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William Abraham [Mabon] (1842–1922) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1901 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Abraham, William [pseud. Mabon] (1842–1922), trade unionist and politician, was born at Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Glamorgan, on 14 June 1842, the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Abraham. His father, a coalminer and copper smelter, soon died, leaving his mother to raise a large family. ...

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Ammon, Charles George, Baron Ammon (1873–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 22 April 1873 into a poor working-class family in White Street, Southwark, London. He was the eldest child of Charles George Ammon (d. 1887), cutler and toolmaker, and Mary Kempley (1851–1900)...

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

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Alfred Baldwin (1841–1908) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baldwin, Alfred (1841–1908), industrialist and politician, was born at Stourport, Worcestershire, on 4 June 1841, the youngest of twelve children of George Pearce Baldwin (1789–1840), a small-scale iron founder and businessman, and his second wife, Sarah Chalkley Stanley (1801–1874), the eldest daughter of the ...

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Henry Broadhurst (1840–1911) by Olive Edis © National Portrait Gallery, London

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J. R. MacDonald

revised by Marc Brodie

Broadhurst, Henry (1840–1911), trade unionist and politician, was born at Littlemore, Oxfordshire, on 23 April 1840, the fourth son and youngest of the twelve children of Thomas Broadhurst (1799/1800–1866), stonemason, and his wife, Sarah, née Jessop (1799/1800–1880). He was educated at a village school near ...

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William John Brown (1894–1960) by Howard Coster, 1934 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brown, William John (1894–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 13 September 1894 in Battersea, London, the second son of Joseph Morris Brown, a plumber, and his wife, Rosina (Rose) Spicer. He attended the Salmestone elementary school, Margate, until the age of eleven, whereupon he won a scholarship to ...

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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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Davies, David (1818–1890), industrialist and politician, was born at Drain-Tewion, Llandinam, Montgomeryshire, on 18 December 1818, the eldest of the nine children of David Davies (d. 1846), farmer and timber sawyer, and his wife, Elizabeth (probably née Felix). He left the village school at the age of eleven, and helped his father in farming and sawing timber; in later life he sometimes boasted that he was always ‘top sawyer’. When his father died in 1846 he had to support the family, but his career took a dramatic new turn when he was asked to undertake a contract to build a bridge over the ...

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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 ...

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Sir George Edwards (1850–1933) by Claude Harris © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edwards, Sir George (1850–1933), trade unionist and politician, was born on 5 March 1850 at Marsham in Norfolk, the son of Thomas Edwards and his wife, Mary. His father, a discharged soldier, was a bullock feeder and his mother a handloom weaver. He was the youngest of four children of his mother's second marriage. He had two older brothers and a sister, and three stepbrothers, who did not live with the family....

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Fenwick, Charles (1850–1918), trade union leader and politician, was born on 5 May 1850, the son of John Fenwick, a miner, in a colliery house at Paradise Row, Cramlington, Northumberland. Although he spent some time at the village school, his considerable education was primarily the result of his own efforts. In later life, he cited ...

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Fielden, John (1784–1849), industrialist and politician, was born on 17 January 1784 at home at Laneside, Todmorden, Lancashire, the third of the eight children of Joshua Fielden (1748–1811), tenant farmer and clothier, and his wife, Jennifer (Jenny) Greenwood (1749–1825). He had no formal schooling. From a very early age he worked in his father's spinning mills and accompanied him on weekly trips to ...

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Gill, Alfred Henry (1856–1914), trade union leader and politician, was born on 3 December 1856 at 36 Oldham Road, Rochdale, the son of John Gill, a cotton spinner, and his wife, Mary Stott. He received an elementary education, curtailed from the age of ten when he was employed as a half-timer in a local cotton mill; full-time work began at thirteen. On 4 January 1876 he married ...

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Gooch, Edwin George (1889–1964), politician and trade unionist, was born in Fairland Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, on 15 January 1889, the youngest son in the family of at least five sons and three daughters of Simon Gooch (1843–1912), a master blacksmith and 'an ardent Liberal' in politics, and his wife, ...