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Margaret Grace Bondfield (1873–1953) by Bassano, 1922 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bondfield, Margaret Grace (1873–1953), trade unionist, campaigner for women's interests, and politician, was born on 17 March 1873 at Chard, Somerset, the tenth of eleven children and third of four daughters of William Bondfield (1814–1901), foreman laceworker, and his wife, Anne Taylor (1827?–1911)...

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Coward, William (1647/8–1738), merchant and benefactor of the Coward Trust, was born to unknown parents. Little is known of his early life, but, after establishing himself in the City of London, on 8 May 1676 he married Mary Watson (bap. 1653), whose parents were dead, and moved to ...

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Crossley, John (1812–1879), industrialist and philanthropist, was born on 16 May 1812 in Halifax, the sixth of the eight children of John Crossley (c. 1772–1837) [see under Crossley, Martha], carpet manufacturer, and his wife, Martha Crossley (1775–1854), daughter of Abraham Turner (1747–1805)...

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Minnie Louise Haskins (1875–1957) by Keystone, 1939 © Getty Images

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Haskins, Minnie Louise (1875–1957), author and industrial welfare promoter, was born at 2 Kingswood Hill, Oldland, near Bristol, on 12 May 1875, the second child and eldest daughter of Joseph Haskins (1842–1891), a grocer who acquired a pottery works at Warmley where he manufactured clay drainpipes, and his wife, ...

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Lamb, Thomas (d. 1686), linen draper and philanthropist, was for many years confused with a namesake, a soap-boiler by trade: remarkably, both men were prominent General Baptists. The overwhelming evidence that they were not the same individual includes a petition subscribed in 1656 by two ...

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William Hesketh Lever, first Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925) by William Strang, 1918 University of Liverpool Art Gallery and Collections

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Lever, William Hesketh, first Viscount Leverhulme (1851–1925), soap manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 19 September 1851, at 16 Wood Street, Bolton, seventh child and elder son of James Lever (1809–1897), wholesale and retail grocer, and his wife, Eliza, daughter of William Hesketh...

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Mason, Hugh (1817–1886), mill owner and philanthropist, was born at Stalybridge on 30 January 1817, the third and youngest son of Thomas Mason (1782–1868) and his wife, Mary Woolley (née Holden). His father was a joiner, his mother kept a smallware shop, where she sold tapes and gingerbread. During the boom of 1822–5, ...

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Rylands, John (1801–1888), textile merchant and philanthropist, was born on 7 February 1801 in the village of Parr, near St Helens in Lancashire, the third and youngest son of the five children of Joseph Rylands (1767–1847) and Elizabeth Pilkington Rylands (1761–1829), both of old ...

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Sir Henry Tate, first baronet (1819–1899) by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, 1897 © Tate, London, 2004

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Tate, Sir Henry, first baronet (1819–1899), sugar refiner and benefactor, was born at Chorley in Lancashire on 11 March 1819, the eleventh child of the Revd William Tate (1773–1836), and his wife, Agnes, daughter of Nathaniel Booth of Gildestone, Yorkshire. Tate's parents had twelve children in all, four having died before ...

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Watson, Sir (James) Angus (1874–1961), food manufacturer and philanthropist, was born on 16 January 1874 at Ryton-on-Tyne, Northumberland, the eldest of three children and the only son of Alexander Watson, a sanitary pipe manufacturer, and his wife, Jane Anne, the daughter of the ...

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Sir George Alfred Wills, first baronet (1854–1928) by unknown photographer by kind permission of Imperial Tobacco

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Wills, Sir George Alfred, first baronet (1854–1928), tobacco manufacturer and benefactor, was born at Rusholme Villas, Victoria Road, Kingsdown, Bristol, on 3 June 1854, the eldest son of Henry Overton Wills (1828–1911), tobacco manufacturer, of Kelston Knoll, near Bath, and his wife, Alice Hopkinson...

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Wills, William Henry, first Baron Winterstoke (1830–1911), tobacco manufacturer and philanthropist, was born at Bristol on 1 September 1830, the second son and only surviving child of William Day Wills (1797–1865) [see under Wills family (per. c. 1786-1928)], tobacco manufacturer, and his wife, ...