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See Addison, Joseph

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Alderson, Thomas Hopper (1903–1965), wartime rescue party leader, was born at Ashburne Stables, Sunderland, on 15 September 1903, the fifth of six children and first son of Thomas Alderson (1864–1945), domestic coachman, and his wife, Sarah Annie, née Hopper (1872–1942). He was educated at a village school; then at ...

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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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See Palairet, Sir (Charles) Michael

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Astor [née Langhorne], Nancy Witcher, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964), society hostess and politician, was born at Danville, Virginia, on 19 May 1879, the eighth child in a family of eleven. Her father, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843–1919), a veteran of the American Civil War, had made his fortune in railway construction and bought an estate at ...

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Nancy Witcher Astor, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964) by George Charles Beresford, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Macdonald sisters

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Barry, Thomas Bernardine (1897–1980), Irish revolutionary and folk hero, was born on 1 July 1897 in Killorglin, co. Kerry, the eldest son and second of eleven children of Thomas Barry, a policeman, and his wife, Margaret Donovan, both of co. Cork. After Tom...

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Baume, Pierre Henri Joseph (1797–1875), radical activist and eccentric, was born at Marseilles on 17 October 1797, the son of Henri Joseph Baume (1770–1831) and Marie Claire Antoinette Merlat (1780–1837). His parents ran a wig-making shop and were inclined both to anti-clericalism and adultery. When he was still young his father moved to ...

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Belasyse [née Cromwell], Mary, Countess Fauconberg (bap. 1637, d. 1713), daughter of Oliver Cromwell, was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, and baptized at St John's Church, Huntingdon, on 9 February 1637, the eighth of nine children and the third of four daughters of ...

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Bendish [née Ireton], Bridget (1649/50–1726), granddaughter of Oliver Cromwell, was the daughter of Henry Ireton (bap. 1611, d. 1651), parliamentarian army officer and regicide, and his wife, Bridget Fleetwood (bap. 1624, d. 1662), daughter of Oliver Cromwell, lord protector. Her mother married ...

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Noel Pemberton Billing (1881–1948) by Elliott & Fry, 1920s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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Bosville, William (1745–1813), society host and radical, was born on 21 July 1745, the eldest son of Godfrey Bosville of Gunthwaite, Yorkshire, and his wife, Diana, the eldest daughter of Sir William Wentworth, baronet, of West Bretton. Bosville was able to trace his family back to the reign of ...

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Bridgeman [née Weld-Forester], Selina Louisa, countess of Bradford (1819–1894), correspondent of Benjamin Disraeli, was born in London on 17 February 1819, the seventh and youngest child of Cecil, first Baron Forester (1767–1828), MP and landowner, and his wife, née Lady Katherine Manners (1779–1829)...

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Selina Louisa Bridgeman, countess of Bradford (1819–1894) by Edward Clifford, 1876 Copyright of the Trustees of the Weston Park Foundation

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Britannia (fl. 1st– cent.21st) by Jan Roettier, 1667 [reverse] © Copyright The British Museum

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Britannia (fl. 1st–21st cent.), allegory of a nation, emblem of empire, and patriotic icon, is by origin a child of Rome, representing an outpost of the Roman empire. Her earliest known appearances did not augur well for her future: rock reliefs at Aphrodisias...

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Brittain, Sir Henry Ernest [Harry] (1873–1974), journalist and politician, was born on 24 December 1873 at Storth Oaks, Ranmoor, near Sheffield, Yorkshire, the oldest surviving child in the family of two sons and three daughters (one daughter died in infancy) of William Henry Brittain (1835–1922)...

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(Archibald) Fenner Brockway, Baron Brockway (1888–1988) by Bassano, 1930 © National Portrait Gallery, London