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Abel, John (1578/9–1675), master carpenter, was probably born and lived at Sarnesfield, Herefordshire. A Catholic recusant, he was brought before a church court in 1618 for contracting a secret marriage with his wife, Johanna. She was still alive in 1640, when she appeared in a list of recusants with her husband. Few other facts are known about ...

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Sir John Aird, first baronet (1833–1911) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Aird, Sir John, first baronet (1833–1911), civil engineering contractor, was born on 3 December 1833 in Greenwich, the second son of eight children of John Aird (1800–1876), contractor, and Agnes (d. 1869), daughter of Charles Bennett of Lambeth. His grandfather Robert Aird...

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See Alken family

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Andrews, Robert (1703–1763), lawyer and property developer, was born in London, probably at Upper John Street, Golden Square, on 3 September 1703, the fifth but second surviving son of Richard Andrews (1664–1734), a scrivener, and his wife, Elizabeth (1664–1749), daughter of Hugh Pigot...

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Atkinson, Thomas (bap. 1729, d. 1798), architect and mason, was baptized on 22 June 1729 at Holy Trinity Church, King's Court, York, the son of Thomas Atkinson (d. 1765), a mason, and his wife, Jane Marshall. He worked with his father on ...

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Betts, Edward Ladd (1815–1872), railway contractor, was born on 5 June 1815 at Buckland, near Dover, the eldest son of William Betts (d. 1867), contractor's agent, of Sandown, Kent, and his first wife, Elizabeth Hayward, daughter of Edward Ladd of Buckland. Betts...

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Sir Cyril Wilson Black (1902–1991) by Walter Bird, 1959 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Black, Sir Cyril Wilson (1902–1991), property developer and politician, was born on 8 April 1902 at 11 Langham Mansions, Kensington, London, one of four sons (three surviving) and two daughters of Robert Wilson Black (1871–1951), property developer, of 11 Langham Mansions, and his wife, ...

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Brand, James (1831–1909), public works contractor, was born on 20 September 1831 in Montrose, Forfarshire, the son of Charles Brand (d. 1885), mason and contractor, from a Kincardine family, and his wife, Margaret Falconer. He had at least one brother. After leaving school in ...

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Brassey, Thomas (1805–1870), civil engineering contractor, was born on 7 November 1805 at Buerton, near Audlem, Cheshire, the son of John Brassey, landowner, and his wife, Elizabeth. He had two brothers and one sister. Brassey attended Mr Harting's school in Chester and then, at the age of sixteen, was apprenticed to a land surveyor and agent named ...

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Thomas Brassey (1805–1870) by George Zobel (after Frederick Newenham, in or before 1850) courtesy of the Institution of Civil Engineers Archives

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Brown, Richard (1736–1816), stonemason and manufacturer of decorative stone, was born in Derby and baptized at the collegiate church of All Saints on 25 July 1736, son of Richard Browne [Richard [i] Brown] (1700–1756), mason, and his second wife, Ann, née...

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See Brown, Richard

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See Brown, Richard

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Burton [Haliburton], James (1761–1837), builder and developer, was born on 29 July 1761, probably in London, the son of William Haliburton, a Southwark-based builder of Scottish descent. He was articled to a surveyor named James Dalton in 1776, and subsequently became his partner. ...

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Carr, Jonathan Thomas (1845–1915), property developer, was born in Dublin, the eldest son among the ten children of Jonathan Carr (d. 1881), a wholesale woollen draper of Cumbrian origin with a business in the West End of London, and his Irish wife. The family was liberal in outlook, art loving, and gregarious: one brother, ...

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W. E. A. Axon

revised by Sarah Couper

Castillo, John (1792–1845), stonemason, poet, and preacher, was born at Rathfarnham, near Dublin. When he was two or three years old his parents, who were Roman Catholics, emigrated to England, and on the voyage were shipwrecked off the Isle of Man. They settled in the hamlet of ...

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Clements, Nathaniel (1705–1777), Treasury official and property developer, was the fifth son of Robert Clements (1664–1722) of Rathkenny, near Cootehill, co. Cavan, a second-generation squire of Cromwellian origins, and Elizabeth (d. 1742), daughter of General Theophilus Sandford of Moyglare, co. Meath. Clements...

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Crapper, Thomas (bap. 1836, d. 1910), plumber, was born at Thorne, Yorkshire, and baptized on 28 September 1836 at St Nicholas's Church, Thorne, the fourth of five sons of Charles Crapper, steamboat captain, and his wife, Sarah. The claim that, aged eleven, he walked the ...