Historic Birthdates in March

by Ben Johnson

Our selection of historic birthdates in March, including King Henry II, Dr David Livingstone and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The picture above is of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

1 March. 1910 David Niven, Scottish-born film actor whose films included The Pink Panther and The Guns of Navarone.
2 March. 1545 Thomas Bodley, scholar, diplomat and founder of Oxford’s famous Bodleian Library.
3 March. 1847 Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-born inventor of the telephone, photo phone, graphophone, microphone and a host of other really useful phones.
4 March. 1928 Alan Sillitoe, author and playwright whose books included Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.
5 March. 1133 King Henry II, son of Matilda and Geoffrey of Anjou who was to become the first Plantagenet king of England.
6 March. 1806 Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Victorian poet whose works including Sonnets from the Portuguese, are perhaps now overshadowed by her more famous husband Robert Browning.
7 March. 1802 Edwin Henry Landseer, painter and sculptor of the lions in London’s Trafalgar Square.
8 March. 1859 Kenneth Grahame, Scottish author of the children’s book The Wind in the Willows.
9 March. 1763 William Cobbett, radical author, politician and journalist who championed the cause of the underprivileged and wrote the Rural Rides in 1830.
10 March. 1964 Prince Edward, youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II.
11 March. 1885 Sir Malcolm Campbell, holder of the world speed records on land and sea.
12 March. 1710 Thomas Arne, English composer who wrote Rule Britannia.
13 March. 1733 Dr Joseph Priestley, scientist who, luckily for us all, discovered oxygen in 1774.
14 March. 1836 Mrs Isabella Beeton, author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – everything a Victorian middle class woman should know!.
15 March. 1779 William Lamb, Viscount Melbourne, twice British Prime Minister in the early 1800’s. His wife Lady Caroline, scandalised London society with her affair with Lord Byron.
16 March. 1774 Mathew Flinders, English explorer after whom the Flinders mountain range and Flinders River in Australia are named.
17 March. 1939 Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail single-handed, non-stop around the world.
18 March. 1869 Neville Chamberlain, British prime minister who tried unsuccessfully to make peace with Hitler. He returned from Munich in 1938 claiming ‘peace in our time’. Within a year, Britain was at war with Germany.
19 March. 1813 Dr David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer, the first white man to see the Victoria Falls. His missionary work was less successful – apparently he only ever made one convert.
20 March. 1917 Dame Vera Lynn was born in London and by the age of seven, was singing on a regular basis in working men’s clubs. She made her first broadcast in 1935. During the Second World War Vera found fame as the “Forces Sweetheart”, keeping up the spirits of the public with such songs as “We’ll Meet Again” and “White Cliffs of Dover”. These songs, and some films, catapulted Vera Lynn into what would now be referred to as superstardom.
21 March. 1925 Peter Brook, director of stage and film.
22 March. 1948 Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of musicals including Cats, Evita and Phantom of the Opera, to name but a few.
23 March. 1929 Dr Roger Bannister, who, as a medical student, was the first person in the world to run a mile in under four minutes (3 min 59.4 sec)
24 March. 1834 William Morris, socialist, poet and craftsman who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
25 March. 1908 David Lean, film director responsible for such greats as Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and Bridge over the River Kwai.
26 March. 1859 Alfred Edward Housman, scholar, poet. and author of A Shropshire Lad.
27 March. 1863 Sir Henry Royce, car designer and manufacturer who co-founded, with C.S.Rolls the Rolls-Royce motor company.
28 March. 1660 George I, King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714. Became king following the death of Queen Anne. He spent most of his reign in Hanover, never having mastered the English language.
29 March. 1869 Edwin Lutyens, architect known as the last English designer of country houses. Other works include the cenotaph, vice-regal palace in New Delhi and Roman catholic cathedral (Paddy’s wig-wam) in Liverpool.
30 March. 1945 Eric Clapton, songwriter and guitarist.
31 March. 1621 Andrew Marvell, poet, political writer and buddy of John (Paradise Lost) Milton.

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