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John Chilembwe (c. 1870–1915) by unknown photographer [with members of his family] © reserved / London Library

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Chilembwe, John (c. 1870–1915), Baptist minister and anti-colonial rebel, was probably born at Sangano, Chiradzulu, in modern Malawi, of a Yao father (reportedly called Kaundama), and a Mang'anja or Cewa slave mother (reportedly called Nyangu). Very little is known of his early life. He acquired a basic knowledge of English from one of the earliest outposts of Scottish Presbyterian missionaries. In 1892 he became ‘cook boy’ to the recently arrived independent English missionary ...

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Cooper, Thomas (1805–1892), Chartist and religious lecturer, was born on 20 March 1805 in Leicester, the illegitimate son of a dyer. His mother continued working as a dyer after the early death of Cooper's father, which indicates that the relationship was more than transitory. Living in ...

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

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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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Richard Burdon Haldane, Viscount Haldane (1856–1928) by Lafayette, 1906 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Haldane, Richard Burdon, Viscount Haldane (1856–1928), politician, educationist, and lord chancellor, was born at 17 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, on 30 July 1856. He was the second son (but first surviving infancy) of Robert Haldane (1805–1877), writer to the signet and a Baptist, and his second wife, ...

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Pankhurst, Richard Marsden (1835/6–1898), barrister and political activist, was born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the second son and third of four children of Henry Francis Pankhurst (1808–1873), auctioneer, and his wife, Margaret, née Marsden (1803–1879). No exact date for his birth has been located, and census returns yield contradictory information about his age. About 1847 the family moved to ...