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Armstrong, Sir Thomas Henry Wait (1898–1994), organist and college administrator, was born on 15 June 1898 at Peterborough, the only son of Amos Ebenezer Armstrong (1878–1950), an organist and choirmaster, and his wife, Elizabeth Annie West, née Handford (1880–1939), a former headmistress. He had two younger sisters, ...

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Arnold, Samuel (1740–1802), composer, was born in London on 10 August 1740, the son of Thomas Arnold; he may have been the Samuel Arnull, son of Thomas and Mary Arnull, baptized at St Martin-in-the-Fields on 21 August that year. During his time as a choirboy in the ...

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Attwood, Thomas (1765–1838), composer and organist, was born on 23 November 1765, probably at 20 Eaton Street, Pimlico, Middlesex. He was the second of the six children of Thomas Attwood (d. 1825), a coal merchant and musician who played trumpet, horn, and viola in the king's band, and his wife, ...

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (1745?–1786), actress and singer, was born, according to her friend and biographer Elizabeth Steele, in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, the daughter of the trumpeter Valentine Snow (d. 1770). Her baptism is not recorded in the register of ...

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Baillie, Dame Isobel [real name Isabella Douglas Baillie] (1895–1983), singer, was born on 9 March 1895 at 2 Princes Street, Wilton, in the border town of Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland, the youngest in a family of a son and three daughters of Martin Pott Baillie...

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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce 'to her business' (...

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Barnes, Frederick Jester (1885–1938), singer, was born on 31 May 1885 at 219 Great Lister Street, Saltley, Birmingham, the only child of Thomas William Barnes (1860/61–1913), butcher, and his wife, Mary Alice Jester (d. 1899/1900). The family moved across to 214 Great Lister Street...

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Bennett, Sir William Sterndale (1816–1875), composer, was born at 7 Howard Street, Sheffield, on 13 April 1816, the third child and only son of Robert Bennett (1788–1819) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Donn (1791–1818). Bennett's grandfather, John Bennett (1754–1837), was a bass lay clerk in the choir which at that time served the ...

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Benson, Ivy (1913–1993), bandleader, was born at the Malt Shovel, 26 Lowerhead Row, Holbeck, Leeds, a public house owned by her grandparents, on 11 November 1913. She was the only daughter and third child of Douglas Rolland Benson (1890–1977), a musician, and his wife, ...

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Billington [née Weichsel], Elizabeth (1765–1818), singer, was born in Litchfield Street, Soho, London, on 27 December 1765, the first of the three children of Carl Friedrich Weichsel (1728–1811) and his wife, Fredericka Weirman (d. 1786). Weichsel, a native of Freiburg, Saxony...

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Bishop, Sir Henry Rowley (1786–1855), composer, the son of Samuel Bishop, a watchmaker and later haberdasher, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Wigley, was born at 83 Great Portland Street, London, on 18 November 1786. His early education was at Dr Barrow's academy at ...

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Blades, James (1901–1999), percussionist and author, was born on 9 September 1901 at 166 Star Road, Peterborough, the eldest among the four sons and one daughter of Thomas Weston Blades (1879–1953), journeyman tailor, and his wife, Catherine Close (d. 1921). Jimmy Blades...

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Blagrave, Thomas (d. 1688), musician, was the eldest son of Richard Blagrave (d. 1641) and his third wife, Ann (d. in or after 1672), who were married at Northwood, Isle of Wight, on 19 February 1622. Richard, of Berkshire ancestry, was a musician at the court of ...

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Blow, John (1648?–1708), musician and composer, was baptized at St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, on 23 February 1649. The record of his doctorate at Lambeth Palace confirms the identification; the age on his marriage allegation suggests that he was born in 1648. He was the second of three children of ...

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Boughton, Rutland (1878–1960), composer, was born in Bicester Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, on 23 January 1878, the elder son in a family of two boys and one girl of William Rutland Boughton (1841–1905), a grocer at 37 Buckingham Street, and his wife, Grace Martha (1845–1924)...

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Boyce, William (bap. 1711, d. 1779), composer, organist, and music editor, was born in Maiden Lane, London, and was baptized on 11 September 1711 at St James Garlickhythe, the youngest of four children of John Boyce (1673–1752), joiner and cabinet-maker, and his wife, ...

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Boyle, Richard, third earl of Burlington and fourth earl of Cork (1694–1753), architect, collector, and patron of the arts, was born on 25 April 1694 at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, the only son of Charles Boyle, second earl of Burlington and third earl of Cork...

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W. G. Alcock

revised by Judith Blezzard

Bridge, Sir (John) Frederick (1844–1924), organist and composer, was born on 5 December 1844 at Oldbury, Worcestershire, the eldest son of John Bridge, of Oldbury, and his wife, Rebecca Cox. After moving to Rochester, John Bridge was appointed a vicar-choral at the cathedral. ...

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Broadwood, Lucy Etheldred (1858–1929), musician and folk-song collector, was born on 9 August 1858 at Pavilion House, Melrose, Scotland, the youngest of the eleven children of Henry Fowler Broadwood (1811–1893), piano manufacturer, and his wife, Juliana Maria, née Birch (1816–1898). She was the great-granddaughter of ...

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Brydges, James, first duke of Chandos (1674–1744), politician and patron of music, was born at Dewsall, Herefordshire, on 6 January 1674, the eldest son of James Brydges, eighth Baron Chandos (1642–1714), who held estates in Herefordshire and Radnorshire, and Elizabeth Barnard (1643–1719), who came from a successful merchant family. Having inherited the attributes of both the landed gentry and of merchant bankers, the young ...