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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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Adam, George (fl. 1826–1828), journeyman carpenter and trade unionist, is a figure about whose personal life nothing is known. He became one of the leaders of a group of radical artisan trade unionists in London who campaigned for political reform, workers' education, and legislation in the interests of labour over strikes, wages, machinery, and free trade. The chief episode which brought them together was the agitation led by ...

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Adamson, William [Willie] (1863–1936), politician and trade unionist, was born at Halbeath, near Dunfermline in Fife, on 2 April 1863, the son of James Armstrong Adamson, a coalminer, and Flora Cunningham. He attended a dame-school run by the wife of a mining engineer, and left at the age of eleven to work in the mining industry, where he was employed for the next twenty-seven years. He married, on 25 February 1887, ...

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William Adamson (1863–1936) by Bassano, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allan, William (1813–1874), trade unionist, was born at Carrickfergus in Antrim, the son of a Scottish cotton-mill manager. His parents soon moved back to Scotland where at the age of twelve he began work as a cotton piecer, but then shifted to an engineering apprenticeship at ...

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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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Robert Applegarth (1834–1924) by unknown engraver, c. 1870 by permission of the People's History Museum

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Applegarth, Robert (1834–1924), trade unionist, was born in Kingston upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire on 26 January 1834, the son of Robert Applegarth, a master mariner who was engaged in the whaling trade, and his wife Diana née Brigham (1798/9-1854). He was baptized at the ...

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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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Ashton, Thomas (1841–1919), trade unionist, was born on 15 August 1841 at Lees Hall, Oldham, the son of William Ashton and his wife, Sally Mellor, both of whom were cotton workers. His parents were poor and, as his mother became seriously ill when he was still a baby, he spent much of his first five years with an aunt near ...

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Ashton, Thomas (1844–1927), trade unionist, was born on 23 March 1844 at Openshaw, Manchester, the son of John Ashton, a miner, and his wife, Betty (née Ogden). He began work in the mines at the age of twelve and emerged rapidly as an organizer. He married in 1865, and had two sons and four daughters. In the same year he was elected secretary of the ...

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Askwith, George Ranken, Baron Askwith (1861–1942), industrial arbitrator and civil servant, was born at Waltham Abbey, Essex, on 17 February 1861, the second but eldest surviving son of William Harrison Askwith (1811–1897), colonel (later general) in the Royal Artillery, and formerly superintendent of the royal gunpowder factories at ...

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George Ranken Askwith, Baron Askwith (1861–1942) by James Russell & Sons © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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 'by reading and asking questions'. He worked at home operating stocking-looms until he was sixteen, when he moved to ...

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Bader, Ernest (1890–1982), chemical manufacturer and industrial reformer, was born in Regensdorf, Switzerland, on 24 November 1890, the youngest of thirteen children of a protestant farmer, Gottlieb Bader, and his wife, Barbara Meier. He was expelled from school at the age of twelve and went to work as a menial in a ...

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Bain, James Thompson (1860–1919), trade unionist in South Africa, was born at Dudhope Crescent, Dundee, on 6 March 1860, the third child of Andrew Bain and his wife, Eliza, née Thomson. His parents were both mill workers. At the age of seven he started work in a factory. At sixteen he joined the ...

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Baker, Robert (1803–1880), surgeon and factory inspector, was born on 15 August 1803 in York, the second son of John Baker, druggist, of High Ousegate, York, and his wife, Hannah. His career shows many parallels with that of the better-known Charles Turner Thackrah...

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Ball, William (fl. 1911–1913), suffrage activist and trade unionist, came from a working-class family, possibly based in the midlands. Little is known of his early years apart from his paid work after leaving school. After working initially as a gardener, he became a master tailor with his own business, moving into unskilled work when this failed. In 1911–12 he was living in ...