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Brayley, Edward William (1801/2–1870), writer and lecturer on science, the eldest son of Edward Wedlake Brayley (1773–1854), topographer, and his wife, Ann (c.1771–1850), was born in London. He was educated, together with his brothers Henry and Horatio, under an austere system. Secluded from all society except that of their tutors, the boys led a cheerless and monotonous life: denied pocket-money, they were not even allowed to take a walk without a tutor. ...

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Buckley [married name Fisher], Arabella Burton (1840–1929), popularizer of science and writer, was born on 24 October 1840 in Brighton, the daughter of John Wall Buckley, vicar of St Mary's, Paddington Green, and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1889), daughter of Thomas Burton...

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Clarke, Cuthbert (1728/9–1790), writer and lecturer on natural philosophy and agriculture, was probably born in Belford in Northumberland, though his origins are obscure. He spent the early and middle parts of his life in the north-east of England; having left Belford he lived in ...

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Coates, William Albert (1919–1993), laboratory technician and lecture demonstrator, was born on 7 November 1919 at 56 Pearson Street, Shoreditch, one of seven children of Francis Thomas Coates (c.1878–1950), a police constable, and his wife, Lilian Martha, née Fenniman (b...

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James Ferguson (1710–1776) by Robert Stewart, pubd 1776 (after John Townsend) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ferguson, James (1710–1776), lecturer on natural philosophy and inventor of scientific instruments, was born on 25 April 1710 at Core of Mayen, Rothiemay, Banffshire, the second of at least six children of John Ferguson, a farmworker renting a smallholding, and his wife, Elspeth Lobban...

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John Harris (c. 1666–1719) by Bernard (III) Lens, 1707 Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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Harris, John (c. 1666–1719), writer and lecturer on science, was reportedly the son of Edward Harris, or possibly Fitzharris (c.1648–1681), an army lieutenant. He entered Trinity College, Oxford, as a scholar in 1683, and graduated BA in 1686 and MA at ...

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Hauksbee, Francis (1688–1763), instrument maker and lecturer on science, was born in April 1688 in London, the son of John Hauksbee of the Drapers' Company and his wife, Mary. He was the nephew of the instrument maker Francis Hauksbee the elder (d. 1713)...

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Dionysius Lardner (1793–1859) by Alexander Craig, c. 1840 private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lardner, Dionysius (1793–1859), writer on science and public lecturer, was born on 3 April 1793 in Dublin, the son of William Lardner (d. 1808), a solicitor.

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Benjamin Martin (bap. 1705, d. 1782) by unknown engraver, pubd 1785 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Martin, Benjamin (bap. 1705, d. 1782), lecturer on science and maker of scientific instruments, was baptized at Worplesdon, Surrey, on 1 March 1705, the third son of John Martin (d. 1731) of Broadstreet, who farmed near Worplesdon, and his wife, Jane. Nothing is known about his childhood; it is presumed that he spent his youth working on the land, during which period he acquired (apparently through extensive reading) knowledge of a wide range of subjects. In his late twenties he established a school at ...

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Moyes, Henry (1749/50–1807), lecturer on natural philosophy, was born near Kirkcaldy in Fife, one of three sons and a daughter of Henry Moyes (d. 1774). The latter was tenant at Westmill of Abbotshall, near Kirkcaldy, and a nonconformist. Moyes was left blinded by smallpox in infancy, but he apparently distinguished himself at ...

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Murray, John (1778–1820), chemist and public lecturer, was educated in Edinburgh, where he rose rapidly to eminence as a popular freelance lecturer on chemistry, materia medica, mineralogy, and geology, and as the prolific author of celebrated textbooks on chemistry and materia medica, most of which went through several editions in ...

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Murray, John (1785/6–1851), writer on science and public lecturer, was born in Stranraer, Scotland, the son of James Murray (1748/9–1788), sea captain, and his wife, Grace (1749/50–1827). Early in his life he seems to have developed scientific interests and in 1815 he published ...

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Nicol, William (1770–1851), geologist and scientific lecturer, was born on 18 April 1770 at Humbie in Haddingtonshire, and baptized there on 22 April. His parents were Marion Fowler and Walter Nickol or Nicoll, who were married in Humbie in August 1768, and they had at least one other child, ...

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Partington, Charles Frederick (fl. 1820–1835), writer and lecturer on technology and practical science, is of obscure origins. Nothing is known either of his personal life. The first edition of his History and Descriptive Account of the Steam Engine appeared in 1822 and he then began an active period as a lecturer on such practical subjects. Between 1823 and 1830 he lectured regularly at the ...

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Peat, Thomas (1707/8–1780), lecturer on science and almanac editor, was born at Ashleyhay, near Wirksworth, Derbyshire, the son of a farmer. He soon showed an inclination for learning, which his father tried to repress. A brother, a joiner in Nottingham, to whom he became apprenticed, gave him no more encouragement. However, ...

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Richardson, George Fleming (1796–1848), geologist and itinerant lecturer, was born on 8 December 1796 in Lewes, Sussex, son of George Richardson (1763–1843), Brighton linen draper and lodging-house keeper and his wife, Martha, née Fleming. Probably educated at local schools, Richardson entered his father's businesses, but being an avid reader with a most retentive memory, he found time to master several European languages while so employed. His first publication was a volume of poems in 1825, the same year that he was involved in the founding of the ...