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Adams, Fanny (1859–1867), murder victim and source of a colloquial expression, was born on 30 April 1859 in Tanhouse Lane, Alton, Hampshire, the fourth of seven children of George Adams (b. 1830), a labourer, later a bricklayer, and his wife, Harriet Mills (...

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Alderson, Thomas Hopper (1903–1965), wartime rescue party leader, was born at Ashburne Stables, Sunderland, on 15 September 1903, the fifth of six children and first son of Thomas Alderson (1864–1945), domestic coachman, and his wife, Sarah Annie, née Hopper (1872–1942). He was educated at a village school; then at ...

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See Henry Frederick, Prince, duke of Cumberland and Strathearn

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Annesley, Richard, sixth earl of Anglesey (bap. 1693, d. 1761), kidnapper and bigamist, was baptized on 26 November 1693 at St Peter's Cathedral, Exeter, Devon, the third son of Dr Richard Annesley (1654/5–1701), dean of Exeter, from c.1700 third Baron Altham, and his wife, ...

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Mary Anning (1799–1847) by unknown artist, before 1842 © The Natural History Museum, London

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Anning, Mary (1799–1847), fossil collector and dealer, was born on 21 May 1799 in a seaside house in Lyme Regis, Dorset. She and her brother Joseph (1796–1849) were the only surviving children of Richard Anning (c.1766–1810), cabinet-maker and carpenter, and his wife, ...

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Elizabeth Bridget Armitstead (1750–1842) by unknown artist © reserved

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Armitstead [née Cane; married name Fox], Elizabeth Bridget (1750–1842), courtesan, was, according to an entry in her journal, born on 11 July 1750. Her parentage, place of birth, and reason for changing her maiden name to Armitstead are unknown, as are the circumstances surrounding her emergence as a prominent courtesan. About 1774 she became the mistress of ...

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Baartman, Sara [performing name the Hottentot Venus] (1777x88–1815/16), celebrity and subject of scientific speculation, was born in the Cape of Good Hope and was a member of the Khoisan people, who were also called Hottentot. Altick claims she was a daughter of a drover who had been killed by Bushmen, though nothing more is known of her parents. Her original name is not known, but as a servant of the Dutch farmer ...

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See Macdonald sisters

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Balfour [née Lytton], Elizabeth Edith [Betty], countess of Balfour (1867–1942), social hostess and biographer, was born on 12 June 1867 at Hyde Park Gate, London, the eldest of the five surviving children of Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, first earl of Lytton (1831–1891), viceroy, diplomat, and poet, and his wife, ...

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James Barry (c. 1799–1865) by unknown photographer, c. 1860 [left, with a servant] Trustees of the Army Medical Services Museum

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Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite, was probably born Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Bulkley or Bulkeley, the sister of the artist James Barry; her paternity is in doubt. From the age of ten she dressed and presented herself as a man, but the woman who laid out her corpse declared that she was female: '...

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Barry, Richard, seventh earl of Barrymore (1769–1793), rake and actor, was born on 14 August 1769, probably in London, the second child and eldest of three sons of Richard Barry, sixth earl of Barrymore (1745–1773), and Lady Emily Stanhope (1749–1780), daughter of William Stanhope, ...

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Beadon, Frederick (1777–1879), Church of England clergyman and centenarian, third son of the Revd Edward Beadon, rector of North Stoneham, Hampshire, was born in London on 6 December 1777. He was educated at Charterhouse School and at Trinity College, Oxford. He took orders in 1801, and was shortly afterwards presented by his uncle, ...

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Beecham, (Helen) Audrey (1915–1989), poet and eccentric, was born at Weaverham, Cheshire, on 21 July 1915, the eldest of five children and only daughter of Henry (Harry) Beecham (1888–1947) and his wife, Ethel Anne Baxter (d. 1951). Her great-grandfather, Thomas Beecham, founded the family fortune with his celebrated pills; ...

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Belasyse [née Cromwell], Mary, Countess Fauconberg (bap. 1637, d. 1713), daughter of Oliver Cromwell, was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire, and baptized at St John's Church, Huntingdon, on 9 February 1637, the eighth of nine children and the third of four daughters of ...

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(William) John Cavendish-Scott- Bentinck [Lord John Bentinck], fifth duke of Portland (1800–1879) by Richard Dighton unknown collection; photograph Sotheby's Picture Library, London / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bentinck, (William) John Cavendish-Scott- [formerly Lord John Bentinck], fifth duke of Portland (1800–1879), recluse, son of William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, fourth duke (1768–1854), who in 1795 assumed the additional surname of Scott by royal licence, and Henrietta (d. 1844), eldest daughter and coheir of ...

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Berkeley, Lady Henrietta [Harriett] (b. in or after 1664, d. 1706), figure of scandal, was a younger daughter of George Berkeley, first earl of Berkeley (1626/7–1698), and his wife, Elizabeth (d. 1708), daughter of John Massingberd. Little is known of her early life. But in 1682 ...