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Andrews, Robert (1703–1763), lawyer and property developer, was born in London, probably at Upper John Street, Golden Square, on 3 September 1703, the fifth but second surviving son of Richard Andrews (1664–1734), a scrivener, and his wife, Elizabeth (1664–1749), daughter of Hugh Pigot...

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Beck, Simon Adams (1803–1883), gas industrialist and lawyer, was baptized at Condover, Shropshire, on 25 July 1803, the son of James Beck of Allesley Park, Warwickshire, and his wife, Sarah Coker. He trained as a lawyer and in 1829 married Sarah Ann, second daughter of ...

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Brooke [Brook], Sir Basil (1576–1646), iron-founder and royalist conspirator, was probably born at Madeley in Shropshire, the eldest son of John Brooke and his wife, Anne, daughter of Francis Shirley of Staunton Harold, Leicestershire. He married Etheldreda Brudenell, daughter of Sir Edmund Brudenell...

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Burge, William (1786–1849), barrister, slave owner, and anti-abolition advocate, was born in Castle Cary, Somerset, on 18 April 1786, the eldest son in the family of three sons and six daughters of John Burge (1746–1810), stocking maker, and his wife, Elizabeth (1760–1804), daughter of the ...

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Conant, Sir Nathaniel (1745–1822), bookseller and police magistrate, was born on 10 April 1745, the sixth of eight sons of John Conant, rector of Hastingleigh and vicar of Elmstead, Kent, and his wife, Mary, daughter of the Revd William Wake. Four of his older brothers died in childhood or early adolescence. The ...

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Crab, John (c. 1280–c. 1352), pirate and merchant, was probably born in Muiden in Flanders. Active as a pirate from at least 1306, he was the most notorious of the Flemish privateers who preyed on English shipping during the Scottish War of Independence. His nephew ...

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Creech, William [pseud. Theophrastus] (1745–1815), bookseller and magistrate, was born in Newbattle, Edinburghshire, on 12 May 1745, the son of the Revd William Creech (1705–1745), minister of Newbattle, and his wife, the Calvinist Mary Buley (d. 1764) of the English family of ...

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Cunningham, Andrew Willshire [Andy] (1910–2010), trade unionist, local government politician, and criminal, was born on 8 June 1910 at Summerside Place, Felling Shore, Heworth, co. Durham, the eldest of nine children of Albert Cunningham, foreman coal trimmer, and his wife, Margaret Jane, née...

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Dighton, William (1717–1769), excise officer and murder victim, was born in 1717, though further details of his family and early life are unknown. His first post was in Gloucester in 1741; thereafter he worked in Evesham, Worcestershire, and Woodstock, Oxfordshire. By 1758 Dighton...

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Dockwray [Docwra], Thomas (d. 1559), master of the Stationers' Company and ecclesiastical lawyer, about whose origins and parentage nothing is known, does not seem to have been related to his namesake and near contemporary Sir Thomas Docwra (d. 1527), prior of the knights of ...

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Edwards, (Allen) Clement (1869–1938), trade unionist, barrister, and journalist, was born on 7 June 1869 in Knighton, Radnorshire, the third of seven children born to George Benjamin Edwards, auctioneer, master tailor, and draper, and Sarah Ellen (née Tudge). Both parents came from farming, nonconformist, and radical families in the border areas. ...

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Ellis [née Neilson], Ruth (1926–1955), nightclub hostess and convicted murderer, was born on 9 October 1926 at 74 West Parade, Rhyl, north Wales, the fourth of six children of Arthur Neilson (formerly Hornby), musician, and his wife, Elisaberta Goodall, a seamstress.

Born into poverty, ...

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Ruth Ellis (1926–1955) by unknown photographer, 1955 Getty Images

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Fitzwilliam, Sir William (1460?–1534), merchant tailor and sheriff of London, may have been a younger son of John and Ellen Fitzwilliam of Milton and Greens Norton in Northamptonshire. He began his career in London and was a servant to Sir John, husband of ...

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Fletcher, Ralph (bap. 1757, d. 1832), coal owner and magistrate, was born in Bolton, Lancashire, and baptized at St Peter's Church, Bolton, on 30 November 1757, the only son of John Fletcher (1727–1806), coal owner and farmer, and Mary Bolton (d. 1789)...