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Joseph Arch (1826–1919) by Barraud, c. 1890 Getty Images – Barraud

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Arch, Joseph (1826–1919), trade unionist and politician, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, on 10 November 1826, the son of John Arch (b. c.1793), a shepherd, and Hannah Pace (c.1783–1845). Before her marriage his mother worked as a domestic servant in ...

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Aucott, William (1830–1915), trade unionist, was born at Hinckley, Leicestershire, on 20 July 1830, the son of a barber who was a Chartist and a Methodist. He never went to school but he could read by the age of seven and thereafter educated himself '...

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Maker: John Cochran

Joseph Barker (1806–1875) by John Cochran, pubd 1880 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Bolton, Sir John Brown (1902–1980), politician in the Isle of Man and accountant, was born on 20 January 1902 in Methwold, Norfolk, the eldest of four sons of the Revd Richard Bolton (1867–1951), Primitive Methodist minister, and his wife, Charlotte, née Brown (1865–1962)...

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Hugh Bourne (1772–1852) by Watson Smith, c.1827 Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum

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Bourne, Hugh (1772–1852), founder of the Primitive Methodist church, son of Joseph Bourne, farmer and wheelwright, and his wife, Ellen Steele, was born at Fordhays Farm, in the parish of Stoke-on-Trent on 3 April 1772, and, after some education at nearby Werrington and ...

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Bowes, John (1804–1874), preacher and author, was born on 12 June 1804 in Swineside, Coverham parish, Yorkshire, the son of a farmer. Bowes joined the Wesleyan Methodists in 1817 but, while working for a brewer in Leyburn, he transferred to the Primitive Methodists because of their revivalist successes, becoming a circuit preacher in 1822. He married ...

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Buchanan, James (1784–1857), headmaster, was born in Edinburgh on 10 March 1784. Nothing is known of his ancestry or early life. He married twice. With his first wife, whose name is not known, he had a son, William. He married his second wife, ...

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Bunting, John (1839–1923), sharebroker and cotton spinner, was born on 28 December 1839 at Carrington Field, Stockport, the son of John Bunting (1806–1853), a brick maker, and his wife, Kerenhappuch, née Hill. He grew up in the new railway town of Crewe, attended a private school in the village of ...

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John Clare (1793–1864) by William Hilton, 1820 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Clare, John (1793–1864), poet, farm labourer, and naturalist, was born on 13 July 1793 in West Street, Helpston, Northamptonshire, the son of Parker Clare (1765–1846), a thresher and local wrestler, known as 'the lame man of Helpstone', and his wife, Ann (1757–1835)...

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William Clowes (1780–1851) by Samuel Freeman, pubd 1854 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Clowes, William (1780–1851), a founder of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, the son of Samuel Clowes, potter, and Ann, daughter of Aaron Wedgwood (a member of the illustrious ceramics family), was born at Burslem, Staffordshire, on 12 March 1780, and employed during his early years as a potter. He was considered one of the finest dancers in his neighbourhood and for many years led a dissipated life, but on 20 January 1805 he was converted during a prayer meeting. He soon established a prayer meeting in his own house, became the leader of a Wesleyan Methodist class, and joined a society which endeavoured to promote the keeping of the sabbath. He was one of the attendants at the first camp meeting ever held in ...

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Cook, Sir Joseph (1860–1947), prime minister of Australia, was born on 7 December 1860 at Silverdale, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the eldest son of William Cooke, coalminer, and his wife, Margaret Fletcher. His childhood was spent in poverty and hard work. He first worked as a pit boy at the age of nine, and after his father died in 1873, he became the principal wage-earner of the family. Devoted to self-improvement, he studied during his lunch breaks and at night, developing the discipline, self-confidence, and endurance that were to last throughout his life. He became a lay preacher in the ...

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Crawford, William (1833–1890), trade unionist and politician, was born at Whitley in Northumberland, the son of William Crawford, a miner. Little is known of his early years, except that he suffered a serious injury when sent to work in the pits at about the age of ten. Doctors wanted to amputate his leg but his father refused. He was able to attend ...

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Arthur Deakin (1890–1955) by Bassano, 1947 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Deakin, Arthur (1890–1955), trade unionist, was born at Holland Street, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, on 11 November 1890, the son of a domestic servant, Annie Deakin. His birth certificate did not record the name of his father. At the age of ten he moved with his mother and stepfather to ...

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Edwards, Enoch (1852–1912), trade union leader and politician, was born on 10 April 1852 in the north Staffordshire coal-mining village of Talk-o'-the-Hill, the eldest son of James Edwards, a coal-miner, and his wife, Eliza Boulton. Little is known about his private life except that he married ...