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Boot [née Rowe], Florence Annie, Lady Trent (1863–1952), businesswoman and benefactor, was born at 5 Grove Place, St Helier, Jersey, on 29 July 1863, the second daughter of William Henry Rowe and his wife, Margaret Agnes, née Campbell, who conducted a flourishing business as booksellers and stationers in ...

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Bray, Charles (1811–1884), freethinker and social reformer, was born in Coventry on 31 January 1811, the son of a wealthy ribbon manufacturer. Ill as a child, Bray was sent out of the city at an early age and attended a boarding-school from the age of nine to fourteen, after which he went to a school at ...

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Busia, Kofi Abrefa (1913–1978), sociologist and politician, was born on 14 April or 11 July 1913 (he stated 11 July) at Wenchi, in the Asante region of the Gold Coast. He was the son of Yaw Bosea, a prominent member of the royal ...

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Willielma Campbell, Viscountess Glenorchy (1741–1786) by Robert Scott, pubd 1804 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Campbell [née Maxwell], Willielma, Viscountess Glenorchy (1741–1786), evangelical activist and benefactor, was the younger daughter of prosperous parents, William Maxwell (d. 1741), medical practitioner of Kirkcudbright, and his wife, Elizabeth Hairstanes (d. c.1806) of Craig. Willielma was born on 2 September 1741 after her father's death. The only other child of the marriage was her sister, ...

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Carter, Henry (1874–1951), temperance campaigner and pacifist, was born on 3 November 1874 at 17 Cornwall Street, Plymouth, the son of George Henry Richards Carter, a basket-maker, and his wife, Lavinia Johns Kingdon. His father died when Henry Carter was young, so he was brought up by his mother, a devout Methodist and committed teetotaller. At the age of fourteen ...

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Sir Edwin Chadwick (1800–1890) by unknown engraver, pubd 1889 (after Mayall & Co.) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chadwick, Sir Edwin (1800–1890), social reformer and civil servant, was born at Longsight, near Manchester, on 24 January 1800. Surprisingly little is known of his early life, and of his mother nothing, except that she died in the infancy of her only son. His father, ...

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See Mace, David Robert

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Chesson, Frederick William (1833–1888), campaigner for the rights of indigenous peoples, was born in Rochester, Kent, on 22 November 1833, and was baptized at Manor Street Methodist church, Old Brompton, Gillingham, Kent, on 30 March 1834, the only son and eldest child (there were four daughters) of ...

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Chunchie, Kamal Athon (1886–1953), Methodist minister and race relations worker, was born on 4 June 1886 in Kandy, Ceylon, the eldest of nine children (five sons and four daughters) of Muslim parents of Malay origin. His father, Athon Chunchie (1849/50–1928), of the Inche Che...

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Moncure Daniel Conway (1832–1907) by Debenham & Gabell © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Conway, Moncure Daniel (1832–1907), social reformer and ethical preacher, was born on 17 March 1832 at Middleton plantation, Stafford county, Virginia, the second of the six children of Walker Peyton Conway (1805–1884), a slave-owning planter, attorney, and judge, and his wife, Margaret (1807–1891)...

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Craft, William (c. 1825–1900), slavery abolitionist, was born into slavery in Georgia, and apprenticed as a carpenter in Macon. His family was broken up when his parents, brother, and sister were sold separately to pay off their master's debts. At the age of sixteen ...

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Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy (1833–1918) by A. & G. Taylor, c. 1907 Mary Evans / The Women's Library

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Elmy, Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme (1833–1918), campaigner for women's rights, was born on 30 November 1833, in the Manchester area, daughter of Joseph Wolstenholme, a Methodist minister, and his first wife, Elizabeth Clarke, the daughter of a cotton spinner; Elizabeth died shortly after her daughter's birth. Doubly orphaned by the age of fourteen, ...

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Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1797) by Daniel Orme, pubd 1789 (after W. Denton) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Equiano, Olaudah [Gustavus Vassa] (c. 1745–1797), author and slavery abolitionist, was in the words of his own Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano born 'in a charming vale, named Essaka', most likely in present-day Nigeria. However, at his baptism in 1759 he was described as a native of ...

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Fox, Levi (1914–2006), historian and conservationist, was born on 28 August 1914 at Woolrooms, Worthington, Leicestershire, the sixth of seven children of John William Fox, coalminer, and his wife, Julia Sophia, née Stinson. He was educated at Ashby-de-la-Zouch grammar school before proceeding in 1933, with scholarships, to ...

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Caroline Joyce Fryd (1909–2000) by Paul Caplan, 1996 Paul Caplan / Mencap