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Cooke, Joseph (1775–1811), religious reformer and founder of the Methodist Unitarian Movement, was born near Dudley, Worcestershire, on 8 May 1775. His parents were poor, and his education was 'not what is generally esteemed a learned one' (Ashworth, 11). In 1799 he married ...

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Fielden, John (1784–1849), industrialist and politician, was born on 17 January 1784 at home at Laneside, Todmorden, Lancashire, the third of the eight children of Joshua Fielden (1748–1811), tenant farmer and clothier, and his wife, Jennifer (Jenny) Greenwood (1749–1825). He had no formal schooling. From a very early age he worked in his father's spinning mills and accompanied him on weekly trips to ...

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Smithies, James (1819–1869), co-operative movement activist, was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and baptized on 14 November 1819, the son of Joseph Smithies, a publican, and his wife, Hannah, née Howe. His education included instruction in bookkeeping and accountancy. By 1841 he was apprenticed as a wool stapler with ...