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Abbot, Sir Maurice (1565–1642), merchant and politician, was born on 2 November 1565 and baptized three days later at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, the fifth of the six sons of Maurice Abbot (1519/20–1606), a merchant, and his wife, Alice Marsh or March (1525/6–1606)...

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William Abraham [Mabon] (1842–1922) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1901 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Abraham, William [pseud. Mabon] (1842–1922), trade unionist and politician, was born at Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Glamorgan, on 14 June 1842, the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Abraham. His father, a coalminer and copper smelter, soon died, leaving his mother to raise a large family. ...

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Acton, Sir Robert (b. before 1497, d. 1558), saddler and member of parliament, was born into a family of Worcestershire gentry, the son of Richard Acton of Sutton and his wife, Margery Dore. How he obtained an entrée to the royal court is unknown, but by 22 October 1518 he was a groom of the chamber, subsequently becoming a page (1526) and a gentleman usher (1528). More important to his advancement, however, was his marriage, by May 1528, to ...

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Adamson [née Johnston], Janet Laurel (1882–1962), labour movement activist and politician, was born at Kilmarnock on 9 May 1882, one of the six children of Thomas Johnston, a railway porter, and Elizabeth, née Denton. Her father died young and her mother had to become a dressmaker to support the family. As ...

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Adamson, William [Willie] (1863–1936), politician and trade unionist, was born at Halbeath, near Dunfermline in Fife, on 2 April 1863, the son of James Armstrong Adamson, a coalminer, and Flora Cunningham. He attended a dame-school run by the wife of a mining engineer, and left at the age of eleven to work in the mining industry, where he was employed for the next twenty-seven years. He married, on 25 February 1887, ...

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William Adamson (1863–1936) by Bassano, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ammon, Charles George, Baron Ammon (1873–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 22 April 1873 into a poor working-class family in White Street, Southwark, London. He was the eldest child of Charles George Ammon (d. 1887), cutler and toolmaker, and Mary Kempley (1851–1900)...

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Amory, Derick Heathcoat, first Viscount Amory (1899–1981), industrialist and politician, was born on 26 December 1899 in London, the second son of Sir Ian Murray Heathcoat Heathcoat-Amory, second baronet (1865–1931), and his wife, Alexandra Georgina (d. 1942), daughter of Vice-Admiral Henry George Seymour...

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Derick Heathcoat Amory, first Viscount Amory (1899–1981) by Walter Stoneman, 1955 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arch, Joseph (1826–1919), trade unionist and politician, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, on 10 November 1826, the son of John Arch (b. c.1793), a shepherd, and Hannah Pace (c.1783–1845). Before her marriage his mother worked as a domestic servant in ...

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Joseph Arch (1826–1919) by Barraud, c. 1890 Getty Images – Barraud

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Ashton, Thomas Gair, first Baron Ashton of Hyde (1855–1933), industrialist and politician, was born at Ashfield, Fallowfield, Lancashire, on 5 February 1855, the eldest son of Thomas Ashton (1818–1898), cotton manufacturer, of Hyde, Cheshire, and his wife, Elizabeth (1831–1914), daughter of Samuel Stillman Gair...

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Baillie, James Evan (1781?–1863), merchant, banker, and politician, was born in Bristol, probably in 1781, into a successful Scottish merchant-planter family that had settled in Bristol in the 1770s. He was baptized at St Augustine-the-Less, Bristol, on 26 June 1782, the third but second surviving son of ...

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Alfred Baldwin (1841–1908) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baldwin, Alfred (1841–1908), industrialist and politician, was born at Stourport, Worcestershire, on 4 June 1841, the youngest of twelve children of George Pearce Baldwin (1789–1840), a small-scale iron founder and businessman, and his second wife, Sarah Chalkley Stanley (1801–1874), the eldest daughter of the ...

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Ballinger, William George (1892–1974), trade unionist and politician, was born at 2 back 45 Gooch Street, Birmingham, on 21 September 1892, the first-born among the six children of Walter George Ballinger (1862–1907), a blacksmith, and his wife, Mary Minnie Johnson (1866–1927), a former actress. In 1901 the ...

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Barham, Joseph Foster (1759–1832), slave owner and politician, was born in London on 1 January 1759, the eldest son of Joseph Foster Barham (1729–1789), and his wife, Dorothea (d. 1781), daughter of Erasmus Vaughan of Trecŵn, Pembrokeshire. The musician and writer Thomas Foster Barham...

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Barnes, George Nicoll (1859–1940), trade unionist and politician, was born on 2 January 1859 at Lochee, Forfarshire, the second of five sons of James Barnes, a skilled engineer and mill manager from Yorkshire, and his wife, Catherine Adam Langlands. The family moved back to ...

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Barrett, Richard (1789–1839), slave owner and politician, was born in England on 11 October 1789, the second son of Samuel Barrett (1765–1794), a captain in the Horse Grenadier Guards, and Elizabeth Barrett Williams, née Waite (1754–1834), a widow. Barrett's mother and father were cousins and remained unmarried. ...