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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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Barratt, Sir Lawrence Arthur [Lawrie] (1927–2012), house builder, was born on 14 November 1927 at Eskville, Warrington Road, Fawdon, Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of William Arthur Barratt (1893–1971), an electrical engineer on the municipal trams, and his wife, Florence Mary, née Jagger (1900–1987)...

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Black, Sir Cyril Wilson (1902–1991), property developer and politician, was born on 8 April 1902 at 11 Langham Mansions, Kensington, London, one of four sons (three surviving) and two daughters of Robert Wilson Black (1871–1951), property developer, of 11 Langham Mansions, and his wife, ...

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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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Bucknell, Robert Barraby [Barry] (1912–2003), television presenter, was born at 61 King Henry's Road, Hampstead, London, on 26 January 1912, the elder son and eldest of four children of Arthur Thomas Bucknell, surveyor and valuer, and his wife, Dora Isabel, née Bromby. He was educated at ...

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Crapper, Thomas (bap. 1836, d. 1910), plumber, was born at Thorne, Yorkshire, and baptized on 28 September 1836 at St Nicholas's Church, Thorne, the fourth of five sons of Charles Crapper, steamboat captain, and his wife, Sarah. The claim that, aged eleven, he walked the ...

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Foley family (per. c. 1620–1716), ironmasters and government contractors, traces its origins to Richard [ii] Foley (1579/80–1657), baptized on 28 March 1580 at Dudley, Worcestershire. His father, Richard [i] Foley, was a nailer, an occupation which at this date provided a decent living and in which ...

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Gimson, Ernest William (1864–1919), craftsman and architect, was born in Leicester on 21 December 1864, the fourth child and second son in the family of three sons and four daughters of Josiah Gimson (1818–1883), iron-founder, engineer, and industrial entrepreneur, who established the Vulcan works...

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Griffiths, Sir John Norton-, first baronet (1871–1930), public works contractor, was born on 13 July 1871, at Williton, Somerset, son of John Griffiths (1825–1891), builder, and his wife, Juliet Avery (1831–1926). He was educated at Colet Court, Kensington, and Latymer School, Edmonton. At fifteen he was articled to an architect but soon enlisted in the ...

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Innes, John (1829–1904), property developer, and philanthropist, was born on 20 January 1829 in Hampstead, Middlesex, and baptized on 23 February 1829 at All Souls, St Marylebone, the sixth of seven known children of John Innes (1786–1869), a West Indies merchant of Mincing Lane...

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Laing, Sir John William (1879–1978), builder and civil engineering contractor, was born on 24 September 1879 at 21 Newcastle Street, Carlisle, the third but only surviving son of John Laing (1842–1924) and his wife, Sarah, née Wood (1845–1924). His father was the son of ...

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Madocks, William Alexander (1773–1828), property developer and politician, born in London on 17 June 1773, was the third son of John Madocks of St Andrew's, Holborn, and of Fron Yw in Denbighshire, an eminent chancery barrister, who was MP for the borough of ...

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McAdam, John Loudon (1756–1836), builder and administrator of roads, was born in the west-coast town of Ayr, at 22 Sandgate, on 21 September 1756, the youngest child and second son of James McAdam of Waterhead (c.1718–1770), and his wife, Susannah Cochrane (...

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McAlpine family (per. c. 1870–1967), civil engineering contractors, came to prominence with Sir Robert McAlpine first baronet (1847–1934). He was born on 13 February 1847 in Newarthill, Lanarkshire, the second of four children and elder son of Robert McAlpine (1816–1853), a colliery manager, and ...

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Myers, George (1803–1875), builder and craftsman, known as ‘Pugin's builder’, was born in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, the son of George Myers, whitesmith, (d. c.1823), and of his second wife, Mary Benson (d. 1845). Family details are vague, including the religious affiliation of his parents at the time of his birth. ...

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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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Rayne, Max, Baron Rayne (1918–2003), property developer and philanthropist, was born Max Rubenstein on 8 February 1918, at 102 City Road, St Lukes, Holborn, London, the son of Phillip Rubenstein (1894–1979), who later took the surname of Rayne, a mantle manufacturer in Half Moon Passage, Aldgate...

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William Gee

revised by Frank A. J. L. James

Sturgeon, William (1783–1850), electrician and scientific lecturer, was born on 22 May 1783 at Whittington, Lancashire, near Kirkby Lonsdale, the only son of John Sturgeon, shoemaker, and his wife, Betsy Adcock (d. 1793), the daughter of a small shopkeeper. All accounts of his father, who had migrated from ...

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Wade, George (1673–1748), army officer and road builder, was the third son of Jerome Wade of Kilavally, co. Westmeath, whose father, William Wade, had served as a major under Cromwell. Wade's first commission, dated 26 December 1690, was as ensign in Captain Richard Trevanion's...