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Sir Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1789–90 private collection; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792), inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer, was born on 23 December 1732 at Preston, Lancashire, the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Arkwright (1691–1753), a tailor, and his wife, Ellen Hodgkinson (1693–1778). The family was rooted in ...

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James Finlayson (1772?–?1852) by unknown artist © reserved

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Finlayson, James (1772?–1852?), engineer and cotton manufacturer, was probably born on 29 August 1772 in the parish of Penicuik, near Edinburgh. Of his early life in Scotland nothing is known, and it is in St Petersburg in Russia at the end of the eighteenth century that he first makes his appearance, as a master machinist at the ...

Article

G. S. Boulger

revised by Peter Osborne

Gourlie, William (1815–1856), calico printer and botanist, was born in Glasgow in March 1815, the son of William Gourlie, merchant, and his wife, Agnes (née Bankier). He was educated at the public school and university of Glasgow, studying botany under W. J. Hooker...

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Hall, Samuel (bap. 1782, d. 1863), cotton spinner and engineer, was baptized on 17 March 1782 at Basford, Nottinghamshire, the second son of Robert Hall (1754–1827), cotton manufacturer and bleacher, and his wife, Ann. Marshall Hall, the physiologist, was his younger brother. In 1813 ...

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Hobson, Edward (1782–1830), botanist and weaver, was born on 23 May 1782 in Ancoats Lane, Manchester. When he was three he was taken in by an uncle in Ashton under Lyne following his father's death and the subsequent alcoholism of his mother, while a younger brother remained in ...

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Horsefield, John (1792–1854), botanist and weaver, was born on 18 July 1792, probably at Besses o' th' Barn, near Prestwich, Lancashire, the eldest son of Charles Horsefield (b. 1764). Born 'dead', according to his mother, he was restored to life by a medical attendant but remained a sickly child unable to tolerate the staple ...

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John Mercer (1791–1866) by unknown photographer © Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford

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P. J. Hartog

revised by W. H. Brock

Mercer, John (1791–1866), calico printer and chemist, was born on 21 February 1791 at Dean, in the parish of Great Harwood, near Blackburn, Lancashire, the eldest of three children of Robert Mercer (d. 1800), a hand-loom weaver and farmer, and his wife, ...

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Strutt, Jedediah (1726–1797), inventor and cotton manufacturer, was born on 26 July 1726, at South Normanton, near Alfreton, Derbyshire, the second of the three sons of William Strutt, a small farmer and maltster, and his wife, Martha, the daughter of Joseph Statham, a yeoman. At the age of fourteen ...