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Abraham, William [pseud. Mabon] (1842–1922), trade unionist and politician, was born at Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Glamorgan, on 14 June 1842, the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Abraham. His father, a coalminer and copper smelter, soon died, leaving his mother to raise a large family. ...

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Adamson, William [Willie] (1863–1936), politician and trade unionist, was born at Halbeath, near Dunfermline in Fife, on 2 April 1863, the son of James Armstrong Adamson, a coalminer, and Flora Cunningham. He attended a dame-school run by the wife of a mining engineer, and left at the age of eleven to work in the mining industry, where he was employed for the next twenty-seven years. He married, on 25 February 1887, ...

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Amory, Derick Heathcoat, first Viscount Amory (1899–1981), industrialist and politician, was born on 26 December 1899 in London, the second son of Sir Ian Murray Heathcoat Heathcoat-Amory, second baronet (1865–1931), and his wife, Alexandra Georgina (d. 1942), daughter of Vice-Admiral Henry George Seymour...

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Arch, Joseph (1826–1919), trade unionist and politician, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, on 10 November 1826, the son of John Arch (b. c.1793), a shepherd, and Hannah Pace (c.1783–1845). Before her marriage his mother worked as a domestic servant in ...

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Baldwin, Alfred (1841–1908), industrialist and politician, was born at Stourport, Worcestershire, on 4 June 1841, the youngest of twelve children of George Pearce Baldwin (1789–1840), a small-scale iron founder and businessman, and his second wife, Sarah Chalkley Stanley (1801–1874), the eldest daughter of the ...

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Bass, Michael Thomas (1799–1884), brewer and politician, was born on 6 July 1799 at Burton upon Trent, the eldest son of Michael Thomas Bass (1759–1827), brewer, and his wife, Sarah, née Hoskins (1763–1837). He was educated at the grammar school in Burton and afterwards at ...

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Bazley, Sir Thomas, first baronet (1797–1885), cotton spinner and politician, was born on 27 May 1797 at Gilnow, near Bolton, Lancashire, the son of Thomas Bazley (1773–1845), sometime cotton manufacturer, mathematician, and journalist, and his wife, Anne, the daughter of Charles Hilton of ...

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Bell, Richard (1859–1930), trade union leader and politician, was born at Penderyn, Brecknockshire, on 29 November 1859, the son of Charles Bell, a quarryman, and his wife, Ann (née Thomas). As a young boy Bell was shocked by the death of his uncle, killed in a quarry accident while working alongside his father, who narrowly escaped injury in an attempt to rescue him. ...

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Bevin, Ernest (1881–1951), trade unionist and politician, was born at Winsford, Somerset, on 7 March 1881, the seventh child of Diana (known as Mercy) Bevin (1841–1889). His mother, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Tidbould, married William Bevin, an agricultural labourer, in 1864. In 1876 or 1877 ...

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Black, Sir Cyril Wilson (1902–1991), property developer and politician, was born on 8 April 1902 at 11 Langham Mansions, Kensington, London, one of four sons (three surviving) and two daughters of Robert Wilson Black (1871–1951), property developer, of 11 Langham Mansions, and his wife, ...

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J. R. MacDonald

revised by Marc Brodie

Broadhurst, Henry (1840–1911), trade unionist and politician, was born at Littlemore, Oxfordshire, on 23 April 1840, the fourth son and youngest of the twelve children of Thomas Broadhurst (1799/1800–1866), stonemason, and his wife, Sarah, née Jessop (1799/1800–1880). He was educated at a village school near ...

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Bromley, John (1876–1945), trade unionist, was born on 16 July 1876 at Haston Grove, Hadnall, Shropshire, the son of Charles Alfred Bromley, a dyer, and his wife, Martha Helen, née Wellings. He attended the local board school, followed by an upper grade church school until he was twelve. Straitened home circumstances then compelled him to work part-time, first as a country postboy at ...

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Brown, Sir William, first baronet (1784–1864), merchant and politician, was born on 30 May 1784 at Ballymena, co. Antrim, the eldest son of seven children of Alexander Brown (1764–1834), merchant, and Grace, daughter of John Davison of Drumnasole.

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Brown, William John (1894–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 13 September 1894 in Battersea, London, the second son of Joseph Morris Brown, a plumber, and his wife, Rosina (Rose) Spicer. He attended the Salmestone elementary school, Margate, until the age of eleven, whereupon he won a scholarship to ...

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Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson, first baronet (1842–1919), chemical manufacturer and politician, was born on 8 February 1842 in Everton, Liverpool, the second of the three sons and the fourth of the five children of John Brunner, a Swiss protestant minister, who migrated to ...

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Burns, John Elliott (1858–1943), labour leader and politician, was born in South Lambeth, London, on 20 October 1858, the sixteenth child of Alexander Burns, a Scottish fitter, and Barbara Smith. He left St Mary's national school when he was about ten and after a series of short-term jobs was apprenticed as an engineer....

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Chamberlain, Joseph [Joe] (1836–1914), industrialist and politician, was born on 8 July 1836 at 3 Grove Hill Terrace, Camberwell, Surrey, the first of the nine children of Joseph Chamberlain (1796–1874), cordwainer and metal manufacturer, and his wife, Caroline (1808–1875), daughter of Henry Harben...

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Clitherow, Sir Christopher (1577/8–1641), merchant and politician, was the only son of Henry Clitherow (d. 1608), a merchant, of the parish of St Andrew Undershaft, London, and his first wife, Bridget, the daughter of Thomas Hewett. He was presumably descended from Richard...

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J. S. Middleton

revised by Marc Brodie

Clynes, John Robert (1869–1949), trade unionist and politician, was born at Oldham, Lancashire, on 27 March 1869, the elder of two sons, and one of seven children of Patrick Clynes, an illiterate Irish farmworker, and his wife, Bridget Scanlan. His father had been evicted in 1851 and emigrated to ...

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Cobden, Richard (1804–1865), manufacturer and politician, was born on 3 June 1804 in a small farmhouse at Dunford near the village of Heyshott in Sussex, the fourth of eleven children of William Cobden (1775–1833) and his wife, Millicent, née Amber (1775–1825).