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Aitken, William (1812?–1869), Chartist and factory reformer, was born in a barrack room near Dunbar, possibly on 2 June 1812, the youngest but one of nine children of Scottish parents, natives of Duns. His father, originally a cordwainer, served thirty years in the army and rose to the rank of sergeant-major. After leaving the army ...

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Aldis, Charles James Berridge (1808–1872), physician and public health reformer, and the eldest son of Sir Charles Aldis (1776–1863), surgeon, was born in London on 16 January 1808. He was educated at St Paul's School and matriculated from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1828; he graduated BA (1831), MB (1832), and MA (1834). ...

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Alex, (Edward) Ephraim (1800–1882), founder of the Jewish Board of Guardians, was born on 12 December 1800 in St Katherine in the City of London. He was the eldest surviving son of Solomon Alex, dentist, of 11 Finsbury Place, Finsbury, and 21 Jewry Street, Aldgate...

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Neil Arnott (1788–1874) by Smyth (after Jabez Hogg) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arnott, Neil (1788–1874), physician and public health reformer, the son of William Arnott, a manufacturer and farmer, and his wife, Ann Maclean, was born at Arbroath in Forfarshire, Scotland, on 15 May 1788. A Roman Catholic by upbringing, he was educated by his mother, at the parish school of ...

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Austin, Henry (1811/12–1861), civil engineer and sanitarian, was the son of William Austin, medical practitioner, of Bloomsbury Square, London. Two sisters and at least one brother survived to adulthood. Austin was a pupil of Robert Stephenson, with whom he worked on the London and Birmingham and London and Blackwall railways...

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Bader, Ernest (1890–1982), chemical manufacturer and industrial reformer, was born in Regensdorf, Switzerland, on 24 November 1890, the youngest of thirteen children of a protestant farmer, Gottlieb Bader, and his wife, Barbara Meier. He was expelled from school at the age of twelve and went to work as a menial in a ...

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Baker, Robert (1803–1880), surgeon and factory inspector, was born on 15 August 1803 in York, the second son of John Baker, druggist, of High Ousegate, York, and his wife, Hannah. His career shows many parallels with that of the better-known Charles Turner Thackrah...

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Balme, Matthew (1813–1884), factory reformer, was born in Tong, Yorkshire, on 8 July 1813, the third son of Francis Balme (bap. 1780, d. 1827), a yeoman farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth West (1783–1846), of Redhill Farm, Dudley Hill, Bradford...

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Becher, John Thomas (1770–1848), Church of England clergyman and poor-law reformer, was born in Cork, the son of Michael Becher. Educated at Westminster School, he proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where he was elected to a Westminster studentship in 1788. He graduated BA in 1792 and MA in 1795. He married on 6 January 1802 ...

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Birtwistle, Thomas (1833–1912), trade unionist and factory inspector, was born at Great Harwood, Lancashire, on 16 October 1833, the son of Jonathan Birtwistle, a calico printer, and Ann Birtwistle, a hand-loom weaver. Put to the hand-loom at the age of six, he became a power-loom weaver when he was fourteen and married a fellow weaver, ...

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Blain, Sir Herbert Edwin (1870–1942), safety campaigner and political agent, was born at 341 Upper Parliament Street, Liverpool, on 14 May 1870, the son of Arbuthnot Harrisson Blain (1830/31–1912), a chemist and druggist, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Stalker. He attended the Liverpool Technical School...

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Boaks, William George (1904–1986), road safety campaigner and parliamentary candidate, was born on 25 May 1904 at 104 Warner Road, Walthamstow, Essex, the son of William Robert Boaks, a vegetable salesman's cashier, and his wife, Annie Edith, née Palmer. Educated in elementary schools, he entered the ...

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See Borders [née Kreher], Elsie Florence Eva [Elsy]

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Bourne, William Sturges (1769–1845), politician and poor-law reformer, was born on 7 November 1769 as William Sturges, the only son of the Revd John Sturges DD (1736/7–1807), prebendary of Winchester, and his wife, Judith, daughter of Richard Bourne, of Acton Hall, Worcester. Educated first at a private school in ...

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Bradley, Humphrey (fl. 1584–1625), designer of land drainage systems, was possibly the son of John Bradley (fl. 1561–1568), concierge of the English trading house at Bergen op Zoom, Brabant, who was married to Anna van der Delft. He first appears in England...

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Buchanan, Sir George Seaton (1869–1936), expert in public health, was born in London on 19 February 1869, the elder son of Sir George Buchanan (1831–1895), and his second wife, Alice Mary Asmar, daughter of Edward Cator Seaton (1815–1880). He was educated in London...

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Buckley, Wilfred (1873–1933), promoter of clean milk and collector of antique glass, was born at 27 Wheeleys Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, on 13 June 1873, the second son and second of the four children of Henry Buckley (1838–1903), general merchant, and his wife, Caroline Therese (1847–1891)...

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Sir Henry Charles Burdett (1847–1920) by Bassano, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Burdett, Sir Henry Charles (1847–1920), philanthropist and hospital reformer, was born on 18 March 1847 at Broughton, Northamptonshire, the son of Halford Robert Burdett (1813–1864), a clergyman in the parish of Gilmorton, Leicestershire, and his wife, Alsina, née Brailsford, from Lincolnshire. The Burdett...