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Banks, Iain (1954–2013), author and composer, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 16 February 1954, the only surviving child (he had a sister who died at six weeks) of Thomas Menzies (Tom) Banks (1918–2009), an Admiralty officer at the Rosyth naval base, and his wife, ...

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Iain Banks (1954–2013) by Mark Gerson, 1985 © Mark Gerson / Bridgeman Art Library

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Beecham, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1879–1961), conductor, was born on 29 April 1879 in Westfield Street, St Helens, Lancashire, the elder son and second child of Sir Joseph Beecham, first baronet (1848–1916), manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Josephine Burnett, née Dickins (1850–1934). The family's prosperity began with ...

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Sir Thomas Beecham, second baronet (1879–1961) by Stephen Glass © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Brooksbank [née Soutar], Mary Watson (1897–1978), revolutionary and songwriter, was born on 15 December 1897 at 29 Shiprow, Aberdeen, the only daughter of five children born to Alexander Soutar (1867–1953), dock labourer and founding member of Aberdeen Dockers' Union, and his wife, ...

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Henry Burstow (1826–1916) by Bonmarché, c. 1911 Horsham Museum (Horsham District Council)

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Burstow, Henry (1826–1916), singer and bell-ringer, was born on 11 December 1826 at 34 The Bishopric, Horsham, Sussex, the second youngest of nine children. His father, William (b. 1781), and mother, Ellen (d. 1857) made clay tobacco pipes; their home, in the poorest and roughest part of ...

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Bush, Alan Dudley (1900–1995), composer, was born in Dulwich, London, on 22 December 1900, the son of Alfred Walter Bush (1869–1935), director of W. J. Bush & Co., manufacturing chemists, and his wife, Alice Maud Brinsley (1870–1951). He was educated privately, then at ...

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Alan Dudley Bush (1900–1995) by Elliott & Fry, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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(Philip) Christian Darnton (1905–1981) by Howard Coster, 1940 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Darnton, (Philip) Christian (1905–1981), composer and writer, was born on 30 October 1905 in Leeds, the third son and third among the three children of John Edward Darnton, formerly von Schunck (1869–1940), landowner, and his wife, Mary Gertrude (1871–1952), daughter of Henry Illingworth...

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Delius, Frederick Theodor Albert (1862–1934), composer, was born on 29 January 1862 at Claremont, Horton Lane, Bradford, Yorkshire, the grandson of Ernst Friedrich Delius (1790–1831) and the fourth of the fourteen children of Julius Delius (1822–1901) and his wife, Elise Pauline Krönig (1838–1929)...

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Frederick Theodor Albert Delius (1862–1934) by Ernest Procter, 1929 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Henderson, Hamish Scott (1919–2002), poet, singer, and folklorist, was born James Scott Henderson on armistice day, 11 November 1919, at Ramleh, Perth Road, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, the son of Janet Jobson Henderson (d. 1933), a cook and housekeeper who had served as a nurse on the western front. His father was ...

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Holmes, Henry (1839–1905), violinist and composer, was born on 7 November 1839 at 1 Cross Street, Westminster, London, the second son of Thomas Holmes of Lincoln, a shoemaker, and his wife, Eliza, née Sutch. He went to school at the oratory, King William Street, Strand...

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Keal, Minna (1909–1999), composer, was born Minnie Nerenstein on 22 March 1909 at 81 Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, east London, into a Yiddish-speaking family from Grodno, Russian Poland, the eldest daughter of Jacob Nerenstein (d. 1926), a Jewish prayer-book publisher and seller, and his wife, ...

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Kington, Miles Beresford (1941–2008), humorist, jazz critic, and broadcaster, was born on 13 May 1941 at Down County Infirmary, Downpatrick, co. Down, the elder son of William Beresford Nairn Kington (1909–1982), a brewer then serving as a captain with the 4th Royal Welch Fusiliers...

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Miles Beresford Kington (1941–2008) by unknown photographer, 2006 Rex Features

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Lloyd, Albert Lancaster (1908–1982), ethnomusicologist and radio and television broadcaster, was born on 29 February 1908 at 136A Trevelyan Road, off Tooting High Street, London, the son of Ernest Lancaster Lloyd, a draper's packer, and his wife, Mabel Emily Barrett. His father was an accountant's son from ...

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Newman, Ernest [formerly William Roberts] (1868–1959), music critic, was born William Roberts in Everton, Lancashire, on 30 November 1868, the only child of Seth Roberts, a tailor, and his second wife, Harriet Spark, whose first married name was Jones. Both parents also had families by their first spouses. ...