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Aird, Sir John, first baronet (1833–1911), civil engineering contractor, was born on 3 December 1833 in Greenwich, the second son of eight children of John Aird (1800–1876), contractor, and Agnes (d. 1869), daughter of Charles Bennett of Lambeth. His grandfather Robert Aird...

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Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792), inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer, was born on 23 December 1732 at Preston, Lancashire, the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Arkwright (1691–1753), a tailor, and his wife, Ellen Hodgkinson (1693–1778). The family was rooted in ...

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Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...

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Belville, (Elizabeth) Ruth Naomi (1854–1943), horologist and merchant, was born on 5 March 1854 at 9 Hyde Vale Cottages, Greenwich, Kent, the only child of Belville, John Henry (1795?–1856), horologist and assistant astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and his third wife, ...

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Bird, Alfred (bap. 1811, d. 1878), chemist and food manufacturer, the fourth son of John Bird (1780–1846), astronomer and lecturer, and his wife, Mary, née Bland, was baptized at Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, on 25 August 1811. According to family tradition, he was the great-grandson of ...

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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 ...

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Brassey, Thomas (1805–1870), civil engineering contractor, was born on 7 November 1805 at Buerton, near Audlem, Cheshire, the son of John Brassey, landowner, and his wife, Elizabeth. He had two brothers and one sister. Brassey attended Mr Harting's school in Chester and then, at the age of sixteen, was apprenticed to a land surveyor and agent named ...

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Brotherton, Edward Allen, Baron Brotherton (1856–1930), chemical manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 1 April 1856 at 2 Tiverton Place, Ardwick Green, Manchester, the eldest of three children of Theophilus Brotherton, a yarn agent, and his wife, Sarah, née O'Donnell. His relatives included the educational reformer ...

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Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson, first baronet (1842–1919), chemical manufacturer and politician, was born on 8 February 1842 in Everton, Liverpool, the second of the three sons and the fourth of the five children of John Brunner, a Swiss protestant minister, who migrated to ...

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Cadman, John, first Baron Cadman (1877–1941), mining engineer and industrialist, was born on 7 September 1877 at The Villas, in the north Staffordshire mining village of Silverdale, the eldest son of James Cope Cadman (1851–1914) and his wife, Betty, née Keeling (d...

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Callard, Sir (Eric) John [Jack] (1913–1998), engineer and industrialist, was born on 15 March 1913 at 162 Union Street, Torquay, Devon, the son of Frank Callard, master baker and confectioner, and his wife, Ada Mary, née Fawkes. He had a brother and a sister, and the family lived over their father's shop. ...

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Crompton, Samuel (1753–1827), inventor of the spinning mule, was born at Firwood Fold, Tonge, near Bolton, Lancashire, on 3 December 1753, the eldest son of George Crompton (1726–1758) and Elizabeth Holt (1725–1799) of nearby Turton. Firwood Farm had been held by Cromptons since Tudor times; ...

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Cubitt, Sir William (1785–1861), civil engineer and millwright, was born at Dilham, Norfolk, the son of Joseph Cubitt, miller, and his wife, Hannah, née Lubbock. He was educated at Dilham village school, and also had access to the libraries of two local clergymen, ...

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Deacon, Henry (1822–1876), chemist and manufacturer, was born on 30 July 1822 in London, the elder son of Henry Deacon, merchant, and his wife and cousin, Esther Deacon. The Deacons belonged to the Sandemanian church, whose most famous member, Michael Faraday, took an interest in their son. When he was fourteen ...

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Dowty, Sir George Herbert (1901–1975), aeronautical engineer and industrialist, was born on 27 April 1901 at Pershore, Worcestershire, the son of William Dowty, a druggist and chemist in Pershore, and his wife, Laura Masters. He was the elder of twin boys by half an hour and the seventh son in the family. The twins were educated in a small private school in ...

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Duncan, John (1794–1881), hand-loom weaver and botanist, was born on 19 December 1794 at Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, the illegitimate son of John Duncan, weaver and soldier, from Drumlithie, and Ann Caird (c.1773–c.1830), also of Drumlithie, who decided to support herself and her child by weaving stockings and harvesting at nearby ...

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Edward, Thomas (1814–1886), naturalist and shoemaker, was born on 25 December 1814 at Gosport, Hampshire, one of several children of John Edward, Fife militiaman and weaver, and Margaret Mitchell of Aberdeen. His early years were spent at Kettle, Fife, and at Aberdeen. From childhood he was passionately fond of animals, bringing home so many ‘beasties’ that he was frequently flogged and confined to the house. Utterly unmanageable, by the age of six he had been expelled from three schools because of his zoological pursuits and truancy. Abandoning school, he found employment at ...

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Ellis, Sir William Henry (1860–1945), civil engineer and iron and steel manufacturer, was born at Thurnscoe Hall, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, on 20 August 1860. He was fourth of five sons and one daughter of John Devonshire Ellis (1824–1906), a founding partner of John Brown & Co....

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Falk, Herman Eugene (1820–1898), salt manufacturer, was born on 20 November 1820 in Danzig, the fourth of five children of David Wilhelm Falk (1773–1848), merchant, and his second wife, Julianne Rickert. His parents were both German, though his grandfather, he claimed, was English. In 1839 ...

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Finlayson, James (1772?–1852?), engineer and cotton manufacturer, was probably born on 29 August 1772 in the parish of Penicuik, near Edinburgh. Of his early life in Scotland nothing is known, and it is in St Petersburg in Russia at the end of the eighteenth century that he first makes his appearance, as a master machinist at the ...