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Alden, Sir Percy (1865–1944), social worker and politician, was born at Walton Street, in St Thomas's parish, Oxford, on 6 June 1865, the third of six sons (there was also a daughter) of Isaac Alden (b. 1834), a master butcher, and his wife, ...

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Arnold, Sydney, Baron Arnold (1878–1945), politician, was born at Hazel Bank, Hazel Road, Altrincham, on 13 January 1878, the son of William Ashness Arnold, stockbroker, and his wife, Sarah Anne, daughter of Charles Linney. Baptized at Bowden Downs Congregational Church, he was educated at ...

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Asquith, Herbert Henry, first earl of Oxford and Asquith (1852–1928), prime minister, was born on 12 September 1852 at Croft House, Morley, Yorkshire. He was registered at birth as Herbert Asquith, and was known by that name until he was about forty, being called ...

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Herbert Henry Asquith, first earl of Oxford and Asquith (1852–1928) by George Charles Beresford, 1908 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Baines, Sir Edward (1800–1890), journalist, politician, and educationist, was born in Leeds on 28 May 1800, the second son of Edward Baines (1774–1848), editor of the Leeds Mercury, and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of Matthew Talbot, a Leeds currier. Matthew Talbot Baines and ...

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Balfour, Jabez Spencer (1843–1916), company promoter and politician, was born in Marylebone, Middlesex, on 4 September 1843, the younger son of James Balfour (1796–1884) and Clara Lucas Balfour (1808–1878), who were prominent workers in the mid-Victorian temperance movement. Balfour's career is best understood in the context of the increasingly prominent part played by militant middle-class nonconformists in the business world, in the ...

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Batchelor, John (1820–1883), politician and businessman, was born on 10 April in Newport, Monmouthshire, the second son among the twelve children of Benjamin Batchelor, a timber merchant and shipbuilder. He was educated locally in a private school before being apprenticed to his father. He subsequently visited shipyards in ...

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Benn, Anthony Neil Wedgwood [Tony], second Viscount Stansgate (disclaimed for life) (1925–2014), politician, was born on 3 April 1925 at 40 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, the second of three surviving sons of William Wedgwood Benn (1877–1960), politician, and his wife, ...

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Benn, Sir John Williams, first baronet (1850–1922), publisher and politician, was born at Hyde, Cheshire, on 13 November 1850, the eldest child of the Revd Julius Benn (1826–1883), Congregational minister, and his wife, Ann Taylor (d. 1890). The family settled in Stepney...

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Sir John Williams Benn, first baronet (1850–1922) by Sir George Clausen, 1906 Guildhall Art Gallery, Corporation of London

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Bessell, Peter Joseph (1921–1985), politician and businessman, was born on 24 August 1921 at Elm Bank Nursing Home, Bath, the only son of Joseph Edgar Bessell, tailor, and his wife, Olive Simons Hawkins. His parents divorced in 1926 and Bessell was brought up by his father. Educated at ...

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Blagrave, Daniel (bap. 1603, d. 1668?), politician and regicide, was baptized on 20 November 1603 at St Mary's, Reading, the fifth son of Alexander Blagrave (d. 1612), a clothier of Southcote Lodge, Berkshire, and his wife, Margaret. A nephew of the mathematician ...

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Blakiston, John (bap. 1603, d. 1649), politician and regicide, was baptized on 21 August 1603 at Sedgefield in co. Durham, the third son of Marmaduke Blakiston (1565–1639) and Margaret James (1575–1636). He was apprenticed to Christopher Shafto of Newcastle upon Tyne, probably in 1613, and became a free burgess, as a mercer, in 1627. Later, royalists described him as either a pedlar, butcher, chandler, or shopkeeper, but such disparaging comments cannot detract from the fact that by 1632 he was one of ...

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

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Breman [Braman], John (bap. 1627, d. 1703), army officer, politician, and conspirator, was baptized on 27 March 1627 at Alton, Hampshire, the eldest surviving son of Thomas Braman (d. 1661), mercer of Alton. He first appears in 1647 as one of the regimental agitators of the ...

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Callender, William Romaine (1825–1876), cotton spinner and politician, was born on 2 June 1825 at 7 Nelson Street, Chorlton Row, Manchester, the elder son of William Romaine Callender (1794–1872), merchant and calico printer, and his first wife, Hannah, the daughter of Samuel Pope...

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Corbett, Miles (1594/5–1662), politician and regicide, was probably born in Sprowston, Norfolk, where several generations of the Corbett family are buried, the second son of Sir John Corbett, baronet (d. 1628), who married a daughter of Sir Arthur Capel. A pedigree compiled between 1655 and 1659 lists ...

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Cossham, Handel (1824–1890), colliery owner and politician, was born on 31 March 1824 at Fore Street, Thornbury, Gloucestershire, in the same room where his father and grandfather had been delivered, the son of Jesse Cossham (1799–1887), a carpenter, and his wife, Sarah, née...

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Crooks, William [Will] (1852–1921), politician, was born on 6 April 1852 at 2 Shirbutt Street, a one-roomed house near the docks at Poplar in the East End of London. He was the third of seven children of Caroline, née Coates (b. c...