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Burns, John Elliott (1858–1943), labour leader and politician, was born in South Lambeth, London, on 20 October 1858, the sixteenth child of Alexander Burns, a Scottish fitter, and Barbara Smith. He left St Mary's national school when he was about ten and after a series of short-term jobs was apprenticed as an engineer....

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John Elliott Burns (1858–1943) by John Collier, 1889 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dash, Jack O'Brien (1907–1989), political activist and unofficial dockers' leader, was born on 23 April 1907 in Southwark, south London, the youngest of four sons of Joseph Thomas Dash, a stagehand, and his wife, Rose Gertrude Johns, an actor. According to Dash's own account, his upbringing was one of great material hardship. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was seven and his father, who then had an even greater struggle to support the family, also died of a lung complaint a few years later. After an elementary schooling, his skill at drawing led to a trial period with an engraving firm, but pressure to take home a better wage resulted in a series of menial jobs, starting in a ...

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Macarthur [married name Anderson], Mary Reid (1880–1921), women's labour organizer, was born at Glasgow on 13 August 1880, the eldest daughter of John Duncan Macarthur, proprietor of a drapery business, and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Martin. She was one of six children, of whom only three survived. Educated at ...

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Mary Reid Macarthur (1880–1921) by unknown photographer by permission of the People's History Museum