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Sir Patrick Geddes (1854–1932) by Lafayette, 1931 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Geddes, Sir Patrick (1854–1932), social evolutionist and city planner, was born at Ballater, west Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on 2 October 1854, the youngest son of Alexander Geddes (1808–1899), and his wife, Janet Stivenson. His father was a quartermaster in the Black Watch; his mother came from a family of strict Presbyterian covenanters....

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Maker: (Arthur) Eric Rowton Gill

(Arthur) Eric Rowton Gill (1882–1940) self-portrait, 1927 © courtesy the Artist's Estate / Bridgeman Art Library; Art Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin

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Gill, (Arthur) Eric Rowton (1882–1940), artist, craftsman, and social critic, was born at 32 Hamilton Road, Brighton, Sussex, on 22 February 1882, the eldest son and second of the thirteen children of the Revd Arthur Tidman Gill (1848–1933), minister of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion...

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Harrisson, Tom Harnett (1911–1976), ornithologist, museum curator, and co-founder of the Mass-Observation social survey project, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 26 September 1911, the elder of the two children of Brigadier-General Geoffry Harnett Harrisson (1881–1939) and his wife, Marie Ellen (Doll; 1886–1961)...

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Penty, Arthur Joseph (1875–1937), architect and social thinker, was born at 16 Elmwood Street, St Laurence, York, on 17 March 1875, the second son of Walter Green Penty (1852–1902), architect, and his wife, Emma Seller. After attending St Peter's School in York he was apprenticed in 1888 to his father. Working in the leading architectural firm in late Victorian ...

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Maker: Sir John Everett Millais

John Ruskin (1819–1900) by Sir John Everett Millais, 1853–4 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Ruskin, John (1819–1900), art critic and social critic, was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London, the only child of John James Ruskin (1785–1864), a sherry importer, and Margaret Cox, formerly Cock (1781–1871), the daughter of a Croydon...