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Antonin Besse (1877–1951) by unknown photographer courtesy of St Antony's College, Oxford

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Besse, Antonin (1877–1951), entrepreneur and benefactor, was born on 26 June 1877 at Carcassonne in southern France, the third son and fourth child in the family of four boys and three girls of Pierre Besse, leather merchant, and his wife, Marie Bonnafous. In failing health ...

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Branford, Victor Verasis (1863–1930), sociologist and businessman, was born at 15 West Street, Oundle, Northamptonshire, on 25 September 1863, the eldest surviving son of William Catton Branford (1837–1891), a veterinary surgeon, and Ann Kitchen (1826–1871), the sister of his father's deceased first wife. His father spent two short periods as professor in the veterinary college in ...

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Caine, Sir Michael Harris (1927–1999), businessman, was born at the Hollies Nursing Home, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, on 17 June 1927, the son of Sir Sydney Caine (1902–1991), an official in the Colonial Office and a university administrator, and his wife, Muriel Ann Maud Harris (...

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Cowan, Sir Robert (1932–1993), businessman and public servant, was born on 27 July 1932 at Inverleith, Edinburgh, the youngest child and only son of John McQueen Cowan (1892–1960) and his wife, Adeline May, née Organe (d. 1981). His father, a distinguished botanist on the staff of the ...

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Hubert Kinsman Cudlipp, Baron Cudlipp (1913–1998) by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1961 © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cudlipp, Hubert Kinsman [Hugh], Baron Cudlipp (1913–1998), journalist and publishing executive, was born at 118 Lisvane Street, Cardiff, on 28 August 1913, the youngest son in the family of three sons and one daughter of William Christopher Cudlipp, commercial traveller for a provision merchant, and his wife, ...

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Durant, Henry William (1902–1982), opinion pollster and market researcher, was born at 42 Drummond Road, Bermondsey, London, on 23 October 1902, the first son and second of the five children of Henry William Durant (1870–1913), general warehouseman and later a foreman in a grain mill, and his wife, ...

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Engels, Friedrich [Frederick] (1820–1895), businessman and revolutionary leader, was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, Westphalia, the son of Friedrich Engels (1796–1860), a textile manufacturer, and Elizabeth, née van Haar (1797–1873), the daughter of a schoolmaster of Dutch origin. Frederick (as he came to be known in ...

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Fisk, Sir Ernest Thomas (1886–1965), entrepreneur and developer of radio, was born on 8 August 1886 at Sunbury, Middlesex, the second child of Thomas Harvey Fisk, builder, and his wife, Charlotte Hariette, née Halland. Educated at St Mary's and Sunbury Boys' schools, Fisk...

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Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, first baronet (1783–1859) by unknown artist Oriental Club; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jeejeebhoy, Sir Jamsetjee, first baronet (1783–1859), businessman and philanthropist, was born at Bombay on 15 July 1783. He was the son of Merwanjee Maneckjee Jeejeebhoy (d. 1799) and Jeeveebai Cowassi (d. 1799), weavers, of Nowsaree, a small town in the princely state of ...

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Marcroft, William (1822–1894), co-operative movement activist and company promoter, was born on 15 July 1822 at Box Cottage, Fog Lane, Middleton, Lancashire, the illegitimate son of Sally Marcroft (1801–1841), a farm servant, and Richard Howarth, a weaver. Shortly after his birth he and his mother moved to ...

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McIntosh, Andrew Robert, Baron McIntosh of Haringey (1933–2010), market researcher and politician, was born on 30 April 1933 in the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London, the elder of two children of Albert William McIntosh (1904–1994), then a clerk for a business consultant, and his wife, ...

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Mitchell, Sir Godfrey Way (1891–1982), construction engineer and entrepreneur, was born at 54 Scylla Road, Peckham, London, on 31 October 1891, the younger son (there were no daughters) of Christopher Mitchell, stonemason and quarry owner, and his wife, Margaret, née Way, of Weymouth, Dorset...

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Muirhead, Roland Eugene (1868–1964), Scottish nationalist and businessman, was born on 24 July 1868 at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland, the second son of Andrew Muirhead (d. 1885), the owner of the Gryffe tannery, and his wife, Isabella Reid. He was educated in Glasgow high school...

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Ogilvy, David Mackenzie (1911–1999), advertising executive, was born in West Horsley, Surrey, on 23 June 1911, the fifth and last child and younger son of Francis John Longley Ogilvy (1866–1943), stockbroker, who had gained a first in classics and a rugby blue at ...

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Reilly, Paul, Baron Reilly (1912–1990), designer and design entrepreneur, was born on 29 May 1912 at Dingle Bank, Toxteth, Liverpool, the third child and elder son of the family of four children, of whom only one son and one daughter survived childhood, of ...

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Service, James (1823–1899), politician and businessman in Australia, was born on 27 November 1823 at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, the son of Robert Service (1794–1883), a sewing agent and lay preacher, and his wife, Agnes, née Niven. He was educated at Kilwinning and at Glasgow College...

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James Service (1823–1899) by Freeman and Co., pubd 1899 © National Portrait Gallery, London