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Bain, Alexander (1810–1877), clockmaker and inventor, was born in October 1810 at Houstry, in the parish of Watten, Caithness, the fifth of eleven children of John Bain, a crofter, and his wife, Isobel Waiter. After a basic education at the local village school, ...

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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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Blackwood, Sir (Stevenson) Arthur (1832–1893), secretary of the Post Office, was born at Rosslyn Lodge, The Grove, Hampstead, on 22 May 1832, the only son of Arthur Johnstone Blackwood (1808–1874), groom of the privy chamber, and Cecilia Georgiana (d. 1881), daughter of the ...

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Cooke, Sir William Fothergill (1806–1879), developer of electric telegraphy, was born on 4 May 1806 at Ealing, Middlesex, one of two sons and two daughters of William Cooke (1776/7–1857), surgeon, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née Fothergill. In 1822 William Cooke was elected physician to ...

Article

Heaton, Sir John Henniker, first baronet (1848–1914), postal reformer, was born at Rochester on 18 May 1848, the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Heaton, of Heaton, Lancashire, and his wife, Helen, daughter and coheir of John Henniker, of Rochester. Educated at Kent House School...

Article

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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Hill, Sir Rowland (1795–1879), postal reformer and civil servant, was born on 3 December 1795 at 96 Blackwell Street, Kidderminster, third of the eight children of Thomas Wright Hill (1763–1851), schoolmaster, and his wife, Sarah Lea (1765–1842).

Article

C. H. Lees

revised by Christopher F. Lindsey

Hughes, David Edward (1829/31–1900), teacher and telegraph engineer, was born either on 18 June 1829 or on 16 May 1831 at Corwen, near Bala, Merioneth, or in Holborn, London, the second son in the family of three sons and one daughter of David Hughes...

Article

Jackson, Sir Henry Bradwardine (1855–1929), naval officer and developer of wireless telegraphy, was born on 21 January 1855 at Barnsley, Yorkshire, the eldest son of Henry Jackson, a farmer in nearby Cudworth, and his wife, Jane, the daughter of Charles Tee of Barnsley...

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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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Marconi, Guglielmo (1874–1937), physicist and inventor of wireless transmission, was born on 25 April 1874 in Bologna, Italy, the son of Giuseppe Marconi (1826–1904), a local administrator and landowner, and his second wife, Annie (b. c.1843), daughter of Andrew Jameson of the notable Irish family of whiskey distillers. Owing to his poor health ...

Article

Palmer, John (1742–1818), theatre proprietor and postal reformer, was born in Bath, probably at 1 Gallaway's Buildings, the third child and only son of John Palmer (1702/3–1788) and his wife, Jane Long (1714/15–1783). His family were prosperous tradesmen in Bath, to which town his grandfather had moved, probably from ...

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Reeves, Alec Harley (1902–1971), engineer and inventor, was born on 10 March 1902 at Ravenscroft, 9 Ridgeway Road, Redhill, Surrey, the son of Edward Ayearst Reeves (1862–1945) and his wife, Grace Eden, née Harley. They also had a daughter, Dorothy. Edward Reeves was map curator and instructor in practical astronomy and surveying to the ...

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Ronalds, Sir Francis (1788–1873), inventor and meteorologist, was born on 21 February 1788, probably in London, the second of eleven children of Francis Ronalds (1761–1806), merchant, and his wife, Jane (1766–1852), daughter of William Field, merchant, and his wife, Ann Bailey. The Ronalds...

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Scudamore, Frank Ives (1823–1884), writer and Post Office administrator, was born in February 1823 in Eltham, Kent, the son of John Scudamore, a solicitor from a prominent Herefordshire family, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Colonel Francis Downman. Educated at Christ's Hospital, he married, in 1851, ...

Article

S. P. Thompson

revised by Brian Bowers

Wheatstone, Sir Charles (1802–1875), developer of telegraphy, was born on 6 February 1802 at the Manor House, Barnwood, Gloucester, the second of four children of William Wheatstone (1775–1854), shoemaker, and his wife, Beatta. In 1806 the family moved to London, where Wheatstone went to school. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to an uncle, also ...

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Whent, Sir Gerald Arthur [Gerry] (1927–2002), businessman, was born on 1 March 1927 in Ferozepore, India, the youngest of the four children of Major Albert Whent, an officer in the Royal Artillery. He was educated at St Mary's College, Southampton, but was more interested in sport than academia and left at the age of sixteen to become an apprentice in an aircraft factory. Two years later, in 1945, he joined the army as a regular soldier. His military career took him to ...

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Wilshaw, Sir Edward (1879–1968), company manager and financier, was born on 3 June 1879 at Limehouse, London, the elder son of William George Wilshaw, a clerk with Fletcher's Dry Dock, and later its chairman and managing director, and his wife, Amelia Sewell.

Wilshaw...