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Africanus, Scipio (c. 1702–1720), servant, was born of an African family that most likely came from west Africa, where many Bristol merchants bought or captured black men and women for transport to the American colonies. He became the servant of Charles William Howard, ...

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Ashford, Mary Ann (1787–1870), domestic servant and autobiographer, was born on 30 October 1787 in London, where she was baptized at St Mary Woolnoth on 2 December 1787, the second child of Joseph Ashford (d. 1800), tanner, and his wife, Jane, née...

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Ayres, Alice (1859–1885), domestic servant and heroine, was born in Isleworth, Middlesex, on 12 September 1859, the fourth daughter and seventh of ten children of John Ayres (1820–1889), labourer, and his wife, Mary-Ann, née Harris (1826–1895). She attended the village school in Isleworth...

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Alice Ayres (1859–1885) by unknown artist, 1885 © Illustrated London News Ltd / Mary Evans

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Barber, Francis (c. 1745–1801), servant, was born a slave in Jamaica; his birth name and family are unknown. He was brought to England by Richard Bathurst, father to Johnson's friend of that name, who had him baptized and named Francis Barber, and sent him to a school in ...

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Isabella Mary Beeton (1836–1865) by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1860–65 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beeton [née Mayson], Isabella Mary (1836–1865), writer on household management and journalist, was born on 14 March 1836 at Milk Street, off Cheapside in the City of London, the eldest in the family of three daughters and a son of Benjamin Mayson (1801–1840)...

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Bowker, Agnes (b. 1541/2), servant and alleged mother of a cat, was the daughter of Henry Bowker, a yeoman or butcher of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, and suffered from fits of 'the falling sickness' or epilepsy. Although she described being once sent to live in ...

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Boxall, Nellie (1890–1965), cook and servant, was born on 2 November 1890 at 353 Somers Road, Farncombe, a small town in rural Surrey. She was the youngest of the ten children (six daughters and four sons) of Henry Boxall (1846–1891), an agricultural labourer and later a railway worker, originally from ...

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Carryl, Mary (d. 1809), servant and friend of the Ladies of Llangollen, was one of at least three children of humble parents from Ross, co. Wexford. Little is known of her background or upbringing, but her forceful personality was apparent at an early age; it was reported that as a young woman 'she went by the name of ...

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Coker, Frances [Fanny] (1767–1820), freed slave and domestic servant, was born on 26 August 1767 on Mountravers plantation, Nevis, in the West Indies, the first of five children of Black Polly (b. c.1752, d. in or after 1823). Her mother was probably enslaved in ...

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Colling, Mary Maria (1804–1853), poet and domestic servant, was born on 20 August 1804 (although she later claimed to have been born a year later), in Tavistock, Devon, and was baptized there on 2 September 1804, the daughter of Edmund Colling (1769/70–1855), husbandman and assistant to the surveyor of the highways, and his wife, ...

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Cowper [known as Shell], Agnes (b. c. 1559, d. after 1619), servant and vagrant, was born in the parish of St Olave, Southwark, Surrey, the daughter of William Cowper (d. c.1565), an embroiderer, and his wife (d. c.1570), whose name is unknown. Her life story is illuminated by the chance of her encounter in 1619 with the exhaustive record keepers of the parish of ...

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Falcieri, Giovanni Battista [Tita] (1798–1874), servant, was born in Venice, the son of a gondolier, also Giovanni Battista Falcieri (1761–in or after 1835). The Falcieri were hereditary gondoliers to the Mocenigi family and, as a result, the younger Giovanni's service came with the house when ...