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Annesley, Alexander (d. 1813), legal writer and political commentator, was a London solicitor and member of the Inner Temple. After many years' practice, by which he acquired a large fortune, he retired to Hyde Hall, Hertfordshire. Annesley—a man of many accomplishments—paid repeated visits to the continent and was an enthusiastic sportsman. In later life, though afflicted with gout, it was said that he '...

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Atwood, William (d. 1712), lawyer and writer on politics, son of John Atwood, of Broomfield, Essex, was admitted as a pensioner at Queens' College, Cambridge, on 23 March 1669. He was admitted at the Inner Temple on 2 December 1669 and at Gray's Inn...

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Walter Bagehot (1826–1877) by Norman Hirst, pubd 1891 (after Adolphe Beau, 1864) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bagehot, Walter (1826–1877), political commentator, economist, and journalist, was born on 3 February 1826 at Langport, Somerset, the second son of Thomas Watson Bagehot (1795–1881), banker, and Edith Stuckey (1786–1870), a niece of Samuel Stuckey, founder in 1772 of Stuckey's Bank, which issued its own banknotes and enjoyed considerable prominence and respect in the west country. The first born, ...

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Boyd, Hugh Macaulay (1746–1794), writer on politics, was born Hugh Macaulay on 16 April 1746 in Ballycastle, co. Antrim, the younger son of Alexander Macaulay (d. 1766), barrister and member of the Irish parliament, and his wife, formerly Miss Boyd (d...

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Buchan, Alastair Francis (1918–1976), writer on strategic and international affairs, was born at 76 Portland Place, London, on 9 September 1918, the third son and the fourth and youngest child of John Buchan, first Baron Tweedsmuir (1875–1940), and his wife, Susan Charlotte (1882–1977)...

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Crankshaw, Edward (1909–1984), writer and commentator on Soviet affairs, was born on 3 January 1909 in London, the elder son (there were no daughters) of Arthur Crankshaw, later chief clerk to Old Street magistrates' court, and of his wife, Amy Bishop. He was small in stature and suffered from a weak chest, and the family soon moved out to ...

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Dyer, John (1653/4–1713), newsletter writer, is of unknown origins. By 1688 he was known as a coffee-house keeper in Whitefriars, London, and as the publisher of a manuscript newsletter, the circulation of which was estimated by Sir Roger L'Estrange to be about '...

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Paul Mackintosh Foot (1937–2004) by Lewis Morley, 1965 © Lewis Morley, courtesy of The Akehurst Bureau; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Foot, Paul Mackintosh (1937–2004), journalist, was born on 8 November 1937 in Haifa, Palestine, the son of Hugh Mackintosh Foot (1907–1990), later Baron Caradon, governor of Jamaica and Cyprus, and at the time an administrative officer in the Palestinian government, and his wife, ...

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Fry [formerly Freund], Richard Henry (1900–2002), financial and political journalist, was born Richard Freund on 23 September 1900 in Berlin, the son of Rudolf Freund, a brewer and general merchant, and his wife, Betty. Both parents were from Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. He had one brother. Although his father ran a brewery in ...

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Philip Gould, Baron Gould of Brookwood (1950–2011) by Richard Watt, pubd 2011 © Richard Watt / Telegraph Media Group Limited 2014

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Gould, Philip, Baron Gould of Brookwood (1950–2011), political strategist, was born in Wallington, Sutton, Surrey, on 30 March 1950, the son of Wilfred Caleb Gould (1913–1992), a primary school head teacher, and his wife, Fennigien Anna, née de Jager (1917–1972). He had a younger sister, ...

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Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville (1794–1865) by Alfred, Count D'Orsay, 1840 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Greville, Charles Cavendish Fulke (1794–1865), political and social diarist, was born on 2 April 1794. His father, Charles Greville, MP for Petersfield and under-secretary of state in the Home department, was a grandson of the fifth Baron Brooke of Beauchamps Court. His mother, ...

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Christopher Eric Hitchens (1949–2011) by John Dempsie, 1978 ©John Dempsie; Associated News / Rex

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Hitchens, Christopher Eric (1949–2011), journalist and author, was born on 13 April 1949 at 3 Nettlecombe Avenue, Southsea, Portsmouth, the elder son of Eric Ernest Hitchens (1909–1987), a Royal Navy commander, and his wife, Yvonne Jeanne (or Jean), née Hickman (d. 1973)...

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Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (1917–2012) by Georg Eisler, 1989 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hobsbawm, Eric John Ernest (1917–2012), historian, was born on 9 June 1917 in Alexandria, Egypt, the elder child of Leopold Percy Hobsbawm, formerly Obstbaum, general merchant, and his wife, Nelly, née Grün. His grandfather was a Polish Jew and cabinet-maker who came to ...

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Anthony Michell Howard (1934–2010) by Colin McPherson, 2005 © Colin McPherson / Corbis