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Ashton, Thomas (1818–1898), cotton manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 8 December 1818 at Flowery Fields House, Hyde, Cheshire, sixth child to Thomas Ashton (1775–1845) of Flowery Fields and his wife, Harriet, née Booth. He was educated first at a Liverpool academy and then at the ...

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Aske, Robert (1619–1689), silk merchant and benefactor, was born on 24 February 1619, the son of Robert Aske of the parish of St Mary Woolchurch, London, and his second wife, Margery Middleton, the widowed daughter of John Hill of Wendover, whom he married in 1611. The two ...

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Alice Barnham (1523–1604) by unknown artist, c. 1557 [Alice Barnham and her sons Martin and Steven] Berger Collection at the Denver Art Museum, photo courtesy of the Denver Art Museum

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Barnham [née Bradbridge], Alice (1523–1604), silkwoman and benefactor, was born on 7 September 1523 at Chichester, Sussex, one of the youngest of the fourteen children of William Bradbridge (d. 1546), a successful and prosperous mercer, and his wife, Alice. Alice Barnham...

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Baxter, Sir David, baronet (bap. 1793, d. 1872), linen manufacturer and benefactor, was born in Dundee and baptized there on 24 March 1793, the second son of William Baxter (1767–1854), linen merchant, of Balgavies, and his wife, Elisabeth (Betty) Gorell (d. 1804)...

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Beckett [née Bousfield; other married name Thomas], Frances Sarah [Fanny] (bap. 1821, d. 1902), philanthropist and a founder of Scottish Home Industries, was baptized on 27 June 1821, at Frimley, Surrey, the only child of George Thomas Frederick Bousfield, solicitor, and his wife, ...

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Timothy Bennett (1676/77–1756) by James Macardell, 1752 (after G. Budd) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bennett, Timothy (1676/7–1756), cordwainer and public access campaigner, is of obscure origins; details of his birth, family, and upbringing are unknown. On 19 July 1716, at All Hallows, London Wall, he married Katherine Magitt (1673/4–1749), of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey; the parish register—which also gives his wife's name as ...

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by Anita McConnell

Brook, Charles (1814–1872), cotton spinner and philanthropist, was born on 18 November 1814, in Upperhead Row, Huddersfield, the son of James Brook, of the large banking and cotton-spinning firm of Jonas Brook Brothers, at Meltham, and his wife, Jane. Charles Brook lived with his parents, who in 1831 moved to ...

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Caplin, Roxey Ann [formerly Emily Roxey Caplin] (1793–1888), corset maker, writer, and lecturer on health, was born in Canada, the daughter of English settlers; Canadian Indians taught her canoeing and swimming as a child. Probably trained as a milliner, she married about 1835, and by 1839 was living in ...

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Clark, George Aitken (1823–1873), thread manufacturer and philanthropist, born on 9 August 1823, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, was a son of John Clark, thread manufacturer. He was educated at Paisley grammar school, and while still a lad was in 1840 sent across the Atlantic...

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Coats, Thomas (1809–1883), thread manufacturer and benefactor, was born at Ferguslie, Paisley, Renfrewshire, on 18 October 1809, the fourth of at least six sons of James Coats (1774–1857), one of the founders of the Paisley thread industry, and Catherine Mitchell (d. 1857)...

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Thomas Coats (1809–1883) by Sir Daniel Macnee, 1881 Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, Renfrewshire Council

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Collier [Collyer], Richard (1480x85?–1533), mercer and benefactor, was born at Horsham, Sussex. The identity of his parents is unknown. He was closely related to the Caryll family of the neighbouring parish of Warnham, but the precise nature of that kinship remains unclear....

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Cooke, John (d. 1528), mercer and benefactor, was born in Minsterworth, a few miles west of Gloucester, the son of Thomas and Alice Cooke. The loss of Gloucester's early civic records means that little can be said of his career there, except that he prospered greatly in the town. He served as sheriff—the equivalent of bailiff—in 1494 and 1498, and became an alderman in 1501, the year in which he was first chosen to be mayor; he was elected again in 1507, 1512, and 1519. In June of 1513 he was involved, as mayor, in a dispute over common rights with the abbot of ...

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Elsyng, William (d. 1349), mercer and hospital founder, probably came from the village of Elsing in Norfolk. His parents are known only by their first names, John and Emma. His brother Richard had the surname Feverer, which may have been the family name before their likely birthplace replaced it. Like many ...

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Ewart, Sir William, first baronet (1817–1889), linen manufacturer, politician, and philanthropist, was born on 11 November 1817 in Sydenham, on the outskirts of Belfast, the eldest son of William Ewart (1789–1873) and Mary Anne, née Rosen. He was educated at the Belfast Royal Academy...

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See Greg, Samuel

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Keyzer [née Mitchell], Isabella [Bella] (1922–1992), textile and shipyard worker, and women's activist, was born on 29 August 1922 at 3 Blinshall Street, Dundee, the youngest of three children of Thomas Mitchell (c.1880–c.1949), a baker, and his second wife, ...

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Mason, Hugh (1817–1886), mill owner and philanthropist, was born at Stalybridge on 30 January 1817, the third and youngest son of Thomas Mason (1782–1868) and his wife, Mary Woolley (née Holden). His father was a joiner, his mother kept a smallware shop, where she sold tapes and gingerbread. During the boom of 1822–5, ...