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Alexander, Sir Kenneth John Wilson [Ken] (1922–2001), economist, university administrator, and public servant, was born on 14 March 1922 at 12 Kilmaurs Terrace, Edinburgh, the only son of William Wilson Alexander (1888–1930), lawyer, and his wife, Mary Logan Grahame, née Wilson (1888–1975), tailoress. He won a scholarship to ...

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Armstrong, William, Baron Armstrong of Sanderstead (1915–1980), civil servant and banker, was born in the Salvation Mothers' Home, Mare Street, Clapton, London, on 3 March 1915, the elder son of William Armstrong, of Stirling, and his wife, Priscilla Hopkins. Both his parents were ...

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William Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Sanderstead (1915–1980) by Arnold Newman, 1978 Arnold Newman / Getty Images; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cowan, Sir Robert (1932–1993), businessman and public servant, was born on 27 July 1932 at Inverleith, Edinburgh, the youngest child and only son of John McQueen Cowan (1892–1960) and his wife, Adeline May, née Organe (d. 1981). His father, a distinguished botanist on the staff of the ...

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Durant, Henry William (1902–1982), opinion pollster and market researcher, was born at 42 Drummond Road, Bermondsey, London, on 23 October 1902, the first son and second of the five children of Henry William Durant (1870–1913), general warehouseman and later a foreman in a grain mill, and his wife, ...

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Engels, Friedrich [Frederick] (1820–1895), businessman and revolutionary leader, was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, Westphalia, the son of Friedrich Engels (1796–1860), a textile manufacturer, and Elizabeth, née van Haar (1797–1873), the daughter of a schoolmaster of Dutch origin. Frederick (as he came to be known in ...

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Fawcett, Henry (1833–1884), economist and politician, was born on 26 August 1833 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, the third of four children of William Fawcett (1793–1887), a draper, and his wife, Mary Cooper (d. 1889), the daughter of a local solicitor. Henry's brothers, William...

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Kalecki, Michał (1899–1970), economist and policy adviser, was born on 22 June 1899 into a Polish-Jewish family in Łódź, now in Poland, then occupied by Russia. He was the only child of Abram Kalecki (d. 1933), the owner of a small cotton mill, and his wife, ...

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James Maitland, eighth earl of Lauderdale (1759–1839) by Thomas Phillips, 1806 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Maitland, James, eighth earl of Lauderdale (1759–1839), politician and political economist, was born on 26 January 1759 at Hatton House, Ratho, Edinburghshire. He was the eldest surviving son of the six sons and six daughters of James Maitland, seventh earl of Lauderdale (1718–1789)...

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Marcroft, William (1822–1894), co-operative movement activist and company promoter, was born on 15 July 1822 at Box Cottage, Fog Lane, Middleton, Lancashire, the illegitimate son of Sally Marcroft (1801–1841), a farm servant, and Richard Howarth, a weaver. Shortly after his birth he and his mother moved to ...

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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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Muirhead, Roland Eugene (1868–1964), Scottish nationalist and businessman, was born on 24 July 1868 at Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland, the second son of Andrew Muirhead (d. 1885), the owner of the Gryffe tannery, and his wife, Isabella Reid. He was educated in Glasgow high school...

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Ricardo, David (1772–1823), political economist, was born on 18 April 1772 at 36 Broad Street Buildings in the City of London, the third surviving child of Abraham Israel Ricardo (1733?–1812) and his wife, Abigail Delvalle (1753–1801). Sarah Ricardo Porter was his sister. The ...

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David Ricardo (1772–1823) by Thomas Phillips, exh. RA 1821 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Alexander Robson (1895–1980) by Elliott & Fry, 1963 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Robson, William Alexander (1895–1980), jurist and reformer, was born on 14 July 1895 at Finchley, Middlesex, the first son and youngest of three children of Jack Robson, born Jacob Alexander Isaacs, a dealer in pearls in Hatton Garden, and his wife, Esther Louisa Afriat...

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Service, James (1823–1899), politician and businessman in Australia, was born on 27 November 1823 at Kilwinning, Ayrshire, the son of Robert Service (1794–1883), a sewing agent and lay preacher, and his wife, Agnes, née Niven. He was educated at Kilwinning and at Glasgow College...

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James Service (1823–1899) by Freeman and Co., pubd 1899 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thompson, William (1775–1833), socialist and economist, was born into an ascendancy family at Cork. His grandfather was a protestant clergyman and his father, John Thompson, a wealthy Cork merchant who became speaker and mayor of the municipality and later high sheriff of the county. ...