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Ashby, Joseph (1859–1919), farmer and social reformer, was born in Tysoe in Warwickshire on 13 June 1859, the son of an unmarried servant, Elizabeth Ashby. His father was the husband of Elizabeth's mistress, yet, common as such births were, Ashby's was in some ways different. His father provided for him but his mother, a fiercely independent woman, refused to use the money. More importantly his mother's branch of the ...

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Joseph Ashby (1859–1919) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Parkinson, Frank (1887–1946), electrical engineer and philanthropist, was born at Springfield, Guiseley, Wharfedale, Yorkshire, on 7 February 1887, the eldest of three children of Joseph Parkinson (1862–1902), stone mason and quarry-owner, and his wife, Ann Elizabeth, née Yeadon (b. 1861). Educated at ...

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Frank Parkinson (1887–1946) by Howard Coster © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ryder, Samuel (1858–1936), seed merchant and golf sponsor, was born on 24 March 1858 at Walton-le-Dale near Preston in Lancashire, the first son of Samuel Ryder (1823/4–1904), a gardener, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Martin (1822/3–1904), a dressmaker. He had three elder and two younger sisters and two younger brothers. He attended ...

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Samuel Ryder (1858–1936) by unknown photographer, 1930 © PA Photos

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Wilson, Benjamin (1824–1897), Chartist and horticulturist, was born on 7 August 1824 at Skircoat Green, Halifax. Of humble parentage, he never attended day school, but learned to read at the Wesleyan Sunday school in the village of Skircoat Green, an early centre of both Methodism and radicalism. His autobiography ...