first time, in Obertsdorf, Bavaria.
1828 - William Burke went on trial in Edinburgh, charged with grave robbing and murdering locals to sell their bodies for dissection.
1904 - The London Coliseum opened - the first theatre in Britain to have a revolving stage.
1912 - Irving Fisher patented the archiving system with index cards.
1914 - The first air raid in Britain took place, when a German plane dropped a bomb in the grounds of a rectory in Dover.
1937 - The American premiere of Walt Disney’s ‘Snow White’ took place - the first full-length cartoon in the history of cinema.
1965 - A meteorite landed in Leicester - it weighed around 45kg.
1974 - The Beatles’ partnership was legally dissolved.
2003 - One of the Queen’s corgis was killed by a bull terrier belonging to Princess Anne.
Christmas Day birthdays:
1642 - English scientist Isaac Newton.
1899 - American actor Humphry Bogart.
1901 - Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
1907 - Scottish actor Andrew Cruikshank.
1909 - British eccentric Quentin Crisp.
1918 - President of Egypt Anwar Sadat.
1942 - Labour MP Barbara Follett.
1944 - Broadcaster Kenny Everett.
1945 - Journalist and author Eve Pollard.
1949 - American actress Sissy Spacek.
1954 - Singer/songwriter Annie Lennox.
1958 - Singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan.
1964 - Footballer Gary McAllister.
1968 - Supermodel Helena Christensen.
1971 - Singer Dido.
1975 - Cricketer Marcus Trescothick.
1 984 - Cricketer Alastair Cook.