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Ashbridge, Sir Noel (1889–1975), broadcasting engineer, was born on 10 December 1889 in Wanstead, Essex, the fourth son and youngest child of John Ashbridge, solicitor, of Wanstead, and his wife, Sylvia Moore. He was educated at Forest School, Snaresbrook, Essex, and King's College, London...

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Baird, John Logie (1888–1946), television engineer, was born on 13 August 1888 at The Lodge, West Argyle Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, Scotland, the youngest of the four children of the Revd John Baird, minister of the West Parish Church, Helensburgh, and his wife, Jessie Morrison Inglis...

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John Logie Baird (1888–1946) by Howard Coster, 1935 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bishop, Sir Harold (1900–1983), broadcasting engineer, was born on 29 October 1900, at 57 Rosebery Road, Clapham, London, the third son of Henry Thomas Bishop, a builder, and his wife, Mary Ann Ellis. He was educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, and on leaving school took an apprenticeship with ...

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Bray, (William) John (1911–2004), telecommunications engineer, was born on 10 September 1911 at 198 Walmer Road, Kingston, Portsmouth, one of the two sons of William James Bray, an engine room artificer on HMS Achilles, and his wife, Emily Eliza, née Clothier. The family moved to ...

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Cabanel, Rudolphe (1762/3–1839), engineer and theatre designer, was 'a native' of Aachen (some accounts say Liège) but lived in London for most of his life. Little is known of his family or his early years. His mother was probably Victoire Cabanel, a dancer. His father seems to have been an actor and pyrotechnist. ...

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Cole, Eric Kirkham (1901–1966), radio engineer, was born at 14 Windsor Road, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on 4 July 1901, the only child of Henry Cole, a dairyman, and his wife, Alice Laura, née Kirkham. He was educated at Southend Day Technical School and, after serving a three-year apprenticeship, went into partnership with his father as an electrical engineer. He set up his own business in 1922, making radio receivers to take advantage of the demand following the foundation of the ...

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Davis, Ian Gordon McNaught- (1929–2014), mountaineer, businessman, and broadcaster, was born on 30 August 1929 at Noordschote, Third Avenue, Newton Hill, Wakefield, Yorkshire, the son of Stanley Gordon McNaught-Davis (1889–1971), an ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot then working as a bus driver, later a transport manager, and his wife ...

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Day, Daniel (1683–1767), engineer and founder of Fairlop fair, Essex, was born in Southwark, Surrey, where his father was a prosperous brewer. Day never married, and resided all his working life in Wapping, then on the eastern margin of London, where he pursued his trade as an engine, pump, and block maker. He was known as an upright and ingenious mechanic, and was responsible for many improvements and inventions. His modification to the brewers' jigger—a pump used to force beer into vats—was in use for many years. His business prospered and he became sufficiently wealthy to enjoy the pleasures of generosity, endowing his nieces at their marriages, and lending or giving to those in need. Such was his reputation for probity that he was regularly called on to settle local disputes....

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Frederick Dibnah (1938–2004) by Alisdair Macdonald, 2004 Rex Features

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Dibnah, Frederick [Fred] (1938–2004), steeplejack and television presenter, was born at 7 Alfred Street, Bolton, on 29 April 1938, the son of Frank Dibnah, a bleacher's beetler, and his wife, Betsy, later Bessie, née Travis, a gasworks charwoman. He grew up watching steam trains on the railway line that ran behind the family's terraced house and marvelled at the tall industrial chimney-stacks across the skyline, which he enjoyed sketching. His fascination with steam power was furthered by seeing various contraptions, pulleys, and belts on visits to the bleach factory where his father worked....

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Dickson, William Kennedy Laurie (1860–1935), electrical engineer and film-maker, was born on 3 August 1860 at Château St Buc, Le Minihic-sur-Rance, Brittany, France, the second of three children of James Waite Dickson (d. 1870s), an artist, and his second wife, Elizabeth Kennedy-Laurie (1823?–1879)...

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Eckersley, Peter Pendleton (1892–1963), broadcasting engineer, was born on 6 January 1892 in Puebla, Mexico, the third son, and the third and youngest child, of (William) Alfred Eckersley, a railway engineer, and his wife, Rachel, daughter of Thomas Henry Huxley, physiologist. Eckersley's elder brother was the physicist and engineer ...

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Fisk, Sir Ernest Thomas (1886–1965), entrepreneur and developer of radio, was born on 8 August 1886 at Sunbury, Middlesex, the second child of Thomas Harvey Fisk, builder, and his wife, Charlotte Hariette, née Halland. Educated at St Mary's and Sunbury Boys' schools, Fisk...

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Gould, Rupert Thomas (1890–1948), horologist and broadcaster, was born on 16 November 1890 at St Edward's Road, Southsea, Hampshire, the second son of William Monk Gould (d. 1923), composer and musician, and Agnes Hilton (d. 1937), daughter of Thomas Skinner, medical doctor of ...

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Hersee, George (1924–2001), television engineer, was born on 29 December 1924 at Orchard Cottage, Loxwood, near Wisborough Green, Sussex, the son of Ernest Alfred George Hersee, estate clerk, and later master grocer, and his wife, Florence Lillian, née Harris, shop assistant. He had a brother, ...

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George Hersee (1924–2001) by Roy Riley [with the BBC testcard] © Solent News

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Ludwig Karl Koch (1881–1974) by Fred Kormis, c. 1960 © reserved; unknown collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Koch, Ludwig Karl (1881–1974), broadcaster and sound recordist, was born on 13 November 1881 at Eschersheimer Landstrasse 20, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the second of the three children of Karl Theodor Koch, businessman, and his wife, Auguste Hess. Ludwig Koch's parents, both of whom were Jews, were enthusiastic music-lovers who introduced him into ...

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Loring, Frederick George (1869–1951), naval officer and wireless expert, was born on 11 March 1869 at Stonelands, Ryde, Isle of Wight, the eldest son of Admiral Sir William Loring (d. 1895), and his wife, Frances Louisa Adams. From a naval family—his grandfather ...