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Birrell, Augustine (1850–1933), politician and author, was born at Wavertree, near Liverpool, on 19 January 1850, the younger son of Charles Morton Birrell, a Baptist minister, and Harriet Jane Grey, daughter of Henry Grey, Free Church of Scotland minister. Though he later became an agnostic, he always retained a deep respect for the Liberal nonconformist tradition of his ...

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Augustine Birrell (1850–1933) by Sir William Orpen, 1909 courtesy the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin

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Boyle, Edward Charles Gurney, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981), politician, was born at 63 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London, on 31 August 1923, elder son in the family of two sons and one daughter of Sir Edward Boyle (1878–1945), second baronet, barrister, writer, and company director, and his wife, ...

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Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981) by Godfrey Argent, 1969 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brendan Rendall Bracken, Viscount Bracken (1901–1958) by unknown photographer, 1941 © reserved; collection Science & Society Picture Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bracken, Brendan Rendall, Viscount Bracken (1901–1958), politician and publisher, was born on 15 February 1901 at Church Street, Templemore, co. Tipperary, the second son and third of the four children of Joseph Kevin Bracken (1852–1904), builder and monumental mason, and his second wife, ...

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Bright, Jacob (1821–1899), politician, was born on 26 May 1821 at Green Bank, Conkeyshaw, Rochdale, the fourth son in the family of eleven children of Jacob Bright (1775–1851) and his wife, Martha Wood (1788/9–1830). John Bright (1811–1889) was his elder brother, and Priscilla McLaren (1815–1906)...

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Buchanan, George (1890–1955), politician, was born in Glasgow on 30 November 1890 in Naburn Street, Gorbals, the constituency he would later represent as MP. His father, George Buchanan, a joiner, came from Kilberry in Argyll and his mother, Ann Mackay, was born in ...

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George Buchanan (1890–1955) by Walter Stoneman, 1946 © 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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John Elliott Burns (1858–1943) by John Collier, 1889 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Childers, (Robert) Erskine (1870–1922), author and politician, was born in London on 25 June 1870, the second son of Robert Caesar Childers (1838–1876), a distinguished orientalist, and his wife, Anna Mary Henrietta (d. 1883), daughter of Thomas Johnston Barton of Glendalough House, co. Wicklow...

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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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Herbert Albert Laurens Fisher (1865–1940) by Olive Edis, c. 1930 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fisher, Herbert Albert Laurens (1865–1940), historian and politician, was born at 3 Onslow Square, London, on 21 March 1865.

In his posthumously published Unfinished Autobiography Fisher...

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Foster, Sir Michael (1836–1907), physiologist and politician, was born in Huntingdon on 8 March 1836, the eldest child of the three sons and seven daughters of Michael Foster (1810–1880) and his wife, Mercy Cooper. Foster was the descendant of a line of nonconformist farmers in ...

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Sir Michael Foster (1836–1907) by John Collier, 1907 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Graham, Robert Bontine Cunninghame (1852–1936), traveller, author, and politician, was born at 5 Cadogan Place, London, on 24 May 1852, the eldest of the three sons of William Cunninghame Bontine (1825–1883), of Gartmore, Perthshire, and Ardoch, Dunbartonshire, a major in the Scots Greys...

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Greenwood, Sir Granville George (1850–1928), politician and animal welfare reformer, was born in London on 3 January 1850, the second son of John Greenwood QC (1800–1871) of the western circuit (solicitor to the Treasury, 1866–71) and his wife, Fanny H. Welch, daughter of ...

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Mary Agnes Hamilton (1882–1966) by Peggy Smith, 1930 © reserved; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London