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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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Barrett, John [Jacky] (1753/4–1821), classical scholar and eccentric, was born in Ballyroan, Queen's county, the son of Daniel Barrett (d. 1760), a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Rossamund Gofton (d. 1782). Although baptized John he was universally known as ...

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Baume, Pierre Henri Joseph (1797–1875), radical activist and eccentric, was born at Marseilles on 17 October 1797, the son of Henri Joseph Baume (1770–1831) and Marie Claire Antoinette Merlat (1780–1837). His parents ran a wig-making shop and were inclined both to anti-clericalism and adultery. When he was still young his father moved to ...

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Beecham, (Helen) Audrey (1915–1989), poet and eccentric, was born at Weaverham, Cheshire, on 21 July 1915, the eldest of five children and only daughter of Henry (Harry) Beecham (1888–1947) and his wife, Ethel Anne Baxter (d. 1951). Her great-grandfather, Thomas Beecham, founded the family fortune with his celebrated pills; ...

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Bentley, Nathaniel [nicknamed Dirty Dick] (1735?–1809), eccentric, was the son of a successful City of London merchant and shopkeeper who received an education 'equal to his situation as a gentleman' (History of the Extraordinary Dirty warehouse, 6). After the death of ...

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Joseph Capper (1726/77–1804) by unknown engraver, pubd 1804 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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G. F. R. Barker

revised by David Turner

Capper, Joseph (1726/7–1804), eccentric, was born in Cheshire to unknown parents in humble circumstances. At an early age he travelled to London, and, after serving his apprenticeship to a grocer, set up a shop on his own account in Whitechapel. With good business connections ...

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Cole, (William) Horace De Vere (1881–1936), practical joker, was born on 5 May 1881, reputedly at Blarney, co. Cork, elder son of William Utting Cole (1851–1892), army officer, and his wife, Mary De Vere (1859–1930), niece and heiress of the scholars Aubrey and ...

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Cooke, Thomas (1722–1783), Church of England clergyman and eccentric, born in Hexham, Northumberland, on 23 October 1722, was the son of John Cooke, a shoemaker at Hexham. He received his education as king's scholar at Durham School, and afterwards entered Queen's College, Oxford...

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Alexander Cruden (1699–1770) by Thomas Trotter, pubd 1785 (after Thomas Frye) © National Portrait Gallery, London