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William Almack (d. 1781) by Richard Josey (after Thomas Gainsborough) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Almack, William (d. 1781), founder of club and assembly rooms, was born in Thirsk, in the North Riding of Yorkshire—not, as was sometimes stated by his contemporaries, in Scotland. In his youth he moved to London to work as a valet to the ...

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Birley, Marcus Oswald Hornby Lecky [Mark] (1930–2007), club owner, was born at midnight on 29–30 May 1930 (his birth was recorded as 30 May), at the Corner House, 62 Wellington Road, St John's Wood, London, the only son of Sir Oswald Hornby Joseph Birley (1880–1952)...

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William Crockford (bap. 1776, d. 1844) by Thomas Rowlandson © Copyright The British Museum

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Crockford, William (bap. 1776, d. 1844), gambling club proprietor, was baptized in February 1776, the son of William Crockford, fishmonger, and his wife, Mary Ann, whose fish stall was at the eastern end of the Strand, Westminster. It is supposed that young William...

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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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Evans, Rudolph Bayfield [Rudy] [performing name André de Dakar] (1897–1987), singer, actor, and entrepreneur, was born at Monkey Hill, Panama, on 23 February 1897, the eighth son and ninth of the ten children of Edward John Rhodes Evans (b. 1853), a land and property owner, and his wife, ...

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Marke, Ernest Patrick (1902–1995), seaman and club owner, was born on 20 August 1902 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the son of a Sierra Leonean merchant, Peter Adolphus Marke, and his Nigerian wife, who was related to the Egba royal family of Abeokuta. In 1917 he ran away from home and stowed away on a merchant ship bound for ...

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Massingberd, Emily Caroline Langton (1847–1897), women's club founder and temperance campaigner, was born at 43 Durnford Street, East Stonehouse, Devon, on 19 December 1847, the first of the three children of Charles Langton Massingberd (1815–1887), a landowner, and his first wife, Harriett Anne (...

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McNachtane, John, of Dundarave (d. 1773), customs official and founder of the Beggar's Benison, was the second son of John McNachtane of Dundarave, Argyll (d. in or after 1711) and Isobel, daughter of Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy. On his elder brother's death in 1702 he became heir to ...

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Kate Evelyn Meyrick (1875–1933) by unknown photographer [centre, with four of her children: (left to right) Nancy, Anne, May (the countess of Kinnoull), and Gordon] © Science & Society Picture Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Meyrick [née Nason], Kate Evelyn (1875–1933), nightclub owner, was born on 7 August 1875 at 24 Cambridge Terrace, Kingstown, Dublin, the younger daughter of John William Washington Nason (c.1842–1876), a physician of Kingstown, who was heir to property at Newtown...

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Ronald Scott (1927–1996) by Philip Sayer, pubd 1991 © Philip Sayer; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Scott, Ronald [Ronnie] (1927–1996), jazz saxophonist and nightclub owner, was born at the Mothers' Home, 396 Commercial Road, Stepney, London, on 28 January 1927, the son of Joseph Schatt (also known as Jock Scott), a saxophonist and orchestra leader, and his wife, Sylvia (Cissie) Rosenbloom (...

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Solly, Henry (1813–1903), social reformer and founder of working men's clubs, was born on 17 November 1813 in the City of London, the youngest of the ten children of Isaac Solly (1768–1853), a trader and company director, and his wife, Mary, the daughter of ...