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Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.

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Airey, Sir Lawrence (1926–2001), civil servant, was born on 10 March 1926 at 44 Collingwood Road, Haverton Hill, Billingham, co. Durham, the only child of Lawrence Clark Airey (1897–1929), a metallurgist at a steelworks, and Isabella Marshall Pearson (1890–1967), who was before her marriage a bookkeeper. His father died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his mother, who ran a boarding-house, and encouraged his education. He attended the ...

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Allen, Dave [real name David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony] (1936–2005), comedian, was born on 6 July 1936 at Merrion House, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, the youngest of three sons of (Gerard John) Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony (b. 1900), journalist and managing editor of the ...

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Anderson, John (1893–1962), philosopher and social critic, was born in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, 30 miles south-west of Glasgow, on 1 November 1893, the third of the five children of a radical schoolmaster, Alexander Anderson (1863–1947), and his wife, Elizabeth Brown (d. 1942), teacher, pianist, and poet....

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Anrep, Boris Vasilyevich, Count Elmpt in the nobility of the Holy Roman empire (1883–1969), mosaicist, came of a noble Russian family. He was born on 28 September 1883 in St Petersburg, the son of Vasily Konstantinovich von Anrep (1852–1927), a doctor who became the minister of education for ...

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Archer, William (1856–1924), theatre critic and journalist, was born at 6 North Methven Street, Perth, Scotland, on 23 September 1856, the eldest son of the nine children of Thomas Archer (1823–1905) of Glasgow and his wife, Grace Lindsay Morison (1832–1911), the daughter of ...

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Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967), prime minister, was born on 3 January 1883 at Westcott, 18 Portinscale Road, Putney, London, the seventh of the eight children of Henry Attlee (1841–1908), solicitor, and his wife, Ellen (1847–1920), daughter of Thomas Watson of ...

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Austin, John Langshaw (1911–1960), philosopher, was born in Lancaster on 26 March 1911, the second son of the five children of Geoffrey Langshaw Austin (1884–1971), architect, and his wife, Mary Bowes-Wilson (1883–1948). After the First World War his parents moved to St Andrews...

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Ayrton, William Edward (1847–1908), electrical engineer and physicist, was born in London on 14 September 1847 to the accomplished barrister and linguist Edward Nugent Ayrton (1815–1873), and his wife, thereby joining a family long connected with law and music, and traditionally supportive of women's rights. ...

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Bacon, Francis (1909–1992), painter, was born on 28 October 1909 at 63 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin, the second of five children of English parents, Edward Anthony Mortimer Bacon, army officer, and his wife, Christina Winifred Firth. Bacon's father moved his family to Westbourne Terrace, London...

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Banks, Iain (1954–2013), author and composer, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 16 February 1954, the only surviving child (he had a sister who died at six weeks) of Thomas Menzies (Tom) Banks (1918–2009), an Admiralty officer at the Rosyth naval base, and his wife, ...

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Barker, Joseph (1806–1875), Methodist minister and politico-religious controversialist, was born on 11 May 1806 at Bramley, near Leeds. His ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled in this area for several generations as farmers and manufacturers. The identity of his parents has not been discovered, though it is known that his father was employed in woollen manufacture and served for some time in the militia, and that ...

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Beecham, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1879–1961), conductor, was born on 29 April 1879 in Westfield Street, St Helens, Lancashire, the elder son and second child of Sir Joseph Beecham, first baronet (1848–1916), manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Josephine Burnett, née Dickins (1850–1934). The family's prosperity began with ...

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Beeson, Paul Bruce (1908–2006), physician, was born at 112 South Sixth Street, Livingston, Montana, USA, on 18 October 1908, the second son of John Bradley Beeson (1872–1969), surgeon and general practitioner, and his wife, Martha Gerard, née Ash (1878–1969), schoolteacher, and daughter of ...

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Bell, (Arthur) Clive Heward (1881–1964), art critic and writer, was born on 16 September 1881 at East Shefford, Berkshire, the second son of William Heward Bell (1849–1927), civil engineer, and his wife, Hannah Taylor Cory (1850–1942). In the words of his son Quentin...

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Bernal, (John) Desmond (1901–1971), physicist, was born on 10 May 1901 at Brookswatson, Nenagh, co. Tipperary, eldest of the three sons and two daughters of Samuel George Bernal, a farmer of Limerick, and his wife, Elizabeth Miller, elder daughter of the Presbyterian minister in ...

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Besse, Antonin (1877–1951), entrepreneur and benefactor, was born on 26 June 1877 at Carcassonne in southern France, the third son and fourth child in the family of four boys and three girls of Pierre Besse, leather merchant, and his wife, Marie Bonnafous. In failing health ...

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Birch [formerly Catlin-Birch], Reginald (1914–1994), trade unionist and political activist, was born Reginald Catlin-Birch on 7 June 1914 at 4 Chichester Terrace, Kilburn, London, one of the five children of Charles Catlin-Birch (d. 1928), house painter and builder, and his wife, ...

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Blackett, Patrick Maynard Stuart, Baron Blackett (1897–1974), physicist and government and military adviser, was born on 18 November 1897 at Kensington, London, the only son and the second of three children of Arthur Stuart Blackett (1865–1922), stockbroker, and his wife, Caroline Frances (1868–1954)...

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Blaug, Mark (1927–2011), economist and historian of economics, was born Norbert Blauaug on 3 April 1927 in The Hague, Netherlands, the second son of Berl Blauaug (later Bernard Blaug), raincoat manufacturer, and his wife, Sarah, née Toeman. His father had Austro-Hungarian nationality and his mother was English. They were a Jewish family but ...