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Duncon, Samuel (1607–1680), haberdasher and pamphleteer, was the second son of John Duncon of Mendlesham, Suffolk; details of his place of birth and of his mother are unknown. In 1624 he was apprenticed to Edmund Kene, an Ipswich merchant and portman, or chief burgess. ...

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Jeyes, John (bap. 1817, d. 1892), chemical manufacturer, was baptized on 10 June 1817 at Wootton, near Northampton, the second son and third child of Philadelphus Jeyes (1780–1828), a retail pharmacist, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Ward, daughter of a local landowner. On his father's death, the family business in ...

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Jones, Henry James (1812–1891), inventor of self-raising flour, was born in Bristol and baptized there on 23 January 1813 at Broadmead Baptist Church, the youngest son of Robert Jones, a Bristol confectioner, and Hannah Jefferies. Members of the Jones family had been in the bakery and grocery business in ...

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Sir (Samuel) Morton Peto, first baronet (1809–1889) by Camille Silvy, 1861 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Peto, Sir (Samuel) Morton, first baronet (1809–1889), contractor for railways and public works, was born on 4 August 1809 at Whitmoor House, Woking, Surrey, the eldest son of William Peto (d. 1849) of Cookham, Berkshire, farmer, and his wife, Sophia, daughter of ...

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Robinson, Anthony (1762–1827), sugar refiner and writer, was born in July 1762 at Kirkland, near Wigton, in Cumberland, the youngest of three sons of John Robinson, a minor landholder. Intended for trade, he was educated at a grammar school in Wigton and apprenticed at ...

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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....