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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, William (1828–1898), carpet manufacturer, was born on 10 June 1828 in Paisley, the eldest of five children and the only son of Peter Adam (c.1798–1861), hand-loom weaver, and his wife, Elisa.

Adam began his career in Paisley, working as a hand-loom cotton weaver and later as a warehouseman. On 16 June 1854 he married ...

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Akroyd, Edward (1810–1887), industrialist and philanthropist, was born on 28 November 1810 at Brockholes, near Brookhouse, Ovenden, Halifax, the eldest of the ten children of Jonathan Akroyd (1782–1847) and his wife, Sarah, daughter of David Wright of Ovenden. Educated locally by an Anglican clergyman and at the ...

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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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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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Bainbridge, Emerson Muschamp (1817–1892), department store owner, was born on 25 August 1817 in Eastgate, Weardale, co. Durham, the youngest child in the family of two sons and five daughters of Cuthbert Bainbridge (1772–1850), a farmer, and his wife, Mary Muschamp (1774–1850), the youngest child of ...

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Bainbridge, Emerson Muschamp (1845–1911), mining engineer and colliery owner, was born on 23 December 1845 in Portland Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, the third son and fourth child in the family of fifteen children (ten of whom survived childhood) of Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge (1817–1892)...

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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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See Barnsley family

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Bedford, John (1903–1980), department store manager, was born on 16 January 1903 at 26 Court 6 New John Street, west Birmingham, the only son of John Bedford and his wife, Rosalind Nicholls. His father was a journeyman brass-caster who established his own small brass foundry, money from which was to be used to enable his son to enter the legal profession. Unfortunately, the business failed and his son was required to start work. He did so in a ...

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Bennett, Peter Frederick Blaker, Baron Bennett (1880–1957), industrialist, was born on 16 April 1880 at Dartford, Kent, the eldest son of Frederick Charles Bennett, a carpenter, and his wife, Annie Eliza Blaker. When Bennett was twelve the family moved to Birmingham, where he was educated at ...

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Berisford, Charles (1830–1898), silk manufacturer, was born at Buglawton, Cheshire, the seventh of eleven children and fourth son of Isaac Berisford (1794–1854), toll-keeper turned farmer, and his wife, Alice, née Bonsall (1798–1860), formerly of Monyash. Charles started work when he was nine, presumably in textiles like his brothers. He was so small he had to stand on a stool to work. Later he was formally apprenticed, possibly to ...

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Bibby, Joseph (1851–1940), animal feed and soap manufacturer, was born on 12 January 1851 at Conder Mill, Vale of Conder, Lancashire, the second of the three sons of James Bibby, farmer and miller, and his wife, Amelia Barnett. He attended an elementary school until 1861 and the ...

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Bickford, William (bap. 1774, d. 1834), currier and inventor of the safety fuse, was baptized in Ashburton, Devon, on 23 January 1774, the son of William and Mary Beckford. He was in business as a currier, dressing and colouring tanned leather, first rather unsuccessfully in ...

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Jesse Boot, first Baron Trent (1850–1931) by unknown artist © reserved / The Boots Company plc

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Boot, Jesse, first Baron Trent (1850–1931), retail and manufacturing chemist, was born in Nottingham on 2 June 1850, the only son of John Boot (1815–1860), a medical herbalist newly arrived from the country, and his second wife, Mary, daughter of Benjamin Wills of ...