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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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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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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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Basnett, David, Baron Basnett (1924–1989), trade unionist, was born on 9 February 1924 at 1 Ivy Leigh, Liverpool, the son of Andrew Basnett, a collector with a gas company and regional secretary of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers (NUGMW), and his wife, ...

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Bell, Richard (1859–1930), trade union leader and politician, was born at Penderyn, Brecknockshire, on 29 November 1859, the son of Charles Bell, a quarryman, and his wife, Ann (née Thomas). As a young boy Bell was shocked by the death of his uncle, killed in a quarry accident while working alongside his father, who narrowly escaped injury in an attempt to rescue him. ...

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Bevin, Ernest (1881–1951), trade unionist and politician, was born at Winsford, Somerset, on 7 March 1881, the seventh child of Diana (known as Mercy) Bevin (1841–1889). His mother, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Tidbould, married William Bevin, an agricultural labourer, in 1864. In 1876 or 1877 ...

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Birch [formerly Catlin-Birch], Reginald (1914–1994), trade unionist and political activist, was born Reginald Catlin-Birch on 7 June 1914 at 4 Chichester Terrace, Kilburn, London, one of the five children of Charles Catlin-Birch (d. 1928), house painter and builder, and his wife, ...

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Bondfield, Margaret Grace (1873–1953), trade unionist, campaigner for women's interests, and politician, was born on 17 March 1873 at Chard, Somerset, the tenth of eleven children and third of four daughters of William Bondfield (1814–1901), foreman laceworker, and his wife, Anne Taylor (1827?–1911)...

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Braddock [née Bamber], Elizabeth Margaret [Bessie] (1899–1970), trade union activist and politician, was born at Zante Street, Liverpool, on 24 September 1899, the elder daughter of Hugh Bamber, bookbinder, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Andrew Little, an Edinburgh lawyer. Mary Bamber...

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Briginshaw, Richard William, Baron Briginshaw (1908–1992), trade union leader, was born on 15 May 1908 at 183 Mayall Road, Brixton, London, the first son of Richard Briginshaw, newspaper worker, and his wife, Alice Jubilee, née Coates. He was educated at Stuart School, Brixton...

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J. R. MacDonald

revised by Marc Brodie

Broadhurst, Henry (1840–1911), trade unionist and politician, was born at Littlemore, Oxfordshire, on 23 April 1840, the fourth son and youngest of the twelve children of Thomas Broadhurst (1799/1800–1866), stonemason, and his wife, Sarah, née Jessop (1799/1800–1880). He was educated at a village school near ...

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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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Brown, William John (1894–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 13 September 1894 in Battersea, London, the second son of Joseph Morris Brown, a plumber, and his wife, Rosina (Rose) Spicer. He attended the Salmestone elementary school, Margate, until the age of eleven, whereupon he won a scholarship to ...

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Buckton, Raymond William [Ray] (1922–1995), trade unionist, was born on 20 October 1922 in Rillington, near Malton, Yorkshire, the eldest of seven children of William Ernest Buckton, farm labourer, and his wife, Hannah Young. Although his father was a farm worker, Buckton was born into a railway family, and after attending ...

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Carron, William John, Baron Carron (1902–1969), trade unionist, was born on 19 November 1902 at 63 Williamson Street, Hull, the younger of two sons of John Carron and his wife, Frances Ann Richardson. His father, a corporation clerk who later became a carting contractor, was Irish and his mother came from ...

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Citrine, Walter McLennan, first Baron Citrine (1887–1983), trade unionist and public servant, was born on 22 August 1887 in Liverpool, the second of three sons and third of five children of Alfred Citrine (1852–1937), seaman, of Liverpool, and his wife, Isabella (b...

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J. S. Middleton

revised by Marc Brodie

Clynes, John Robert (1869–1949), trade unionist and politician, was born at Oldham, Lancashire, on 27 March 1869, the elder of two sons, and one of seven children of Patrick Clynes, an illiterate Irish farmworker, and his wife, Bridget Scanlan. His father had been evicted in 1851 and emigrated to ...

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Cook, Arthur James (1883–1931), trade unionist, was born on 22 November 1883 in Wookey, Somerset, the oldest of ten children of Thomas Cook, a soldier, and his wife, Selina. Selina's religious convictions were a formative influence on Cook's early life. At the age of twelve he began work near ...

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Cramp, Concemore Thomas Thwaites [Charlie] (1876–1933), trade unionist, was born on 19 March 1876 at Staplehurst in Kent, the son of Cedelia Jane Cramp. No father is indicated on the birth certificate. At the age of twelve, after leaving Staplehurst board school, he went to work in the gardens of a local squire and subsequently was employed in ...