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Adamson [née Johnston], Janet Laurel (1882–1962), labour movement activist and politician, was born at Kilmarnock on 9 May 1882, one of the six children of Thomas Johnston, a railway porter, and Elizabeth, née Denton. Her father died young and her mother had to become a dressmaker to support the family. As ...

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Appleby [née Walley], (Florence) Lucy (1920–2008), cheese-maker, was born on 1 February 1920 at Lighteach Farm, Whitchurch, Shropshire, one of eight children of Alfred Edward Walley (1886–1954), a farmer and Baptist minister, and his wife, Sarah, née Pierpoint (1891–1964). She was educated at the high school at ...

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Ayres, Alice (1859–1885), domestic servant and heroine, was born in Isleworth, Middlesex, on 12 September 1859, the fourth daughter and seventh of ten children of John Ayres (1820–1889), labourer, and his wife, Mary-Ann, née Harris (1826–1895). She attended the village school in Isleworth...

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Bamber [née Balmuth], Helen Rae (1925–2014), human rights advocate and psychotherapist, was born at Westminster Hospital, London, on 1 May 1925, the only child of Louis Balmuth (1887–1961), accountant, and his wife Marie, née Bader (1895–1969), a singer. At the time of her birth registration her parents, both of Polish-Jewish descent, lived at ...

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Barnham [née Bradbridge], Alice (1523–1604), silkwoman and benefactor, was born on 7 September 1523 at Chichester, Sussex, one of the youngest of the fourteen children of William Bradbridge (d. 1546), a successful and prosperous mercer, and his wife, Alice. Alice Barnham...

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Beeton [née Mayson], Isabella Mary (1836–1865), writer on household management and journalist, was born on 14 March 1836 at Milk Street, off Cheapside in the City of London, the eldest in the family of three daughters and a son of Benjamin Mayson (1801–1840)...

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Belville, (Elizabeth) Ruth Naomi (1854–1943), horologist and merchant, was born on 5 March 1854 at 9 Hyde Vale Cottages, Greenwich, Kent, the only child of Belville, John Henry (1795?–1856), horologist and assistant astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and his third wife, ...

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Blencowe [née Wallis], Anne, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718), compiler of recipes, was born on 4 June 1656, the elder daughter and second of three surviving children of John Wallis (1616–1703), Savilian professor of geometry at the University of Oxford, and his wife, Susanna Glyde (1622–1687)...

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Bondfield, Margaret Grace (1873–1953), trade unionist, campaigner for women's interests, and politician, was born on 17 March 1873 at Chard, Somerset, the tenth of eleven children and third of four daughters of William Bondfield (1814–1901), foreman laceworker, and his wife, Anne Taylor (1827?–1911)...

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Bonetta [née Davies], (Ina) Sarah Forbes [Sally] (c. 1843–1880), Queen Victoria's ward, was born in west Africa (in the south-west of modern-day Nigeria) about 1843, of Yoruba descent. Few details are known about her family besides their massacre by forces loyal to the Dahomian monarch, ...

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Braddock [née Bamber], Elizabeth Margaret [Bessie] (1899–1970), trade union activist and politician, was born at Zante Street, Liverpool, on 24 September 1899, the elder daughter of Hugh Bamber, bookbinder, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Andrew Little, an Edinburgh lawyer. Mary Bamber...

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Bruce, (Josephine) Esther (1912–1994), seamstress, was born on 29 November 1912 at 15 Dieppe Street, Fulham, London, the only surviving daughter of Joseph Adolphus Bruce (1880–1941), builder's labourer and coach painter, originally from British Guiana, and his Scottish wife, Edith (d. 1918)...

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Cliff, Clarice (1899–1972), ceramic designer and art director, was born on 20 January 1899 at 19 Meir Street, Tunstall, Staffordshire, one of eight children of Harry Thomas Cliff, iron-moulder, and his wife, Ann (née Machin). Her parents were working-class and of Staffordshire...

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Cradock, Phyllis Nan Sortain [Fanny] (1909–1994), television chef, was born on 26 February 1909 at Apthorp, Fairlop Road, Leytonstone, Essex, the daughter of Archibald Thomas Pechey, corn merchant, and his wife, Bijou Sortain, née Hancock. By the time of her first marriage she was referring to her father as an 'author', although there is no evidence to support the claim; she also embellished her surname, giving it as '...

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Cresswell, Madam (d. c. 1698), bawd and brothel keeper, of unknown origins, was made infamous by the slanders and libels of court wits and pamphleteers on account both of her prominence in the vice trade of Restoration London and her whig politics during the exclusion crisis. As a result her image was fixed by tory pamphleteers as a wizened old crone who would stoop to any ruse in order to corrupt the virtue of young countrywomen....

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David [née Gwynne], Elizabeth (1913–1992), writer on cookery, was born on 26 December 1913 at Wootton Manor, near Polegate, Sussex, the second of four daughters of Rupert Sackville Gwynne (1873–1924), politician, and his wife, the Hon. Stella, née Ridley (d. 1973)...

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Desai [née Patel], Jayaben Suryakant (1933–2010), factory worker, trade unionist, and teacher, was born in Dharmaj, Gujarat, India, on 2 April 1933, into an affluent landowning family, the only daughter and second of three children of Gordhanbhai Govindbhai Patel and his wife, ...

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Dilke [née Strong; other married name Pattison], Emilia Francis, Lady Dilke (1840–1904), art historian and trade unionist, was born on 2 September 1840 in Ilfracombe, Devon, the fourth of the six children of Henry Strong (1794–1876) and his wife, Emily Weedon (...

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Ellis [née Neilson], Ruth (1926–1955), nightclub hostess and convicted murderer, was born on 9 October 1926 at 74 West Parade, Rhyl, north Wales, the fourth of six children of Arthur Neilson (formerly Hornby), musician, and his wife, Elisaberta Goodall, a seamstress.

Born into poverty, ...

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FitzGibbon [née Rosling; other married name Morrison], Theodora (1916–1991), writer on cookery, was born on 21 October 1916, the only legitimate daughter of John Archibald Rosling (known as Adam) and his wife, Alice Winifred Hodgkins. A great many myths surrounded her life and background: she once told an interviewer that she was born at ...