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Symons, Arthur William (1865–1945), literary scholar and author, was born in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales (his family's temporary residence), on 28 February 1865, the second child and only son of the Revd Mark Symons (1824–1898), a Wesleyan Methodist minister, and his wife, Lydia Pascoe (1828–1896)...

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Thompson, Edward John (1886–1946), teacher and writer, was born on 9 April 1886 at Hazel Grove, Stockport, the eldest son of John Moses Thompson (1854–1894), from near Penrith, and his wife, Elizabeth Penney (1851–1928), both Wesleyan missionaries to south India. Mission compounds and ...

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Edward John Thompson (1886–1946) by Howard Coster, 1940–46 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Tillotson, Geoffrey (1905–1969), literary scholar, was born on 30 June 1905 at 78 Berkeley Street, Nelson, Lancashire, the eldest son of John Henry Tillotson (1871–1953), millworker, later an insurance agent, and his wife, Annie, née Peacock. He had a younger brother, Arthur (1908–2001)...

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Willey, Basil (1897–1978), literary scholar, was born at 25 Craven Road, Willesden, north London, on 25 July 1897, the only child of William Herbert Willey (1865–1949), secretary and later managing director of the family business, the London Electric Wire Company, and his wife, ...

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Basil Willey (1897–1978) by Elliott & Fry, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London