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Berni, Aldo (1909–1997), restaurateur, was born on 14 March 1909 in Bardi in northern Italy, the youngest of three sons of Louis Berni, the owner of the Louis Café in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire, which served meals consisting of soup, a joint, and two vegetables. ...

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Boland, Henry James [Harry] (1887–1922), tailor's cutter and Irish revolutionary, was born on 27 April 1887 at 6 Dalymount Terrace, Phibsborough Road, north Dublin, the third of five children of James Henry Boland (1856–1895), paving overseer for the Dublin corporation, and Catherine (...

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Boulestin, (Xavier) Marcel (1878–1943), restaurateur and writer on cookery, was born at Poitiers, France, where his mother, the daughter of a former lycée teacher, shared the house of his widowed maternal grandmother. Boulestin grew up and attended school in Poitiers, developing strong interests in music and the theatre. He visited his father, who maintained a largely separate existence, only for a month each summer, at the property that he owned at ...

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Carron, William John, Baron Carron (1902–1969), trade unionist, was born on 19 November 1902 at 63 Williamson Street, Hull, the younger of two sons of John Carron and his wife, Frances Ann Richardson. His father, a corporation clerk who later became a carting contractor, was Irish and his mother came from ...

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Crommelin, (Samuel-)Louis [Samuel-Lewis] (1652–1727), linen manufacturer, was born in May 1652 at Armandcourt, near St Quentin, Picardy, the son of Louis Crommelin and his wife, Mary (Marie), née Mettayer. The Crommelin family had long been landowners and flax growers in the region. Louis Crommelin...

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Curran, Peter Francis [formerly Patrick Francis] (1860–1910), trade unionist and politician, was born in Glasgow on 28 March 1860, the son of George Curran, a causey layer, and his wife, Bridget, née McGinty. He was named Patrick by his parents who were Irish Catholics, but became known as ...

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Escoffier, Georges Auguste (1846–1935), master chef and writer on cookery, was born on 28 October 1846 in Villeneuve-sur-Loup (later Villeneuve-Loubet), Alpes-Maritimes, 15 kilometres from Nice, the son of Jean Baptiste Escoffier (d. 1909), farmer and village blacksmith. At thirteen Auguste was apprenticed to his uncle ...

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Forte, Charles, Baron Forte (1908–2007), caterer and hotelier, was born on 26 November 1908 in the hamlet of Mortale, outside the village of Casalaticco, in an area of Italy known as the Ciociaria, the eldest son of Rocco Giovanni Forte and his wife, ...

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Hawley, John, the elder (c. 1350–1408), pirate, merchant, and administrator, of Dartmouth, Devon, was the younger son of the first John Hawley who settled in Dartmouth some time before 1340. Hawley was elected mayor for the first time in 1374—the beginning of a career which would make him the richest and most important man in ...

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Keyser, Sir Polydor de (1832–1898), hotelier and politician, was born on 12 December 1832 in rue de l'Église, Dendermonde, Belgium, the younger son of Joost Constant Fidel Armand de Keyser (b. 1801) and his wife, Catharina Rosalie, née Troch. Constant de Keyser...

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Larkin, James (1874–1947), labour leader in Ireland, was born on 4 February 1874 at 41 Combermere Street, Toxteth Park, Liverpool, the second of the six children of James Larkin (1845–1887), a forge labourer, and his wife, Mary Ann McNulty (1842–1911). His parents were part of that vast exodus from ...

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Mboya, Thomas Joseph (1930–1969), labour leader and politician in Kenya, was born at Kilima Mbogo, near Thika, north of Nairobi, on 15 August 1930, the eldest of the six children of Leunadus Ndiege, a sisal worker from Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, and his wife ...

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Myers, George (1803–1875), builder and craftsman, known as ‘Pugin's builder’, was born in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, the son of George Myers, whitesmith, (d. c.1823), and of his second wife, Mary Benson (d. 1845). Family details are vague, including the religious affiliation of his parents at the time of his birth. ...

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O'Grady, Sir James (1866–1934), trade unionist and politician, was born on 6 May 1866 in Bristol, the son of John O'Grady, a labourer, and his wife, Margaret. After an elementary education at St Mary's Roman Catholic School, he began work at the age of ten in a mineral water factory, the first of a series of menial occupations which ended when, at the age of fifteen, he obtained an apprenticeship in a cabinet-maker's workshop. Although this led to ...

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O'Neill, John (1778–1858), shoemaker and writer, was born in Waterford city, Ireland, on 8 January 1778, the second son of Thomas O'Neill (d. c.1810), a poor shoemaker, and his wife, Jane, née English (1756/7–c.1828). John O'Neill finished his formal schooling at the age of nine and was largely self-educated. He worked as a shoemaker in ...

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Plowden, Edwin Noel Auguste, Baron Plowden (1907–2001), industrialist and public servant, was born on 6 January 1907 at the Mansion House, Strachur, Argyll, the second of three sons and second of four children of Roger Herbert Plowden (1853–1921), banker and landed proprietor, and his second wife, ...

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Ritz, César Jean (1850–1918), hotelier, was born on 23 February 1850 at Niederwald, Switzerland, the son of Anton Ritz, a peasant farmer. At the age of twelve he was sent as a boarder to the Jesuit college at Sion, and at fifteen, having shown only vaguely artistic leanings, was apprenticed as a wine waiter at a hotel in ...

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Savage, Michael Joseph (1872–1940), trade unionist and prime minister of New Zealand, was born on 23 March 1872 at Tatong, near Benalla, Victoria, the eighth and youngest child of Richard Savage (1830–1908), a small farmer, and his wife, Johanna, née Hayes (1838–1878). His parents were Irish Catholics who had emigrated to ...

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Simon, André Louis (1877–1970), writer on wine and food, was born on 28 February 1877 in rue Taranne, in the sixth arrondissement of Paris, the second son and second child in the family of six sons and one daughter of Ernest Constant Simon (...

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Soyer, Alexis Benoît (1810–1858), chef, was born on 4 February 1810 at Meaux-en-Brie, near Paris, the youngest of three sons of Emery Roch Alexis Soyer, a shopkeeper, and his wife, Marie Madeleine Françoise, née Chamberlan; his parents were both thirty-one when he was born. He was sent to the local cathedral with the intention of becoming a priest, but he did not take to this vocation and, after ringing the cathedral bells at night, which brought out the town garrison and the fire brigade, he was expelled. In 1821 he joined his brother ...