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Aldersey, Laurence (1546–1597/8), sea captain, was born at Aldersey Hall, Spurstow, Cheshire, the son of Thomas Aldersey (d. 1557), sheriff of Chester in 1539 and mayor in 1549, and his wife, Cecilia Garnet (fl. 1513–1594), also of Chester. As the sixth in a family of at least eight children, in the mid-1560s he looked to ...

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Baker, Matthew (1529/30–1613), shipwright, was the son of James Baker [see below], shipwright to Henry VIII. In 1550 Baker sailed to the Levant in the bark Aucher commanded by Roger Bodenham. Though only a young man, his was an inquisitive role during the voyage, and he acquired valuable knowledge of Venetian boat-building techniques. Following his return to ...

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Baker, Robert (fl. c. 1563), mariner and poet, is known only through his one published writing. Possibly a relative of the Bakers of Sissinghurst who had connections with the London overseas trading community, Robert Baker composed a poem about two English voyages to ...

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Balleny, John (b. c. 1770, d. in or after 1842), merchant navy officer and Antarctic discoverer, was born c.1770 but nothing is known about his early life and education. He may have been a Londoner, brought up in the Newcastle coal trade. From 1798, when he was living in the parish of ...

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Barlow, Edward (1642–1706?), mariner, was born at Prestwich, Manchester, on 6 March 1642, one of the six children of George Barlow (c.1599–c.1686), husbandman, and his wife, Ann (d. 1692). Disliking his apprenticeship as a ‘whitester’ (that is, in the bleaching trade), he went to ...

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Sir Percy Elly Bates, fourth baronet (1879–1946) by George Charles Beresford, 1913 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bates, Sir Percy Elly, fourth baronet (1879–1946), merchant and shipowner, was born at Beechenhurst, Wavertree, Liverpool, on 12 May 1879, the second of seven sons of Edward Percy Bates (1845–1899), who became second baronet, and his wife, Constance Elisabeth, daughter of Samuel Robert Graves...

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See Bates, Sir Percy Elly, fourth baronet

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William Beardmore, Baron Invernairn (1856–1936) by Elliott & Fry courtesy of Glasgow University Archive Services

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Beardmore, William, Baron Invernairn (1856–1936), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 16 October 1856 at Deptford, the eldest son of William Beardmore and his wife, Sophia Louisa Halkman. His father was assistant manager of the Deptford works of the General Steam Navigation Company...

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Sir Thomas Bell (1865–1952) by unknown photographer reproduced with permission of Archives and Special Collections Department, Glasgow City Libraries, Information and Learning

Article

J. Brown

revised by Anthony Slaven

Bell, Sir Thomas (1865–1952), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 21 December 1865 at Sirsawa in India, the son of Imrie Bell, a consultant engineer specializing in the design of lighthouses, and his wife, Jane Walker of Edinburgh. His early education was undertaken at the ...

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Berthon, Edward Lyon (1813–1899), inventor of nautical aids and Church of England clergyman, was born in Finsbury Square, London, on 20 February 1813, the tenth child of Peter Berthon (1772–1850), an army contractor, and his wife, Ellen Green Parke (1777–1854...

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Best, Thomas (1570–1639), sea captain and master of Trinity House, was baptized on 8 June 1570 at Merstham, Surrey, the youngest son of Robert Best, an interpreter for the Muscovy Company, and Anne, formerly Bowman. Later, in 1623, Best told Sir William Conway...

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A. G. E. Jones

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Biscoe, John (bap. 1794, d. 1843), merchant navy officer and explorer, was baptized in Enfield on 28 June 1794, the third son and youngest child of Thomas Biscoe of Waltham Abbey and his wife, Ann Tibbs. Nothing is known of his early years, but on leaving school he became a clerk. On 11 March 1812 he volunteered for the ...

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Robert C. Ritchie

Bonnet, Stede (d. 1718), pirate, may have been a soldier as he was given the title of major during his trial, where he was also treated as an educated gentleman by the officers of the court. The most that can at present be said about his family is that he is probably the ...

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Borough, John (c. 1494–1570), seaman, son of Stephen Borough (c.1474–1548), was born at Northam Burrows, Northam, Devon, the eldest of four brothers brought up there. Early seagoing experience off the treacherous north Devon and Cornish shores prepared him well for more challenging tasks with the vice-admiral ...

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Browne, Sir Benjamin Chapman (1839–1917), engineer and shipbuilder, was born on 26 August 1839 at Stouts Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, the youngest of the three sons of Colonel Benjamin Chapman Browne (d. c.1853) of the 9th lancers and later of the Gloucestershire yeomanry...

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Bullen, Frank Thomas (1857–1915), merchant seaman and writer, was born at 40 Alfred Road, Paddington, London, on 5 April 1857, the son of Frank Robert Bullen, journeyman stonemason of Crewkerne, Dorset, and his wife, Margaret, née Brown. When he was eighteen months old the family broke up, his upbringing passing to a maiden aunt. An elder sister disappeared, and he saw his mother only once again, though he re-established contact with his father later in life. Existence depended on his aunt's ability at home sewing, yet two foundations of his later development were laid down: an awareness of literature and familiarity with religion. A natural pre-school reader, he attended dame- and junior schools and a Sunday school chapel in ...

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J. K. Laughton

revised by Anthony Slaven

Burns, Sir George, first baronet (1795–1890), shipowner, was born on 10 December 1795 in Glasgow, the youngest of four sons of the Revd Dr John Burns (1744–1839), minister of the Barony parish, Glasgow, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Stevenson. While his elder brothers ...