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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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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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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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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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Fox, Sir (George) Malcolm (1843–1918), army officer and advocate of physical training, was born at 7 Wardwick, Derby, on 4 March 1843, younger son of Douglas Fox (1798–1885), surgeon (elder brother of Sir Charles Fox, 1810–1879, civil engineer), and his wife, Marianne (1814–1898)...

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MacLaren, Archibald (1819?–1884), teacher of physical education and author, was born at Alloa, Clackmannanshire, Scotland. The details of his early life are obscure. He was brought up a Presbyterian. At about the age of sixteen he went to Paris and studied fencing, gymnastics, and medicine but became most interested in physical training. He settled in ...

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Marsh, Irene Mabel (1875–1938), promoter of women's physical education, was born at 13 Grey Road, Walton, Lancashire, on 3 December 1875, the second daughter and the third in the family of ten children of Peter Walter Marsh, and his wife, Anne Caroline, née...

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McKenzie, (Robert) Tait (1867–1938), expert in physical education and sculptor, was born at Ramsay, Ontario, Canada, on 26 May 1867, the second of the three sons of William McKenzie, who had arrived in Canada from Scotland in 1858, and his wife, Catherine Shiells...

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Österberg, Martina Sofia Helena Bergman (1849–1915), feminist and promoter of women's physical education, was born on 7 October 1849 in Hammarlunda, a village near Malmö in the south of Sweden, one of the six children of Karl Bergman, a prosperous farmer, and his wife, ...

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Stack, Mary Meta [Mollie] Bagot (1883–1935), health and fitness expert, was born on 12 June 1883 in Dublin, daughter of Richard Theodore Stack (d. 1909), dentist. Both her parents were of the Irish protestant professional class. She was educated at Alexandra School...

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Stansfeld, Margaret (1860–1951), college head and promoter of physical education for girls, was born on 10 March 1860 in Church Street, Edmonton, Middlesex, to Mary, daughter of James Fallon, and her husband, James Stansfeld, a master baker. Little is known of Stansfeld's early life other than that her father died young leaving a large family with limited means, and that ...

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Wilkie [formerly Wilke], Dorette (1867–1930), promoter of women's physical education, was born at Stendal, Magdeburg, Prussia, on 14 June 1867, the daughter of Friedrich Wilke, a cork merchant who was a Polish refugee in Germany, and his wife, Dorothea. She came to ...

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Wright, Gladys Frances Miriam (1891–1980), promoter of women's physical education, was born at High Street, West Malling, Kent, on 8 July 1891, the second child and first daughter in the family of three sons and two daughters of Edward Henry Wright, master grocer, and his wife, ...