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Abel, Robert [Bobby] (1857–1936), cricketer, was born at 18 Commercial Street, Rotherhithe, London, on 30 November 1857, the son of Thomas Abel (b. c.1815), a lamplighter, and his wife, Elizabeth Highland (b. 1816). After attending school in Southwark and playing cricket for ...

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Charles William Alcock (1842–1907) by James Russell & Sons Marylebone Cricket Club Photo Library

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Alcock, Charles William (1842–1907), sports administrator and writer, was born on 2 December 1842 at 10 Norfolk Street, Sunderland, the second child of six sons and three daughters of Charles Alcock (d. 1881), a shipowner and later a shipbroker and insurance broker, and his wife, ...

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Alexander, William Whiteway (1852–1933), athletics administrator, was born on 3 December 1852 at Park Hill Farm, Andover, Hampshire, the younger son of James Whiteway Alexander (b. 1821/2), who later became an inn-keeper. Most of his boyhood was spent on the Isle of Wight...

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Altham, Harry Surtees (1888–1965), schoolmaster and cricket historian, was born at 8 The Terrace, York Town, Frimley, Surrey, on 30 November 1888, the younger son of Sir Edward Altham Altham (1856–1943), army officer, and his wife, Georgina Emily (1855–1945), daughter of W. Macpherson Nicol...

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Anderdon, John Lavicount (1792–1874), writer on angling and devotional subjects, was born in Bristol on 5 April 1792, the third son of John Proctor Anderdon and his wife, Anne, née Oliver. After some time at the Ealing preparatory school of Dr Nicholas he attended ...

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Anthoine, Julian Vincent [Mo] (1939–1989), mountaineer, was born at 249 Marlpool Lane, Kidderminster, Worcestershire, on 1 August 1939, the second of two children of Joseph Franklin Anthoine (1907–1972), carpet designer, and his first wife, Enid May Smith (1899–1944). He was educated at Bennett Street primary school...

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Charles James Apperley [Nimrod] (1778–1843) by Edward Francis Finden, pubd 1837 (after Daniel Maclise) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Apperley, Charles James [pseud. Nimrod] (1778–1843), writer on sport, was born on 22 July 1778 at Plasgronow, near Wrexham, Denbighshire, the second son and the fourth of eight children of Thomas Apperley (1730–1814) and his wife, Anne, daughter of the Welsh poet the ...

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Ashton, Eric (1935–2008), rugby league player, was born on 24 January 1935 at 87 Mulberry Avenue, St Helens, Lancashire, the only son of Ernest Ashton, a glassworks labourer, and his wife, Sarah, née Dixon. He attended Rivington Road high school in St Helens...

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Sir John Dugdale Astley, third baronet (1828–1894) by Franz Baum, in or after 1887 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Seccombe

revised by Julian Lock

Astley, Sir John Dugdale, third baronet (1828–1894), sportsman, a descendant of Thomas de Astley, who was slain at Evesham in 1265, and of Jacob Astley, Lord Astley, was the eldest son of Sir Francis Dugdale Astley, second baronet (1805–1873), of Everleigh, near Marlborough...

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Barrington, Kenneth Frank [Ken] (1930–1981), cricketer, was born on 24 November 1930 in Reading, the eldest of the three sons and four daughters of Percy Barrington, a regular soldier, and his wife, Winifred Lambden. His early experience of poverty shaped his life, for cricket, his abiding passion, also became his passport to better times. After attending ...

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Beauclerk, Lord Frederick de Vere (1773–1850), cricketer, was born on 8 May 1773 in the parish of St George, Hanover Square, London. He was the fourth child and youngest son of the seven children of Aubrey Beauclerk, fifth duke of St Albans (1740–1802)...

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Peter Beckford (1739/4040–1811) by Pompeo Batoni, 1766 Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

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Beckford, Peter (1739/40–1811), dog breeder and writer on hunting, was the son of Julines Beckford (1717?–1764) of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset, and Elizabeth, daughter of Solomon Ashley or Ashby, of Northamptonshire. His grandfather was Peter Beckford (bap. 1643, d. 1710), sugar planter and lieutenant-governor of ...

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Bentinck, Lord Henry William Cavendish-Scott- [known as Lord Henry Bentinck] (1804–1870), sportsman and politician, was born on 9 June 1804, the fourth son of William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, the fourth duke of Portland (1768–1854), and his wife, Henrietta (d. 1844), elder daughter and coheir of ...

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Lord (William) George Frederic Cavendish-Scott- Bentinck (1802–1848) by Samuel Lane, c. 1836 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentinck, Lord (William) George Frederic Cavendish-Scott- [known as Lord George Bentinck] (1802–1848), politician and sportsman, was born on 27 February 1802 at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, the fifth child and second surviving son of William Henry Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, fourth duke of Portland (1768–1854), and his wife, ...

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Bentley, John James (1860–1918), journalist and football administrator, was born at Chapel Town, Turton, Lancashire, on 14 June 1860, the third of four sons of John Bentley, a grocer, and his wife, Ann Beavan. Turton was only a small village but what may have been the first football club in ...