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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 ...

Article

Higgins, Terrence Lionel Seymour (1945–1982), first publicly identified AIDS victim in the United Kingdom, was born on 10 June 1945 in Priory Mount Hospital, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, the son of Marjorie Irene Higgins (formerly Phillips), a railway porter in Haverfordwest. Remembered through the manner of his death, and the work of the trust that bears his name, the life of ...

Article

Gordon Goodwin

revised by H. C. G. Matthew

M'Avoy, Margaret (1800–1820), impostor, was born at Liverpool of respectable parentage on 28 June 1800. Of sickly constitution, she appeared to become totally blind in June 1816. Her case attracted considerable contemporary attention from the readiness with which she was alleged to distinguish, by touch, colours of cloth, silk, and stained glass. She could also accurately describe the height, dress, bearing, and other characteristics of her visitors, and even decipher letters in a printed book or manuscript with her fingers' ends, so as to be able to read with tolerable fluency. ...

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Joseph Carey Merrick [the Elephant Man] (1862–1890) by unknown photographer, c. 1889 Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum

Article

Merrick, Joseph Carey [called the Elephant Man] (1862–1890), freak show novelty and medical curiosity, was born at 50 Lee Street, Leicester, on 5 August 1862, the elder son (there was also a daughter) of Joseph Rockley Merrick (b. 1835/6), a warehouseman and machine operator in a cotton factory, and ...

Article

Moore [née Peg], Ann (b. 1761), the fasting woman of Tutbury, was born on 31 October 1761 at Rosliston, Derbyshire, the daughter of a labourer and sawyer, William Peg. She went into domestic service, and in 1788 married a fellow farm servant, ...

Article

Nolan, Anthony Edward (1971–1979), inspiration of a medical charity, was born at the Memorial Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia, on 2 December 1971, the only son of Shirley Nolan [née Oakey] (1942–2002). She had been born at the Maternity Hospital Annexe, Cookridge, Leeds...

Article

Toft [née Denyer], Mary (bap. 1703, d. 1763), the rabbit-breeder, daughter of John and Jane Denyer, was baptized at Godalming, Surrey, on 21 February 1703. She married Joshua Toft, a journeyman clothier, about 1720. They had three children, Mary, Anne, and James...

Image

Mary Toft (bap. 1703, d. 1763) by John Faber junior (after John Laguerre) © National Portrait Gallery, London