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Charles Booth (1840–1916) by George Frederic Watts, c. 1901 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Booth, Charles (1840–1916), shipowner and social investigator, was born on 30 March 1840 at 27 Bedford North Street, Liverpool. He was the third son of Charles Booth (1799–1860), a prosperous corn merchant, and his first wife, Emily Fletcher (1803–1853). Both his parents were Unitarians, and had wide connections among the commercial, dissenting, and philanthropic ‘aristocracy’ of ...

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Jones, Sir (Bennett) Melvill (1887–1975), university teacher and aeronautical engineer, was born in Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, Cheshire, on 28 January 1887, the elder son and eldest of three children of Benedict Jones of Birkenhead, a Liverpool barrister, and his wife, Henrietta Cornelia Melvill...

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Mactavish, John McKenzie (1871–1938), shipwright and educationist, was born in the Scottish fishing village of Tarbert, Loch Fyne, on 18 July 1871, the son of Alexander Mactavish, a carpenter, and his wife, Euphemia McKenzie. He had no formal schooling beyond the elementary level but he did much to educate himself, and even in his early years in ...

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Nicholls, Thomas (1532–1601), shipowner and translator, was born in or near Gloucester in 1532 and baptized that year in nearby Adlestrop, the son of John Nicholls. Apprenticed as a mercer in London on 2 October 1547, he learned his trade under, successively, Sir William Lok (1480–1550)...

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Preston, Joseph Henry [Harry] (1911–1985), aeronautical engineer and university teacher, was born on 1 March 1911 at Swinescales, Hutton Soil, Greystoke, near Penrith, Cumberland, the son of William Preston, a farmer, and his wife, Jean Dufton. He was brought up in the small farming community of ...

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Sarah Jane Rees [Cranogwen] (1839–1916) by John Thomas by courtesy of the National Library of Wales

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Rees, Sarah Jane [pseud. Cranogwen] (1839–1916), sailor, schoolmistress, and poet, was born on 9 January 1839 at Dolgoy Fach, a cottage some 2½ miles from the coastal village of Llangrannog on Cardigan Bay, from which she took her bardic name, Cranogwen. She was the youngest of three children of ...

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Robbins, (Richard) Michael (1915–2002), transport administrator and historian, was born at 51 Rotherwick Road, Golders Green, Middlesex, on 7 September 1915, the eldest of the three children of Alfred Gordon Robbins (1883–1944), journalist and publisher, and his wife, Josephine, daughter of R. L. Capell...

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St Joseph, (John) Kenneth Sinclair (1912–1994), geologist, archaeologist, and aerial photographer, was born on 13 November 1912 at Rose Cottage, Cookley, Worcestershire, the only surviving son of John Daniel St Joseph, a forestry officer with the Indian forest service, and his wife, Irma Robertson, ...

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(John) Kenneth Sinclair St Joseph (1912–1994) by unknown artist The Master and Fellows of Selwyn College, Cambridge

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Thom, Alexander (1894–1985), aerodynamicist and archaeologist, was born on 26 March 1894 in Carradale Mains, Argyll, the elder son (there were no daughters) of Archibald Thom, farmer, and his wife, Lily Stevenson Strang of Glasgow. The family moved in 1901 to Dunlop, Ayrshire...

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Wittrick, William Henry (1922–1986), aeronautical engineer, was born in Huddersfield on 29 October 1922, the elder son and eldest of four children of Frank Wittrick (1894–1960), who had been wounded during the First World War, had a variety of jobs, and finally worked for an engineering firm in ...