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Airey, Sir Lawrence (1926–2001), civil servant, was born on 10 March 1926 at 44 Collingwood Road, Haverton Hill, Billingham, co. Durham, the only child of Lawrence Clark Airey (1897–1929), a metallurgist at a steelworks, and Isabella Marshall Pearson (1890–1967), who was before her marriage a bookkeeper. His father died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his mother, who ran a boarding-house, and encouraged his education. He attended the ...

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Allen, (Reginald) Clifford, Baron Allen of Hurtwood (1889–1939), politician and peace campaigner, was born at St Olave's, Slow Park, Newport, Monmouthshire, on 9 May 1889. As an adult he was always known as Clifford Allen, or by close friends as CA. He had a brother, ...

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Armstrong, William, Baron Armstrong of Sanderstead (1915–1980), civil servant and banker, was born in the Salvation Mothers' Home, Mare Street, Clapton, London, on 3 March 1915, the elder son of William Armstrong, of Stirling, and his wife, Priscilla Hopkins. Both his parents were ...

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Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967), prime minister, was born on 3 January 1883 at Westcott, 18 Portinscale Road, Putney, London, the seventh of the eight children of Henry Attlee (1841–1908), solicitor, and his wife, Ellen (1847–1920), daughter of Thomas Watson of ...

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Ballance, John (1839–1893), newspaper proprietor and premier of New Zealand, was born on 27 March 1839 at Ballypitmave, near Glenavy, co. Antrim, Ireland, the eldest of the eleven children of Samuel Ballance (1800–1879), a tenant farmer, and his wife, Mary McNiece, the daughter of ...

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Banks, Anthony Louis [Tony], Baron Stratford (1942–2006), politician, was born on 8 April 1942 at Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast, the only son and elder child of Albert Herbert Banks, a sergeant in the Royal Army Service Corps, who before the Second World War had been a toolmaker, and his wife, ...

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Barker, Joseph (1806–1875), Methodist minister and politico-religious controversialist, was born on 11 May 1806 at Bramley, near Leeds. His ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled in this area for several generations as farmers and manufacturers. The identity of his parents has not been discovered, though it is known that his father was employed in woollen manufacture and served for some time in the militia, and that ...

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian (1868–1926), traveller, archaeologist, and diplomatist, was born at Washington Hall, co. Durham, on 14 July 1868, the elder child and only daughter of (Thomas) Hugh Bell (1844–1931), an ironmaster, who succeeded his father as second baronet in 1904, and his first wife, ...

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Besant [née Wood], Annie (1847–1933), theosophist and politician in India, was born at 2 Fish Street Hill in the City of London on 1 October 1847, the only daughter of William Persse Wood (d. 1852), underwriter, and his wife, Emily Roche Morris (...

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Bhownaggree, Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee (1851–1933), lawyer and politician, was born at Bombay on 15 August 1851, the son of Merwanjee N. Bhownaggree (d. c.1872), a Parsi merchant in Bombay of Persian origin, and his wife Cooverbai (d. 1896). Bhownaggree's father had risen from obscurity as a small-town postmaster to become head of the ...

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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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Birrell, Augustine (1850–1933), politician and author, was born at Wavertree, near Liverpool, on 19 January 1850, the younger son of Charles Morton Birrell, a Baptist minister, and Harriet Jane Grey, daughter of Henry Grey, Free Church of Scotland minister. Though he later became an agnostic, he always retained a deep respect for the Liberal nonconformist tradition of his ...

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Black, Clementina Maria (1853–1922), political activist, suffragist, and writer, was born on 27 July 1853 in Brighton, the eldest girl in the family of five daughters and three sons of David Black, solicitor, town clerk, and coroner of Brighton, and his wife, Clara Maria (1825–1875)...

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Blair, Eric Arthur [pseud. George Orwell] (1903–1950), political writer and essayist, was born in Motihari, Bengal, India, on 25 June 1903, the only son of Richard Walmesley Blair (1857–1938), a sub-deputy opium agent in the government of Bengal, and his wife, Ida Mabel Limouzin (1875–1943)...

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Boyle, Edward Charles Gurney, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981), politician, was born at 63 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London, on 31 August 1923, elder son in the family of two sons and one daughter of Sir Edward Boyle (1878–1945), second baronet, barrister, writer, and company director, and his wife, ...

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Bracken, Brendan Rendall, Viscount Bracken (1901–1958), politician and publisher, was born on 15 February 1901 at Church Street, Templemore, co. Tipperary, the second son and third of the four children of Joseph Kevin Bracken (1852–1904), builder and monumental mason, and his second wife, ...

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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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Bradlaugh, Charles (1833–1891), politician and freethinker, was born on 26 September 1833 at home at 31 Bacchus Walk, Hoxton, London, the eldest of seven children born to Charles Bradlaugh, a solicitor's clerk, and his wife, Elizabeth Trimby, a former nursemaid. He was baptized at ...

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Buchanan, George (1890–1955), politician, was born in Glasgow on 30 November 1890 in Naburn Street, Gorbals, the constituency he would later represent as MP. His father, George Buchanan, a joiner, came from Kilberry in Argyll and his mother, Ann Mackay, was born in ...

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Burns, John Elliott (1858–1943), labour leader and politician, was born in South Lambeth, London, on 20 October 1858, the sixteenth child of Alexander Burns, a Scottish fitter, and Barbara Smith. He left St Mary's national school when he was about ten and after a series of short-term jobs was apprenticed as an engineer....