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Adair, John (1660–1718), geographer and cartographer, was born on 2 September 1660 in Leith, Scotland. Nothing is known of his parents or his early education. The first firm reference to Adair dates from May 1681, when he was granted a licence by the ...

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Adams family (per. 1734–1817), makers of scientific instruments and globes, came to prominence through George Adams senior (bap. 1709, d. 1772), who was baptized on 17 April 1709 in the parish of St Bride's, Fleet Street, London, the eldest surviving son of ...

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Adams, Clement (c. 1519–1587), schoolmaster and map engraver, was born at Buckington, Warwickshire. He was educated at Eton between 1530 and 1536, and subsequently at the King's Hall, Cambridge. From 17 August 1536 he was tutored in classics, mathematics, and geometry at Cambridge...

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Adams, John (b. before 1670, d. 1738), cartographer, came originally from Shropshire. He attended Shrewsbury School, and later lived at Tanfield Court, Inner Temple, London, where he was a barrister. He is best known as a surveyor and map maker, in which capacity he worked with his brother ...

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Ian Adams

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Ainslie, John (1745–1828), cartographer and land surveyor, was born on 22 April 1745 in Jedburgh, the younger son and younger child of John Ainslie, druggist in Jedburgh, writer to the signet, and burgess of the burgh. He may have been educated at Jedburgh grammar school...

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Allison, Thomas (bap. 1647, d. in or before 1706), Arctic explorer, was baptized on 6 June 1647 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, the son of Roger Allison and his wife, Elizabeth. He became a freeman in 1668, having served his apprenticeship to Nicolas Allen...

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Aaron Arrowsmith the elder (1750–1823) by T. A. Dean, pubd 1825 (after Henry William Pickersgill) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arrowsmith, Aaron, the elder (1750–1823), cartographer and map publisher, was born on 14 July 1750 at Winston, co. Durham, the son of John and Mary Arrowsmith. His father died when Aaron was young and his mother then married a wastrel who reduced the family fortune. ...

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Arrowsmith, John (1790–1873), cartographer and map publisher, was born on 23 April 1790 on a farm in Winston, co. Durham, the son of Thomas Arrowsmith of an old-established family. With limited education, he arrived in London on 14 February 1810 where he learnt map making, engraving, and printing under his uncle ...

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See Arrowsmith, Aaron, the elder

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Atkinson, Edward Leicester (1881–1929), naval medical officer and explorer in Antarctica, was born on 23 November 1881 at Sion Hill, St Vincent, Windward Islands, West Indies, the third of eight children and the second and sole surviving son of Edward Leycester Atkinson, then an accountant at the ...

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Kenneth Mason

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Austen, Henry Haversham Godwin- (1834–1923), explorer and geologist, was born at Teignmouth on 6 July 1834, the eldest son of Robert Alfred Cloyne Godwin-Austen (1808–1884), geologist, of Shalford House, near Guildford, Surrey, and his wife, Maria Elizabeth (d. 1904), only daughter of ...

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Henry Haversham Godwin- Austen (1834–1923) by Maull & Fox The Royal Geographical Society, London

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Sir George Back (1796–1878) by Maull & Polyblank Howarth-Loomes Collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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A. H. Beesly

revised by Andrew Lambert

Back, Sir George (1796–1878), naval officer and explorer, was born on 6 November 1796 at Stockport, Cheshire, the second son of John Back and his wife, Ann. He entered the navy as midshipman of the Arethusa in 1808. He was present at the destruction of the batteries at ...

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Baffin, William (1584?–1621), Arctic explorer, was probably born in London, possibly in 1584. Neither his parents' names nor details of his early life are known. He certainly married, and may have been the William Baffin who married Susan Hodges at St Bride's, Fleet Street...

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Bailey, Frederick Marshman (1882–1967), explorer and naturalist, elder son of Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) Frederick Bailey of the Royal Engineers, was born on 3 February 1882 at Lahore, where his father served in the Indian army for a few years. Later his father became head of the Indian ...

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Baines, (John) Thomas (1820–1875), artist and explorer, was born on 27 November 1820 at King's Lynn, Norfolk, the second son and one of three surviving children of Mary Ann Watson and John Thomas Baines, a master mariner. His father and maternal grandfather were amateur artists, his brother ...