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Aickman, Robert Fordyce (1914–1981), writer and campaigner for inland waterways, was born on 27 June 1914 at 77 Fellows Road, Hampstead, London, the only child of William Arthur Aickman (1858-1941), an architect, and his wife, Mabel Violet (1890–1943), daughter of ...

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Albone, Daniel [Dan] (1860–1906), cycle and motor tractor manufacturer, was born at the Ongley Arms inn, Shortmead Street, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, on 12 September 1860, the fourth son and youngest of eight children of Edward Albone (d. 1864), publican and market gardener, and his wife, ...

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Alcock, Sir John William (1892–1919), aviator, was born at Basford House Cottage, Seymour Grove, Old Trafford, Manchester, on 6 November 1892, the eldest son of John Alcock, a domestic coachman and later a horsedealer, and his wife, Mary Whitelegg. He had a boyhood fascination with machines, and after attending the parish school at ...

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Anderson, Arthur (1792–1868), shipowner, was born at Grimista, near Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on 19 February 1792, the eldest son of Robert Anderson. After a brief education from a local minister, his earliest employment was as a ‘beach boy’, preparing dried fish. In 1808 he joined the ...

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Austin, Herbert, Baron Austin (1866–1941), engineer and motor vehicle manufacturer, was born on 8 November 1866 at Grange Farm, Deep Mill Lane, Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, the second of five children of Giles Stevens Austin, a farmer, and his wife, Clara Jane, daughter of ...

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Awdry, Wilbert Vere (1911–1997), children's writer, railway historian, and Church of England clergyman, was born on 15 June 1911 at Ampfield vicarage, Romsey, Hampshire, the elder son of the Revd Vere Awdry (1854–1928), clergyman, and his third wife, Lucy Louisa Bury (1878–1972), who was on the staff at ...

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Ball, Albert (1896–1917), airman, was born at 301 Lenton Boulevard, Nottingham, on 14 August 1896, the elder son and second of three surviving children of Sir Albert Ball (1863–1946), master plumber, land agent, and sometime mayor of Nottingham, and his first wife, Harriet Mary Page (...

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Bamford, Joseph Cyril (1916–2001), engineer and businessman, was born on 21 June 1916 at The Parks, New Road, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, the son of Cyril Joseph Bamford, agricultural engineer, and his wife, Dolores Alice, née Turner. His family controlled and managed a long-established farm machinery business. The company, which manufactured balers and other equipment, had been started by his great-great-grandfather in 1812. He was brought up a Roman Catholic. After education at ...

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Bates, Sir Percy Elly, fourth baronet (1879–1946), merchant and shipowner, was born at Beechenhurst, Wavertree, Liverpool, on 12 May 1879, the second of seven sons of Edward Percy Bates (1845–1899), who became second baronet, and his wife, Constance Elisabeth, daughter of Samuel Robert Graves...

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Bazalgette [née Seville], Louise (1845/6–1918), motorist, was born in Essex, one of the two daughters of John Seville, farmer. Little is known of her education and early life. She was resident in Marylebone, London, when she married, on 9 April 1870, George Bazalgette (1829–1885)...

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Beamont, Roland Prosper (1920–2001), air force officer and aviator, was born on 10 August 1920 at 8 Private Road, Enfield, Middlesex, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Clement Beamont, a trade officer with the Foreign Office, and his wife, Dorothy Mary, née Haynes. Educated at ...

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Beardmore, William, Baron Invernairn (1856–1936), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 16 October 1856 at Deptford, the eldest son of William Beardmore and his wife, Sophia Louisa Halkman. His father was assistant manager of the Deptford works of the General Steam Navigation Company...

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Beatty, Sir Edward Wentworth (1877–1943), railway entrepreneur in Canada, was born at Thorold, Ontario, on 16 October 1877, the third son and fourth child of Henry Beatty, shipowner, and his wife, Harriett M. Powell. He was educated at Upper Canada College and at the ...

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Bell, Henry (1767–1830), hotelier and developer of steam navigation, was born at Torphichen Mill, Linlithgowshire, on 7 April 1767, the fifth son of Patrick Bell and his wife, Margaret Easton. He was educated at the village school and then in Falkirk. Despite the reputation of Scottish schools, his education served him badly and for the rest of his life he was unable to spell and made many grammatical errors in his extensive correspondence. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed as a stonemason and then in 1783 as a millwright—two trades much in demand at a time when Scottish industry was growing rapidly. In 1786 he began work in the shipyard of ...

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J. Brown

revised by Anthony Slaven

Bell, Sir Thomas (1865–1952), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 21 December 1865 at Sirsawa in India, the son of Imrie Bell, a consultant engineer specializing in the design of lighthouses, and his wife, Jane Walker of Edinburgh. His early education was undertaken at the ...

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Bennie, George (1891–1957), inventor, was born on 29 August 1891 in Auldhousefield, Harriet Street, Pollokshaws, near Glasgow, the second of four children of John Bennie of John Bennie Ltd, general and hydraulic engineers, and his second wife, Elizabeth Gillespie. His father, who owned the ...

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Bentley, Walter Owen (1888–1971), designer and racer of motor cars, was born on 16 September 1888 at 78 Avenue Road, Hampstead, London, the youngest in the family of six sons and three daughters of Alfred Bentley, retired businessman of London, and his wife, ...

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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Bird, Sir James (1883–1946), naval architect and aircraft manufacturer, was born on 19 March 1883 in London, the second son of Samuel Bird, merchant, of East Cowes, Isle of Wight, and his wife, Freda. He was educated at Marlborough School, where he was a prefect, played in the hockey eleven, and captained the football fifteen. He next served an apprenticeship with ...

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Blackwell, Sir Basil Davenport (1922–2003), engineer and industrialist, was born on 8 February 1922 at 72 Hollyshaw Lane, Whitkirk, Yorkshire, the son of Alfred Blackwell, engineering company manager, and his wife, Hilda Kathleen Sophia, née Bretherick (later Lloyd). He was educated at Leeds grammar school...