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À Beckett, Arthur William (1844–1909), humorist and journalist, the third son of Gilbert Abbott À Beckett (1811–1856) and Mary Anne Glossop (1817–1863), was born at Portland House, North End, Fulham, on 25 October 1844. He was educated at Honiton, then at Felsted School...

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Arthur William À Beckett (1844–1909) by Lafayette, pubd 1907 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gilbert Abbott À Beckett (1811–1856) attrib. Charles Couzens, 1855 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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À Beckett, Gilbert Abbott (1811–1856), comic writer and police magistrate, was born at The Grange, Hampstead, Middlesex, on 17 February 1811, the third son of William A'Beckett (1777–1855), a reform solicitor, and his wife, Sarah Abbott. His forebears were an ancient Wiltshire family, who traced their ancestry back to the fourteenth century and claimed descent from ...

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Armin, Robert (1563–1615), actor and comic writer, was one of at least three children of John Armin, a tailor of King's Lynn. His probable date of birth is suggested by an indenture of October 1581, binding him for eleven years to John Lonyson...

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Thomas Seccombe

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

Blouet, (Leon) Paul [pseud. Max O'Rell] (1847–1903), humorist, was born Léon Pierre Blouet at Avranches in Normandy on 2 March 1847, the son of Darius Napoléon Blouet, merchant; his grandfather was the governor of the prison on Mont St Michel (Verhoeven...

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Braben, Edwin Charles [Eddie] (1930–2013), comic writer, was born on 31 October 1930 at 13 Brenton Street, Liverpool, the only son of Edwin Charles (Ted) Braben (1911–1996), a butcher on St John's Market, and his wife, Catherine Agnes, née Stoddart (1910–1988). The family moved soon after to ...

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Burnand, Sir Francis Cowley (1836–1917), playwright and humorist, was born in Mortimer Street, London, on 29 November 1836, the only son of Francis Burnand, a London stockbroker of protestant Savoyard descent, and his first wife, Emma Cowley, who died eight days after her son's birth. Young ...

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Sir Francis Cowley Burnand (1836–1917) by Walery © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cook, Peter Edward (1937–1995), humorist and entertainer, was born on 17 November 1937 at Shearbridge, Middle Warberry Road, Torquay, Devon, the only son and eldest of the three children of Alexander Edward (Alec) Cook (d. 1984), colonial civil servant, and his wife, ...