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Common, Andrew Ainslie (1841–1903), astronomer and astronomical photographer, was born on 7 August 1841 at Oxford Street, St Andrew, Newcastle upon Tyne, one of two sons of Thomas Common, a surgeon and descendant of the Scottish border family of Comyn, and his wife, ...

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Francis Cranmer Penrose (1817–1903) by John Singer Sargent, 1898 RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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Penrose, Francis Cranmer (1817–1903), architect, classical archaeologist, and astronomer, was born on 29 October 1817 at Bracebridge, near Lincoln, the youngest son of the Revd John Penrose (1778–1859). His mother was Elizabeth Penrose, née Cartwright (c. 1779–1837), a children's writer under the pseudonym of ...

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Robinson, John Ebdon [known as John Ebdon] (1923–2005), planetarium director and broadcaster, was born on 22 December 1923 at Durham House, 102 Crouch Hill, London, the son of William Ewart Robinson, export and import merchant, of 109 rue du Relais, Ixelles, Brussels...

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Russell, John (1745–1806), portrait painter and astronomer, was born on 29 March 1745 at 32 High Street, Guildford, the second child of John Russell (1711–1804), book- and printseller, five times mayor of Guildford, and an artist himself (his Prospects of Guildford were engraved and published in 1759 and 1782), and his wife, ...

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John Russell (1745–1806) self-portrait, c. 1780 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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George Stronach

revised by Roger Hutchins

Wilson, Alexander (1714–1786), astronomer and type founder, son of Patrick Wilson, town clerk of St Andrews, and Clara Fairfoul, his wife, was born at St Andrews, Fife. His father died when he was very young. He studied at the university there, and graduated MA on 8 May 1733. He was then apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary, first in ...

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Vincent Wing (1619–1668) by Thomas Cross, pubd 1652 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wing, Vincent (1619–1668), astronomer, astrologer, and land surveyor, was born on 9 April 1619 at North Luffenham, Rutland, the son of Vincent Wing (1587–1660) of North Luffenham. The family, settled there for three generations but originally from Wales, was of 'rather good, than great' standing, in the words of ...

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Wren, Sir Christopher (1632–1723), architect, mathematician, and astronomer, was born at East Knoyle, Wiltshire, on 20 October 1632, the only surviving son of Christopher Wren DD (1589–1658), at that time rector of East Knoyle and later dean of Windsor, and his wife, Mary...

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Wright, Thomas (1711–1786), astronomer and landscape gardener, was born on 22 September 1711 at Pegg's Poole House, Byers Green, co. Durham, the third son of John and Margaret Wright. His father was a yeoman and carpenter who had a smallholding. He was educated at home, and then probably (1724?) at ...