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Alexander, Alexander [Alick] (1849–1928), promoter of physical education, was born in Liverpool on 14 May 1849, the second son of W. C. Alexander, a chief carpenter in the Royal Navy who had settled in Liverpool at the end of his period of service. Following an education at ...

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Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869–1955) by Anthony Ludovici, 1926 © Anthony Ludovici

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Alexander, Frederick Matthias (1869–1955), originator of the Alexander technique and teacher, was born on 20 January 1869 at Wynyard, north-west Tasmania, the eldest of seven children of John Alexander (1843–1936), farmer and blacksmith, and his wife, Betsy Brown (d. 1923), a nurse....

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Altham, Harry Surtees (1888–1965), schoolmaster and cricket historian, was born at 8 The Terrace, York Town, Frimley, Surrey, on 30 November 1888, the younger son of Sir Edward Altham Altham (1856–1943), army officer, and his wife, Georgina Emily (1855–1945), daughter of W. Macpherson Nicol...

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Anstey, Rhoda (1865–1936), promoter of women's physical education, was born at Jurishayes Farm near Tiverton, Devon, on 15 April 1865, the seventh of nine children and second daughter of John Walters Anstey, a yeoman farmer, and his wife, Susanna Elizabeth, née Manley. She was a natural countrywoman with a great love of the county of her birth; in 1891 she was managing the dairy on the family farm. Little else is known of her early life before she attended ...

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Anthony, Donald William James [Don] (1928–2012), athlete, sports administrator, and historian, was born at 43 Middle Ope, Watford, on 6 November 1928, the son of George Anthony, bricklayer, and his wife, Annie Eva, née Starkey. Educated at Watford grammar school, he excelled at sport, playing for ...

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Bell, Donald Simpson (1890–1916), schoolteacher, footballer, and soldier, was born in Harrogate, North Riding of Yorkshire, on 3 December 1890, the youngest son and fifth of the eight children of Smith Bell (b. 1860), a butcher, and his wife, Annie, née Simpson (...

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Boyd, Margaret [Maggie] (1913–1993), schoolteacher and lacrosse player, was born on 17 January 1913 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany, the daughter and fourth of five children of Dr Harold de Haven Boyd, manager of a Manchester oil company, and his wife, Charlotte Elisabeth, née...

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Brown, (Arthur) Godfrey Kilner (1915–1995), athlete and schoolmaster, was born on 21 February 1915 in Bankura, Bengal, India, the fourth child and third son of the Revd Arthur E. Brown, principal of Bankura College, Bengal, and his wife, Gertrude Parsons. His parents met at ...

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Arthur John Butler (1844–1910) by Frederick Hollyer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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A. T. Quiller-Couch

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Butler, Arthur John (1844–1910), Italian scholar and mountaineer, born at Putney, Surrey, on 21 June 1844, was the eldest of the six children of William John Butler (1818–1894), at that time curate of Puttenham, near Guildford, Surrey, but best-known as the dean of ...

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Cheeke, William (fl. 1592–1615?), anagrammatist, is of obscure origin. In his only printed work he identifies himself as ‘Gulielmo Checo Durotrige’ and ‘Guil. Cheeke. Austro-Britannus’, suggesting a connection with southern England, perhaps Dorset. He entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, at the beginning of 1592 and graduated BA from there on 14 February 1596....

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Cusack, Michael [Micheál Cíosóg] (1847–1906), schoolmaster and a founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association, was born on 20 September 1847 at Carron parish, Burren, co. Clare, Ireland, second son of Matthew Cusack (d. 1868), a herdsman, and his wife, Bridget Flannery (...

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Dyson, Geoffrey Harry George (1914–1981), athlete and teacher of physical education, was born at 18 Tarbert Road, Camberwell, London, on 22 June 1914, the son of Harry Arthur Dyson, photographer's assistant, and his wife, Edith Alice, née Sewell. He ran away from home at the age of fifteen, and after doing odd jobs including selling newspapers on the streets of ...

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Geoffrey Harry George Dyson (1914–1981) by unknown photographer, c.1955 © Illustrated London News Ltd / Mary Evans

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Edwards, Sir Ifan ab Owen (1895–1970), educationist and founder of Urdd Gobaith Cymru, was born on 25 July 1895 at Tremaran, Llanuwchllyn, Merioneth, the second of the three children (the eldest died in infancy) of Sir Owen Morgan Edwards (1858–1920) and his wife, ...

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Farnes, Kenneth (1911–1941), cricketer and schoolmaster, was born on 8 July 1911 at home at 141 Wallwood Road, Leytonstone, Essex, the younger son of Sydney Heath Farnes, a brewer's clerk, and his wife, Florence Susanna Georgiana Shipston. He captained the eleven at Royal Liberty School, Romford...

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Eileen Philippa Rose Fowler (1906–2000) by unknown photographer, 1955 [with her Keep Fit unit] Getty Images

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Fowler, Eileen Philippa Rose (1906–2000), fitness instructor, was born on 13 May 1906 at Clyde Lodge, Clyde Road, Tottenham, north London, the daughter of Herbert Henry Charles Fowler, civil engineer, and his wife, Daisy Annie Murphy. An active child from an early age she chose the stage as a career. Her parents were unhappy with her choice but allowed the young ...

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Hackenschmidt, George (1877–1968), wrestler and philosopher, was born on 20 July 1877 at Dorpat, Estonia (then part of the Russian empire). Little is known about his parents, other than that his father was a dyer, and despite his Germanic-sounding name, was of Swedish origin. ...