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17 October: On this day in history

What events happened on 17 October in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

Published: October 17, 2021 at 6:06 am
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17 October 1091

In London, a powerful tornado tears through the streets, badly damaging the church of St Mary-le-Bow and destroying London Bridge.


17 October 1777

British forces surrender to the Americans at Saratoga.

17 October 1849

Polish-born composer and pianist Frederic Chopin died of pulmonary tuberculosis in his Parisian flat in the Place Vendôme. He is buried in Paris's Père-Lachaise cemetery.

17 October 1860

Britain's first Open Golf Championship was held at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire. Eight golfers competed, playing three rounds of the 12-hole course in the day. The first champion was Willie Park who beat the local favourite, Tom Morris, by two strokes.

17 October 1898

Eight people are killed and 26 injured as the Great Central Railway Cleethorpes-to-Manchester Express strikes an obstruction on the line at Wrawby Junction in Lincolnshire.

17 October 1912

At a public meeting in the Royal Albert Hall, suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst underlined the Women's Social and Political Union's opposition to all political parties, and its intention to continue its attacks on public and private property | Read more about the Suffragettes

17 October 1933

Horrified by the rise of Adolf Hitler, Albert Einstein arrives in the US to begin a new life and career.


17 October 1961

At least 50 people were killed in Paris when police attacked demonstrators protesting at the curfew imposed on Algerian nationals. Many of those killed were thrown into the river Seine.

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Dominic SandbrookHistorian and presenter

Dominic Sandbrook is historian and presenter, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine


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