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Anderson, William Crawford (1877–1919), politician, was born on 13 February 1877 at Findon, Banffshire, Scotland, the son of Francis Anderson, a blacksmith, and Barbara (née Cruikshank), who were married in 1868. His mother was an intelligent and widely read woman of strong, radical, Presbyterian views who encouraged ...

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Ashurst, Elizabeth Ann [Eliza] (c. 1814–1850), translator and campaigner for women's rights and against slavery, was born in Muswell Hill, Middlesex, the eldest child of William Henry Ashurst (bap. 1791?, d. 1855), of Muswell Hill, and his wife, Elizabeth Ann, née Brown (...

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Ashurst, William Henry [pseud. Edward Search] (bap. 1791?, d. 1855), lawyer and radical, was born in London, and was probably the William Henry Ashurst baptized on 20 March 1791 at St Luke's, Old Street, the son of Brusel Ashurst and his wife, ...

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John Ballance (1839–1893) by Alfred Martin, 1875–89 Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa / Tesla Studios Collection (G-70344-1/2)

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Ballance, John (1839–1893), newspaper proprietor and premier of New Zealand, was born on 27 March 1839 at Ballypitmave, near Glenavy, co. Antrim, Ireland, the eldest of the eleven children of Samuel Ballance (1800–1879), a tenant farmer, and his wife, Mary McNiece, the daughter of ...

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Annie Besant (1847–1933) by Hayman Selig Mendelssohn © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Besant [née Wood], Annie (1847–1933), theosophist and politician in India, was born at 2 Fish Street Hill in the City of London on 1 October 1847, the only daughter of William Persse Wood (d. 1852), underwriter, and his wife, Emily Roche Morris (...

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Blount, Charles (1654–1693), freethinker and author, was born at Upper Holloway, Islington, Middlesex, on 27 April 1654 and baptized at Highgate Chapel, Hornsey, on 10 May 1654, the fourth son of Sir Henry Blount (1602–1682), traveller, of Tittenhanger, Hertfordshire, and his wife, Hester (...

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Bonner, Hypatia Bradlaugh (1858–1935), freethinker and radical, was born in London on 30 March 1858 at 3 Hedger's Terrace, Hackney, the second child of Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891), politician and freethinker, and Susannah Lamb Hooper (d. 1877). Her elder sister, Alice Bradlaugh (...

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See Bonner, Hypatia Bradlaugh

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Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891) by Walter Sickert, exh. New English Art Club 1890 © Estate of Walter R. Sickert. All rights reserved, DACS 2010; National Liberal Club; © reserved in the photograph

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Bradlaugh, Charles (1833–1891), politician and freethinker, was born on 26 September 1833 at home at 31 Bacchus Walk, Hoxton, London, the eldest of seven children born to Charles Bradlaugh, a solicitor's clerk, and his wife, Elizabeth Trimby, a former nursemaid. He was baptized at ...

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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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Browne, (Frances Worsley) Stella (1880–1955), feminist and abortion law reformer, was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 9 May 1880, elder daughter of Daniel Marshall Browne RN (1843–1883) and his second wife, Anna Dulcibella Mary Dodwell (1848–1919). Her father drowned on duty with the ...

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Richard Garnett

revised by Elizabeth Baigent

Browne, William George (1768–1813), traveller, was born on Great Tower Hill, London, on 25 July 1768, son of George Browne, wine merchant, and descended from a Cumberland family. He was educated privately until entering Oriel College, Oxford, where, receiving 'no encouragement and little assistance in his academical studies...

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Francis Espinasse

revised by Michael Harris

Chambers, Ephraim (1680?–1740), encyclopaedist, was born at Milton, near Kendal, Westmorland, where his father, Richard Chambers, occupied and owned a small farm. He was one of three sons and two daughters. Educated at Heversham grammar school, Westmorland, he was sent to London...

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Chatterton, Thomas (1752–1770), poet, was born on 20 November 1752 ('on a Monday night between 6 and 7 o'clock') at Pile Street School, Bristol, the posthumous son and third child of Thomas Chatterton (1713–1752), writing master of St Mary Redcliffe Pile Street School...

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Cobban, Alfred Bert Carter (1901–1968), historian, was born on 24 May 1901 at 40 Oakley Crescent, Chelsea, London, the only son of Robert Cobban, a furniture salesman employed by the Army and Navy Stores, and his wife, Edith Frances, née Carter. A quiet, studious boy, he won scholarships to ...

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Collet Dobson Collet (1812–1898) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Collet, Collet Dobson (1812–1898), radical and tax reformer, was born on 31 December 1812 in London. He was the eldest son of John Dobson (1778–1827), a London merchant, and his wife (and first cousin), Elizabeth Barker (1787–1875). Collet assumed the name of his maternal grandparents, as did his sister, ...