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Adams, Fanny (1859–1867), murder victim and source of a colloquial expression, was born on 30 April 1859 in Tanhouse Lane, Alton, Hampshire, the fourth of seven children of George Adams (b. 1830), a labourer, later a bricklayer, and his wife, Harriet Mills (...

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Mary Anning (1799–1847) by unknown artist, before 1842 © The Natural History Museum, London

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Anning, Mary (1799–1847), fossil collector and dealer, was born on 21 May 1799 in a seaside house in Lyme Regis, Dorset. She and her brother Joseph (1796–1849) were the only surviving children of Richard Anning (c.1766–1810), cabinet-maker and carpenter, and his wife, ...

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Ashford [married name Devlin], Margaret Mary Julia [Daisy] (1881–1972), child writer, was born on 7 April 1881 at Elm Lodge, Petersham, Surrey, the eldest of the three daughters of William Henry Roxburghe Ashford (1836–1912), a former official of the War Office, and his wife, ...

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Margaret Mary Julia Ashford (1881–1972) by unknown photographer, c. 1890 Getty Images

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Baartman, Sara [performing name the Hottentot Venus] (1777x88–1815/16), celebrity and subject of scientific speculation, was born in the Cape of Good Hope and was a member of the Khoisan people, who were also called Hottentot. Altick claims she was a daughter of a drover who had been killed by Bushmen, though nothing more is known of her parents. Her original name is not known, but as a servant of the Dutch farmer ...

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Bell, Julia (1879–1979), geneticist, was born on 28 January 1879 at Sherwood, Nottinghamshire. She was tenth of the fourteen children of James Bell, printer, and Katherine Thomas Heap. She was educated at Nottingham Girls' High School and in 1898 entered Girton College, Cambridge...

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Catherine Bramwell- Booth (1883–1987) by Snowdon, 1979 Snowdon / Camera Press, London; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Booth, Catherine Bramwell- (1883–1987), Salvation Army officer, was born on 20 July 1883 at Hadley Wood, Middlesex, the eldest in the family of two sons and five daughters of (William) Bramwell Booth (1856–1929), Salvation Army general, and his wife, Florence Eleanor Booth, née...

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Penelope Boothby (1785–1791) by Joshua Reynolds, 1788 private collection

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Boothby, Penelope (1785–1791), artist's model and subject of poetry, was born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, on 11 April 1785, the daughter of Sir Brooke Boothby, seventh baronet (1744–1824), and his wife, Susanna (1755–1822), daughter and sole heir of Robert Bristoe or Bristow of Micheldever, Hampshire...

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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 ...

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Campion, Mary Anne (c. 1687–1706), singer and dancer, was born of lowly parents, her father having possibly been a servant of William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire. She displayed a precocious talent on the stage; aged eleven, she was a member of Christopher Rich's...

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Carrie, Isabella Scrimgeour (1878–1981), suffragette and schoolteacher, was born on 3 May 1878 at 26 Wardmill Road in the parish of St Vigeans, Arbroath, the daughter of Richard Carrie (c.1836–1912), bleachfield worker, and his wife, Ann Robertson Harris (c.1842–1903)...

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Dame Harriette Chick (1875–1977) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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H. M. Sinclair

revised by David F. Smith

Chick, Dame Harriette (1875–1977), nutritionist, was born at 5 Newman Street, London, on 6 January 1875, the fifth child and third daughter of the eleven children (four boys and seven girls) of Samuel Chick, a prosperous lace merchant and property owner, and his wife, ...

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Gladys Marie Spencer- Churchill, duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977) by Sir Jacob Epstein, 1917 © Tate, London, 2004; photograph courtesy Sotheby's Picture Library, London

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Churchill, Gladys Marie Spencer- [née Gladys Marie Deacon], duchess of Marlborough (1881–1977), society beauty, was born on 7 February 1881 at the Hotel Brighton in Paris, the eldest of five children of Edward Parker Deacon of Boston (1844–1901) and his wife, Florence Mary (1859–1918)...

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Ivy Lilian Close (1890–1968) by unknown photographer Stockton-on-Tees Museum Heritage Service

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Close [married name Neame], Ivy Lilian (1890–1968), beauty queen and film actress, was born in Stockton-on-Tees, co. Durham, on 15 June 1890, the elder daughter and one of four children of John Robert Close, a jeweller in Stockton, and his wife, Emma (...