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Actresses’ Franchise League [AFL] (act. 1908–1958) was formed in 1908 as ‘a bond of union between all women in the Theatrical profession who are in sympathy with the Woman’s Franchise Movement’. The organization was itself ‘strictly neutral in regard to Suffrage Tactics’ and membership was open to women who were or had been ‘connected with the Theatrical profession in any of its branches’. The constitution of the league declared its objectives as being to convince members of the theatrical profession of the necessity of extending the franchise to women on the same terms as men. It would campaign by using what it called ‘educational methods’ including propaganda meetings, and plays, sale of literature, and lectures (...

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Atkyns [née Walpole], Charlotte (c. 1758–1836), actress and political activist, was probably born in co. Westmeath, Ireland about 1758, according to her later biographers Frédéric Barbey and E. E. P. Tisdall. She was the youngest of three daughters of Robert Walpole (...

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Ernest Blythe (1889–1975) by unknown photographer, 1922 Getty Images

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Blythe, Ernest [Earnán de Blaghd] (1889–1975), politician and theatre director, was born on 13 April 1889 in Magheragall, Lisburn, co. Antrim, the eldest child of James and Agnes Blythe. He came from a Church of Ireland and staunchly Orange background and was a most unlikely convert to Irish nationalism. Educated at the local ...

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Joseph Knight

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Bonnor, Charles (d. 1829?), actor and civil servant, was the son of a distiller in Bristol. After commencing his working life as apprentice to a coachmaker, he appeared on the Bath stage on 4 October 1777 as Belcour, in Richard Cumberland's comedy The West Indian...

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Chambers, Sir Edmund Kerchever (1866–1954), theatre historian and civil servant, was born at West Ilsley, Berkshire, on 16 March 1866. He was the son of the Revd William Chambers (b. 1826/7), curate, and fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, and his wife, Anna Heathcote...

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Sir Edmund Kerchever Chambers (1866–1954) by Sir William Rothenstein, 1924 © Estate of Sir William Rothenstein / National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Chapin, Harold

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Clarke, John Smith (1885–1959), politician, lion-tamer, and newspaper editor, was born on 4 February 1885 at 66 Albert Street, Jarrow, co. Durham, the thirteenth child of John Smith Clarke, circus entertainer, and his wife, Sally Ann Chiswell, who came from Gypsy stock. Only seven of the children survived childhood, and poverty stalked the family. ...

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Patrick Collins (1859–1943) by unknown photographer with the permission of the National Fairground Archive, the University of Sheffield

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Collins, Patrick (1859–1943), showman and politician, was born on 12 May 1859 at 58 Broughton, Chester, the son of John Collins, agricultural labourer (later, general dealer), and his wife, Annoia McDermott. One of five children, he attended St Wedburgh's School in Chester, but left at the age of ten and travelled ...

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[Anon.]

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Coppin, George Selth (1819–1906), actor and politician, born at Steyning, Sussex, on 8 April 1819, was the only child of George Selth Coppin (1794–1854) and his wife, Elizabeth Jane Jackson (1789–1869). His father, of a Norwich family, gave up medical practice for the stage and became a theatrical manager....

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George Selth Coppin (1819–1906) by Falk Studios, c. 1905 La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria

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Crawley, Aidan Merivale (1908–1993), politician and television executive, was born on 10 April 1908 at the vicarage, Benenden, near Cranbrook, Kent, the third of the five children of Arthur Stafford Crawley, vicar of Benenden (later canon of Windsor), and his wife, Anstice Katharine, ...

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Aidan Merivale Crawley (1908–1993) by Elliott & Fry, 1950 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Donne, William Bodham (1807–1882), essayist and examiner of plays, was born on 29 July 1807 at Mattishall, near East Dereham, Norfolk, the only child of Edward Charles Donne (1777–1819), physician, and his cousin Anne Vertue Donne (1781–1859). His grandfather William Donne was an eminent ...

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Duma, Dervish (1908–1998), diplomatist and leader of the Albanian community in Britain, was born on 4 July 1908 in Borsh on the southern coast of Albania, then still part of the Ottoman empire, the son of Emin Duma (d. 1922), from a local landowning family. In 1914 the village of ...

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Evans, Meredydd (Merȇd) (1919–2015), writer, broadcaster, and political activist, was born on 9 December 1919 at Top Pentre, Llanegryn, Merioneth, the youngest of eleven children of Richard Evans, motor driver, later quarryman, and his wife Charlotte, née Pugh. His Christian name was given on his birth certificate as ...

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Francis, Sir Richard Trevor Langford (1934–1992), broadcasting executive and public servant, was born at the Imperial Nursing Home, Harrogate, Yorkshire, on 10 March 1934, the son of Eric Roland Francis (1902–1987), production engineer, and his wife, Esther Joy Todd (1906–1999). He was educated at ...

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Frece, Sir (Abraham) Walter de (1870–1935), music-hall entrepreneur and politician, was born on 7 October 1870 at 90 Salisbury Street, Everton, Liverpool, the eldest son of Henry de Frece, music-hall manager, and his wife, Marian Rowe. He was born into a prominent Liverpool...