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Robert Norman William Blake, Baron Blake (1916–2003) by Deborah Elliott, 1984 © Deborah Elliott; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blake, Robert Norman William, Baron Blake (1916–2003), historian and college head, was born at Brundall, Norfolk, on 23 December 1916, the elder son of William Joseph Blake, schoolmaster, and his wife, Norah Lindley, née Daynes, the daughter of a leading Norwich solicitor. He was born two weeks after ...

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Oscar Browning (1837–1923) by Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta, 1900 by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge

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Browning, Oscar (1837–1923), teacher and historian, was born on 17 January 1837 at 8 Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London, third son of William Shipton Browning (d. 1853), distiller, of Smithfield, and his wife, Mariana Margaret (1799–1889), daughter of Thomas Bridge (1772–1858), captain in the ...

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Vivian Hubert Howard Green (1915–2005) by unknown photographer reproduced by kind permission of the Rector and Fellows of Lincoln College, Oxford

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Green, Vivian Hubert Howard (1915–2005), Church of England clergyman, historian, and college head, was born on 18 November 1915 at 101 Thurlby Road, Wembley, Middlesex, the only child of Hubert James Green, law stationer's clerk, and son of a Hampstead master tailor, and his wife, ...

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Northcote, James Spencer (1821–1907), college head and historian, born at Feniton Court, near Honiton, Devon, on 26 May 1821, was the second son in the family of two sons and four daughters of George Barons Northcote (1796–1875), landowner, of Feniton Court and his wife, ...

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Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861–1922) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Raleigh, Sir Walter Alexander (1861–1922), literary scholar and historian, was born on 5 September 1861 at 4 Highbury Quadrant, London, the fifth child and only son of Alexander Raleigh (1817–1880), then Congregational minister of Hare Court Chapel, Canonbury, London, and his wife, Mary Darling...

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John Morris Roberts (1928–2003) by Deborah Elliott, 1985 © Deborah Elliott; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Roberts, John Morris (1928–2003), historian, was born on 14 April 1928 at 35 Longfellow Avenue, Bath, the only child of Edward Henry Roberts, ironmonger, and his wife, Dorothy Julia, née Hallett. Educated at Taunton School, he went to Keble College, Oxford, with a scholarship. He graduated in 1948 with a first in modern history followed by national service in the ...

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Shields, Cuthbert [formerly Robert Laing] (1840–1908), historian and eccentric, was born on 21 March 1840 in George Street, North Shields, Northumberland, the first child of Robert Laing, master mariner, and his wife, Charlotte Sophia, daughter of Dr Charles Coleman of Maidstone, Kent...

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Arthur Lionel Smith (1850–1924) by Francis Dodd, 1915 © Estate of Francis Dodd; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Smith, Arthur Lionel (1850–1924), historian and college head, was born in London on 4 December 1850, the second son of William Henry Smith, a civil engineer, and his wife, Alice Elizabeth, daughter of the painter Jacob Strutt. Smith's father died young, leaving the family badly off. The widow sent her first son to sea, got ...

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Venn, John Archibald (1883–1958), historian and college head, was born at Cambridge on 10 November 1883, the only child of John Venn (1834–1923) of Gonville and Caius College and his wife, Susanna Carnegie, née Edmonstone. He was educated at Eastbourne College, admitted at ...