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Aitken, (Adam) Jack (1921–1998), lexicographer and philologist, was born on 19 June 1921 in Edinburgh, the only son and eldest of the three children of Adam Aitken (1896–1958), miner, and his first wife, Alexandrina Sutherland (1896–1931). He was baptized into the Church of Scotland...

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Alexander, Sir Kenneth John Wilson [Ken] (1922–2001), economist, university administrator, and public servant, was born on 14 March 1922 at 12 Kilmaurs Terrace, Edinburgh, the only son of William Wilson Alexander (1888–1930), lawyer, and his wife, Mary Logan Grahame, née Wilson (1888–1975), tailoress. He won a scholarship to ...

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John Anderson (1893–1962) by Sir William Dobell, 1962 © DACS 2010; University of Sydney Art Collection, John Anderson Testimonial Fund, 1962. Reproduced courtesy of Sir William Dobell Art Foundation

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Anderson, John (1893–1962), philosopher and social critic, was born in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, 30 miles south-west of Glasgow, on 1 November 1893, the third of the five children of a radical schoolmaster, Alexander Anderson (1863–1947), and his wife, Elizabeth Brown (d. 1942), teacher, pianist, and poet....

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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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Arouet, François-Marie [known as Voltaire] (1694–1778), writer and philosopher, was born in Paris on 21 November 1694 according to the notice of baptism. He was the fifth of five surviving children born to François Arouet (1649–1722), lawyer and minor official, and his wife, ...

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Ashurst, Elizabeth Ann [Eliza] (c. 1814–1850), translator and campaigner for women's rights and against slavery, was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex, the eldest child of William Henry Ashurst (bap. 1791?, d. 1855), of Muswell Hill, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née Brown (...

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Raymond Asquith (1878–1916) by Malcolm Arbuthnot, c. 1915 Raymond Asquith

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Asquith, Raymond (1878–1916), scholar and army officer, was born on 6 November 1878 in John Street, Hampstead, the eldest of the five children of Herbert Henry Asquith (1852–1928), later prime minister and first earl of Oxford and Asquith, and his first wife, Helen (...

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Aston, Trevor Henry (1925–1985), historian and editor, was born at 24 Gowan Avenue, Fulham, London, on 14 June 1925, the first child of Oliver John Aston (1899–1969), an ironmonger's assistant, and his wife, Florence May Woods (1900–1986). Soon after the birth of Trevor's...

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Austin, John Langshaw (1911–1960), philosopher, was born in Lancaster on 26 March 1911, the second son of the five children of Geoffrey Langshaw Austin (1884–1971), architect, and his wife, Mary Bowes-Wilson (1883–1948). After the First World War his parents moved to St Andrews...

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John Langshaw Austin (1911–1960) by Ramsey & Muspratt, 1951 photograph reproduced by courtesy of The British Academy

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Aylmer, Gerald Edward (1926–2000), historian, was born on 30 April 1926 at Stoke Court, Greete, Shropshire, the only child of Captain Edward Arthur Aylmer (1892–1974), naval officer, and his wife, (Gwladys) Phoebe, née Evans (1891–1968). On his father's side he was descended from a distinguished Anglo-Irish family with strong naval connections, and there were two admirals on his mother's side. He was educated at ...

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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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Banks, Joseph Ambrose [Joe] (1920–2005), sociologist and historian, was born at 66 Montague Road, Edmonton, Middlesex, on 5 January 1920, the only child of Joseph William Banks, a boot and shoe dealer who later became a master tailor, and his wife, Louisa Mary Ann, ...

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Barfield, (Arthur) Owen (1898–1997), writer and philosopher, was born on 9 November 1898 at 6 Grosvenor Gardens, Muswell Hill, Middlesex, the youngest of the four children of Arthur Edward Barfield, a solicitor, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Shoults. It was a free-thinking family and so immune to all 'superstition' that ...

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Bateson, Gregory (1904–1980), anthropologist and communications theorist, was born on 9 May 1904 at Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, the youngest of three sons of William Bateson (1861–1926), zoologist and geneticist, and his wife, (Caroline) Beatrice (1870?–1941), daughter of Arthur Durham and his wife, Mary Ellis...

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Beales, Hugh Lancelot (1889–1988), economist and social historian, born at Sedbergh, Yorkshire, on 18 February 1889, was the son of William Beales, a Wesleyan Methodist minister, and his wife, Zaida Mary Ann Elizabeth Scantlebury Green. He grew up in a radical political household. He was sent to the ...

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See Beasley [née James], (Catherine) Eileen

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Edward Spencer Beesly (1831–1915) by Barraud © National Portrait Gallery, London