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Badley, John Haden (1865–1967), headmaster, was born on 21 February 1865 in Tower Street, Dudley, Worcestershire, the only son of James Payton Badley, surgeon, and his wife, Laura Elizabeth Best. He had three older sisters to whom he was always very close. The home atmosphere was restricted in some ways but very supportive and affectionate, and he enjoyed a happy childhood. ...

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Cannon, George [pseud. Erasmus Perkins] (1789–1854), freethinker and publisher, was born in London. His parents and early education remain unknown, but he later hinted at a dissenting background, and he was well versed in French as well as philosophy, theology, and literature. Between 1812 and 1815 he became a solicitor at ...

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Carlile, Elizabeth Sharples (1803–1852), freethought lecturer and advocate of women's rights, was one of six children born to Ann and Richard Sharples, a counterpane manufacturer, in Bolton, Lancashire, probably late in 1803. The family was pious and prosperous, the children received a good education, and ...

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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772–1834), poet, critic, and philosopher, was born on 21 October 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, and baptized there on 30 December, the youngest of ten children born to John Coleridge (bap. 1719, d. 1781), vicar of the town and master of the grammar school, and his second wife, ...

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) by Peter Vandyke, 1795 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Conway, Moncure Daniel (1832–1907), social reformer and ethical preacher, was born on 17 March 1832 at Middleton plantation, Stafford county, Virginia, the second of the six children of Walker Peyton Conway (1805–1884), a slave-owning planter, attorney, and judge, and his wife, Margaret (1807–1891)...

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Moncure Daniel Conway (1832–1907) by Debenham & Gabell © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anthony Ashley Cooper, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713) by John Closterman, c. 1700–01 [left, with an attendant] © reserved

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Cooper, Anthony Ashley, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), philosopher and author, was born on 26 February 1671, at about eight o'clock in the evening, at Exeter House in the Strand, London, and baptized on 7 March at St Clement Danes. He was the first son of ...

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Devey, George (1820–1886), architect and painter, was born on 23 February 1820 at 34 Ely Place, London, the second of four children of Frederick Nicholls Devey (1786–1862), a solicitor, and his wife, Ann (b. 1785), daughter of Durs Egg, a Swiss gunmaker who had emigrated to ...