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Bain, James Thompson (1860–1919), trade unionist in South Africa, was born at Dudhope Crescent, Dundee, on 6 March 1860, the third child of Andrew Bain and his wife, Eliza, née Thomson. His parents were both mill workers. At the age of seven he started work in a factory. At sixteen he joined the ...

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Reginald Birch (1914–1994) by Harrison © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Birch [formerly Catlin-Birch], Reginald (1914–1994), trade unionist and political activist, was born Reginald Catlin-Birch on 7 June 1914 at 4 Chichester Terrace, Kilburn, London, one of the five children of Charles Catlin-Birch (d. 1928), house painter and builder, and his wife, ...

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Elizabeth Margaret Braddock (1899–1970) by unknown photographer, 1958 [The Braddocks [left to right]: Myles White, , and Jack Braddock (1892-1963) ] © reserved / unknown collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Braddock [née Bamber], Elizabeth Margaret [Bessie] (1899–1970), trade union activist and politician, was born at Zante Street, Liverpool, on 24 September 1899, the elder daughter of Hugh Bamber, bookbinder, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Andrew Little, an Edinburgh lawyer. Mary Bamber...

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John Elliott Burns (1858–1943) by John Collier, 1889 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Burns, John Elliott (1858–1943), labour leader and politician, was born in South Lambeth, London, on 20 October 1858, the sixteenth child of Alexander Burns, a Scottish fitter, and Barbara Smith. He left St Mary's national school when he was about ten and after a series of short-term jobs was apprenticed as an engineer....

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Cousins, Frank (1904–1986), trade unionist, was born on 8 September 1904 at 28 Minerva Street, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire, the eldest son in a family of ten (five sons and five daughters) of Charles Fox Cousins, miner, and his wife, Hannah, née Smith, the daughter of a miner from ...

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Dadabhoy, Sir Maneckji Byramji (1865–1953), industrialist and politician in India, was born in Bombay on 30 July 1865. He came of a much respected Parsi family, the second son of Khan Bahadur Byramji Dadabhoy JP, registrar of joint stock companies and assurances. He was educated in ...

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Dallas, George (1878–1961), trade unionist and politician, was born in Glasgow on 6 August 1878, the son of George Dallas, a shoemaker, and Mary Hay. He grew up in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, and worked at a coalmine after leaving elementary school before resuming his formal education at the ...

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Dash, Jack O'Brien (1907–1989), political activist and unofficial dockers' leader, was born on 23 April 1907 in Southwark, south London, the youngest of four sons of Joseph Thomas Dash, a stagehand, and his wife, Rose Gertrude Johns, an actor. According to Dash's own account, his upbringing was one of great material hardship. His mother died of tuberculosis when he was seven and his father, who then had an even greater struggle to support the family, also died of a lung complaint a few years later. After an elementary schooling, his skill at drawing led to a trial period with an engraving firm, but pressure to take home a better wage resulted in a series of menial jobs, starting in a ...

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Gast, John (c. 1772–1837), trade unionist and radical, was born in Bristol, the son of Robert Gast, a seller of milk. He had at least two brothers, and at some time married Elizabeth, who outlived him, but nothing else is known of his family. Soon after finishing his apprenticeship he left ...

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Harnett, Cornelius (1723–1781), merchant and revolutionary politician in America, was born on 20 April 1723 in Chowan county, North Carolina, the son of Cornelius (d. 1742), colonial official, planter, and tavern-keeper, and Elizabeth Harnett. With his family Harnett moved in 1726 to ...

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Johnson, Richard (1753–1807), East India Company servant and collector of oriental art and manuscripts, was born on 16 November 1753, the third son of Alexander Johnson MD (bap. 1716, d. 1799), lawyer, and of his wife, Mary Pellins (b. 1720, d. in or after 1800)...

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Thomas Ryder Johnson (1872–1963) by Keogh Brothers courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

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Johnson, Thomas Ryder (1872–1963), trade unionist and politician, was born on 17 May 1872 at 10 South Hunter Street, off Maryland Street, Liverpool, the only child of Thomas Johnson, foreman sailmaker, and his wife, Margaret Boardman. His parents were both English. Although his father was Anglican by upbringing, ...

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Leslie, Alexander (fl. 1796–1798), radical bookseller and publisher, was born in Jedburgh, moving to Edinburgh some time before 1796. Before becoming Bookseller to the Rabble, as he liked to describe himself, he was apprenticed in Edinburgh, possibly to one Andrew Leslie, shoemaker. Leslie...

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Maynard, (Vera) Joan (1921–1998), trade unionist and politician, was born on 5 July 1921 at Brooklands, Easingwold, Yorkshire, the daughter of Matthew Maynard, a small farmer trying to scratch a living from 17 acres of land, and his wife, Effie Eliza, née Wright...

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McIntosh, Andrew Robert, Baron McIntosh of Haringey (1933–2010), market researcher and politician, was born on 30 April 1933 in the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London, the elder of two children of Albert William McIntosh (1904–1994), then a clerk for a business consultant, and his wife, ...

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David Alfred Thomas, first Viscount Rhondda (1856–1918) by Solomon Joseph Solomon, exh. RA 1917 © National Portrait Gallery, London