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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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See Aitken, William Maxwell, first Baron Beaverbrook

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See Henry Frederick, Prince, duke of Cumberland and Strathearn

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Elizabeth Bridget Armitstead (1750–1842) by unknown artist © reserved

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Armitstead [née Cane; married name Fox], Elizabeth Bridget (1750–1842), courtesan, was, according to an entry in her journal, born on 11 July 1750. Her parentage, place of birth, and reason for changing her maiden name to Armitstead are unknown, as are the circumstances surrounding her emergence as a prominent courtesan. About 1774 she became the mistress of ...

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See American Indians in England

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Arnold, Mary Anne (b. 1825), sailor and cross-dresser, was born in Sheerness, Kent, and may have been the daughter of Lieutenant Arnold of the Royal Navy who served aboard the Ganges and Prince Regent men-of-war. According to a report in The Times following her detection in October 1839, an officer of the ...

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

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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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Violet Attlee (1895–1965), by Bassano Ltd, 1946

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Attlee [née Millar], Violet Helen, Countess Attlee (1895–1965), charity fund-raiser and prime minister’s wife, was born at Heathdown, East Heath Road, Hampstead, on 20 November 1895, the youngest of eleven children of Henry Edward Millar (1856–1912), a commission merchant in import/export trade, and his wife, ...

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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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Balfour [née Lytton], Elizabeth Edith [Betty], countess of Balfour (1867–1942), social hostess and biographer, was born on 12 June 1867 at Hyde Park Gate, London, the eldest of the five surviving children of Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, first earl of Lytton (1831–1891), viceroy, diplomat, and poet, and his wife, ...

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James Barry (c. 1799–1865) by unknown photographer, c. 1860 [left, with a servant] Trustees of the Army Medical Services Museum

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Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite, was probably born Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Bulkley or Bulkeley, the sister of the artist James Barry; her paternity is in doubt. From the age of ten she dressed and presented herself as a man, but the woman who laid out her corpse declared that she was female: '...

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Beecham, (Helen) Audrey (1915–1989), poet and eccentric, was born at Weaverham, Cheshire, on 21 July 1915, the eldest of five children and only daughter of Henry (Harry) Beecham (1888–1947) and his wife, Ethel Anne Baxter (d. 1951). Her great-grandfather, Thomas Beecham, founded the family fortune with his celebrated pills; ...

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Berkeley, Lady Henrietta [Harriett] (b. in or after 1664, d. 1706), figure of scandal, was a younger daughter of George Berkeley, first earl of Berkeley (1626/7–1698), and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1708), daughter of John Massingberd. Little is known of her early life. But in 1682 ...

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Bowes, Mary Eleanor, countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (1749–1800), heiress and victim of kidnapping, was born on 24 February 1749, the only child of George Bowes MP (1701–1760), of Streatlam Castle and Gibside, co. Durham, and his second wife, Mary (d. 1781)...

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Briouze, Loretta de, countess of Leicester (d. in or after 1266), noblewoman and recluse, was one of the children of William (III) de Briouze (d. 1211) and Matilda de St Valéry (d. 1210). Her father was a great man in the Anglo-Welsh marches, and four of her five sisters who survived into adulthood married Welsh or marcher lords; notably ...

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Brookes [née Emmerton], Dame Mabel Balcombe (1890–1975), socialite and charity worker, was born on 15 June 1890 at Raveloe, South Yarra, Melbourne, Australia, the only child of Harry Emmerton (1845–1927), an English born solicitor, and his wife, Alice Mabel Maude (1865–1923), a daughter of ...