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Abbatt [née Cobb], (Nora) Marjorie (1899–1991), promoter of toy design and businesswoman, was born on 18 March 1899 at 12 Lovelace Gardens, Surbiton, Surrey, the elder daughter of Edward Rhodes Cobb (1872-1965), a well-to-do fur broker, and his wife Marion Murray ...

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Jennifer Mary Victoria D'Abo (1945–2003) by unknown photographer, 1990 UPPA/Photoshot

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D'Abo [née Maude], Jennifer Mary Victoria (1945–2003), businesswoman, was born on 14 August 1945 at the London Clinic, 20 Devonshire Place, London, the elder of the two daughters of Michael William Vernon Maude, later Hammond-Maude (d. 1995), diplomat and land agent, of ...

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Adamson, Daniel (1820–1890), engineer and entrepreneur, was born on 30 April 1820 at Shildon, co. Durham. He was the thirteenth of fifteen children, seven sons and eight daughters, born to Daniel Adamson, landlord of the Grey Horse at Shildon, and his wife, Ann...

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John Derby Allcroft (1822–1893) by Sir Francis Grant, 1873 photograph by courtesy Sotheby's Picture Library, London

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Allcroft, John Derby (1822–1893), glove manufacturer and entrepreneur, was born in Worcester on 19 July 1822, only son and elder child of Jeremiah Macklin Allcroft (1791–1867), who was a partner in the glove manufacturing firm of J. and W. Dent & Co. His mother, ...

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Allen, William Edward David [pseuds. James Drennan, Liam Pawle] (1901–1973), historian and businessman, was born on 6 January 1901 at 12 Sussex Place, Regent's Park, London, the eldest of the three sons of William Edward Allen (1860–1919), printer and theatre owner, and his wife, ...

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Thomas Richard Allinson (1858–1918) by Ray, pubd 1911 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allinson, Thomas Richard (1858–1918), dietitian and businessman, was born at 43 Rumford Street, Hulme, Lancashire, on 29 March 1858, the son of Thomas Allinson, a bookkeeper, and his wife, Ellen (formerly Sims). He left school at fifteen and, aiming to be a doctor, he subsidized his studies by becoming a chemist's assistant. In 1879 he graduated LRCP (...

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Alsager, Thomas Massa (1779–1846), financial journalist and businessman, was born on 27 September 1779, probably at Southwark, Surrey, the fifth of the nine or ten children of Thomas Alsager (1738?–1790), a setter in the cloth trade, and his wife, Mary, née Crosby (...

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See Industrial spies

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Anderson, Adam (1692–1765), historian of commerce, was born in Aberdeen, and was baptized on 2 May 1692 at St Nicholas's Church, Aberdeen, the son of James Anderson and his wife, Jean, née Campbell, but nothing else is known about his origins or early life, although he did take university arts classes at ...

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Andrews, William (1835–1914), industrial designer, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in Coventry on 17 March 1835, the only son of three children of James and Isabella Andrews. His father was a Scot, a former regular soldier, and small businessman of Coventry. Andrews attended ...

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Assheton, Ralph, first Baron Clitheroe (1901–1984), politician and businessman, was born at Downham Hall, Clitheroe, on 24 February 1901, the second of four children and only son of Sir Ralph Cockayne Assheton, first baronet (1860–1955), of Downham Hall, and his wife, Mildred Estelle Sybella (...

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Baillie, Lady Grisell (1665–1746), heroine and business woman, was born on 25 December 1665 at Redbraes Castle, Berwickshire, the eldest survivor of the eighteen children of Sir Patrick Hume (or Home) of Polwarth, later first earl of Marchmont (1641–1724), and Grisell Kerr (...

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Balfour, Jabez Spencer (1843–1916), company promoter and politician, was born in Marylebone, Middlesex, on 4 September 1843, the younger son of James Balfour (1796–1884) and Clara Lucas Balfour (1808–1878), who were prominent workers in the mid-Victorian temperance movement. Balfour's career is best understood in the context of the increasingly prominent part played by militant middle-class nonconformists in the business world, in the ...

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Bamford, Joseph Cyril (1916–2001), engineer and businessman, was born on 21 June 1916 at The Parks, New Road, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, the son of Cyril Joseph Bamford, agricultural engineer, and his wife, Dolores Alice, née Turner. His family controlled and managed a long-established farm machinery business. The company, which manufactured balers and other equipment, had been started by his great-great-grandfather in 1812. He was brought up a Roman Catholic. After education at ...

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Joseph Cyril Bamford (1916–2001) by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies, 1989 © Lucinda Douglas-Menzies; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barnes, Isaac Edmestone (1857–1930), land surveyor and businessman, was born on 2 June 1857 in Highholborn Street, Kingston, Jamaica, the eldest legitimate son of William Barnes (1832–1891) and his wife, Amelia, née Johnson (c.1834–1893), coffee planters of Kraal district in the mountains of ...

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Barratt, Thomas James (1841–1914), soap manufacturer and pioneer of advertising, was born on 16 May 1841 at 25 Tottenham Place, St Pancras, London, the son of Thomas Barratt, a piano maker, and his wife, Emma Price. He was educated at a private day school, and at fifteen was apprenticed to a firm of ...