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Adams, William Edwin [pseuds. Caractacus, Ironside, Uncle Toby] (1832–1906), radical and journalist, was born in humble circumstances in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on 11 February 1832, the son of John Adams, a tramping plasterer, and his wife, Sarah, née Wells. He was raised by his widowed maternal grandmother, ...

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James Aitken (1752–1777) by unknown engraver, pubd 1777 (after W. Cave) © Copyright The British Museum

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Aitken, James [alias John the Painter] (1752–1777), radical and arsonist, was born in Edinburgh on 28 September 1752 to George Aitken, a blacksmith, and his wife, Magdalen. The eighth of twelve children, James qualified for admission as an impoverished student to Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh...

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Aitken, William (1812?–1869), Chartist and factory reformer, was born in a barrack room near Dunbar, possibly on 2 June 1812, the youngest but one of nine children of Scottish parents, natives of Duns. His father, originally a cordwainer, served thirty years in the army and rose to the rank of sergeant-major. After leaving the army ...

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Sir (Robert) Arthur Arnold (1833–1902) by Leonard Watts Guildhall Art Gallery, Corporation of London

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G. S. Woods

revised by Jonathan Spain

Arnold, Sir (Robert) Arthur (1833–1902), radical and writer, born on 28 May 1833 at Gravesend, Kent, was the third son of the three sons and three daughters of Robert Coles Arnold JP (b. 1797), of Whartons, Framfield, Sussex, and Sarah, daughter of ...

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See London Corresponding Society

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Ashurst, William Henry [pseud. Edward Search] (bap. 1791?, d. 1855), lawyer and radical, was born in London, and was probably the William Henry Ashurst baptized on 20 March 1791 at St Luke's, Old Street, the son of Brusel Ashurst and his wife, ...

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Peter Berresford Ellis

Baird, John (1788–1820), radical, was, with Andrew Hardie (1792–1820) and James Wilson (1757–1820), one of the three ‘Radical Martyrs’ executed for their part in the Scottish insurrection of April 1820. Baird, born in Condorrat, Stirling, was the third son of a ...

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Bamford, Samuel (1788–1872), radical, was born in Middleton, Lancashire, on 28 February 1788, one of five children of Daniel Bamford, a dissenting muslin weaver, part-time teacher, and later master of the Salford workhouse, and his wife, Hannah (1755–1795). After private tuition Bamford was sent to the ...

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Barrie [formerly Barry], Michael Maltman (1842–1909), journalist and tory-Marxist, was born in Glasgow, the son of Edward Barry, a shoemaker. Little is known of his early life except that he was educated at Glasgow grammar school. In 1864 he moved to London...

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Baume, Pierre Henri Joseph (1797–1875), radical activist and eccentric, was born at Marseilles on 17 October 1797, the son of Henri Joseph Baume (1770–1831) and Marie Claire Antoinette Merlat (1780–1837). His parents ran a wig-making shop and were inclined both to anti-clericalism and adultery. When he was still young his father moved to ...

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Baverstock, James B. (1741–1815), brewer and radical, was born on 10 June 1741 at Alton, Hampshire, the son of Thomas Baverstock (d. 1781), innholder and brewer. Nothing is known of Baverstock's upbringing, but in 1763 he 'joined his father at Alton...

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See London Corresponding Society

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Edmond Beales (1803–1881) by unknown engraver Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Thompson Cooper

revised by Matthew Lee

Beales, Edmond (1803–1881), radical, was born at Newnham, Cambridge, on 3 July 1803, the son of Samuel Pickering Beales, a merchant who acquired local celebrity as a political reformer, and his wife, Martha, daughter of John Curtis. He was educated at Bury St Edmunds grammar school...

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Benbow, William (1787–1864), radical and publisher, was born at Middlewich, Cheshire, where he was baptized on 21 February 1787, one of thirteen children of William Benbow (bap. 1750, d. 1817), shoemaker, and his wife, Hannah, née Chear (bap. 1752, d. 1828)...

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Binns, John (1772–1860), radical and journalist, was born in Dublin on 22 December 1772, the second son of John Binns (d. 1774), a well-to-do ironmonger active in local politics, and Mary Pemberton. In 1774 his father was lost at sea returning from a trip to ...

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Blackner, John (1770?–1816), radical and county historian, was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. He served an apprenticeship to a stocking maker in his native town, and there married Sarah, née Brown, sister of a 'respectable' farmer in Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire, with whom he had four sons and three daughters. Illiterate at the time of his marriage, he taught himself to read and write soon after moving to ...

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Blakey, Robert [pseud. Palmer Hackle] (1795–1878), radical and historian of philosophy, son of Robert Blakey (c.1774–1796), mechanic, and his wife, Elizabeth Laws (b. 1773), was born in Manchester Street, Morpeth, Northumberland, on 18 May 1795. His father died when he was nine months old. When he was six, he was taken charge of by his grandmother, also ...