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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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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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John Bromley (1876–1945) by Walter Stoneman, 1930 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bromley, John (1876–1945), trade unionist, was born on 16 July 1876 at Haston Grove, Hadnall, Shropshire, the son of Charles Alfred Bromley, a dyer, and his wife, Martha Helen, née Wellings. He attended the local board school, followed by an upper grade church school until he was twelve. Straitened home circumstances then compelled him to work part-time, first as a country postboy at ...

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Concannon, John Dennis [Don] (1930–2003), politician, was born on 16 May 1930 at 6 Aberconway Crescent, Rossington, near Doncaster, Yorkshire, the son of James Dennis Concannon, miner, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, née Spencer. He was educated at Rossington secondary school and subsequently at ...

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Edwards, (Allen) Clement (1869–1938), trade unionist, barrister, and journalist, was born on 7 June 1869 in Knighton, Radnorshire, the third of seven children born to George Benjamin Edwards, auctioneer, master tailor, and draper, and Sarah Ellen (née Tudge). Both parents came from farming, nonconformist, and radical families in the border areas. ...

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Golding, John (1931–1999), politician and trade union leader, was born at 112 Fernley Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham, on 9 March 1931, the only son and fourth among the five children of Peter John Macgregor Golding, chef, and his wife, (Marjorie) Eileen Lycett. Golding claimed that his work was inspired by experiences in childhood; at the age of ten he was hit by a bus and, having been refused an anaesthetic because it cost ...

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Thomas Ryder Johnson (1872–1963) by Keogh Brothers courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

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Johnson, Thomas Ryder (1872–1963), trade unionist and politician, was born on 17 May 1872 at 10 South Hunter Street, off Maryland Street, Liverpool, the only child of Thomas Johnson, foreman sailmaker, and his wife, Margaret Boardman. His parents were both English. Although his father was Anglican by upbringing, ...

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Kendall, George (1808/9–1886), Chartist and trade unionist, was baptized in the village of Hoton on the Hill near Loughborough on 26 July 1811, the son of George and Sarah Kendall. Starting work in the local hosiery industry at the age of five years, he moved to ...

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Maker: unknown photographer

Thomas Mann (1856–1941) by unknown photographer, c. 1880 Getty Images

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Mann, Thomas [Tom] (1856–1941), trade unionist, socialist, and communist, was born at Bell Green, Foleshill, Coventry, on 15 April 1856, the third surviving child and second son of Thomas Mann, a bookkeeper at the Victoria colliery, and his wife, Mary Anne, née Grant (1821–1858)...

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James Henry Thomas (1874–1949) by Walter Stoneman, 1924 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas, James Henry [Jim, Jimmy] (1874–1949), trade unionist and politician, was born on 3 October 1874 at Newport, Monmouthshire, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Thomas, a domestic servant, and was brought up in poverty by his grandmother, Ann Thomas, a widowed washerwoman. He attended St Paul's elementary school, working part-time as a shop errand boy from the age of nine, and, after leaving school at the age of twelve, had various jobs in shops and as a decorator....

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A. E. Watkin

revised by Marc Brodie

Walsh, Stephen (1859–1929), trade unionist and politician, was born at Kirkdale, Liverpool, on 26 August 1859. His parents were of Irish descent. His father, John Walsh, died before his son's birth. His mother died while he was still an infant. Walsh was admitted as a foundling to the ...

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Williamson, Thomas, Baron Williamson (1897–1983), trade unionist, was born at 5 Napier Street, St Helens, Lancashire, on 2 September 1897, the eldest son in the family of two sons and five daughters of James Williamson (1872–1952), glass-blower, and his wife, Selina Ashby (...