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William Almack (d. 1781) by Richard Josey (after Thomas Gainsborough) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Almack, William (d. 1781), founder of club and assembly rooms, was born in Thirsk, in the North Riding of Yorkshire—not, as was sometimes stated by his contemporaries, in Scotland. In his youth he moved to London to work as a valet to the ...

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Broadhead, William (1815–1879), trade unionist and publican, was born at Whirlow, near Sheffield, in September 1815. As a boy he worked with his father, who was a foreman in a saw-grinding workshop in Garden Street in Sheffield. On leaving his father, he worked for a time as a saw grinder at ...

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Sir William Heygate Edmund Colborne Butlin (1899–1980) by Elliott & Fry, 1961 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Butlin, Sir William Heygate Edmund Colborne [Billy] (1899–1980), fairground proprietor and founder of holiday camps, was born in Cape Town, Cape Colony, where his parents had emigrated, on 29 September 1899, the elder child of William Butlin and Bertha Hill (d. 1933)...

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Evans, Rudolph Bayfield [Rudy] [performing name André de Dakar] (1897–1987), singer, actor, and entrepreneur, was born at Monkey Hill, Panama, on 23 February 1897, the eighth son and ninth of the ten children of Edward John Rhodes Evans (b. 1853), a land and property owner, and his wife, ...

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Forbes [née St Clair-Erskine], Lady Angela Selina Bianca (1876–1950), wartime catering organizer, was born at 8 Grafton Street, Mayfair, London, on 11 June 1876, the fifth of the five children of Robert Francis St Clair-Erskine, fourth earl of Rosslyn (1833–1890), and seventh child of his wife, ...

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Hughes [née Rogers], Victoria (1897–1978), lavatory attendant and author, was born on 22 June 1897 at Woodbury Lane, off Blackboy Hill, Bristol, the fifth of ten children of Alfred William Rogers, a scaffolder, and his wife, Ellen Rogers. She was educated at ...

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Lemon, Denis Edward (1945–1994), newspaper proprietor and restaurateur, was born on 11 August 1945 at Berryfield House, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, the eldest child and only son of Albert Edward Lemon, an executive officer with the Assistance Board, and his partner, Jane Kenyon, formerly Unsworth (1912–1988)...

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Denis Edward Lemon (1945–1994) by unknown photographer, 1977 Getty Images

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Robin McDouall

revised by Anita McConnell

Lewis [née Ovenden], Rosa (1867–1952), hotel proprietor, was born on 26 September 1867 at Leyton, Essex, the fifth of the nine children of William Edwin Ovenden (d. 1910), watchmaker and later undertaker, and his wife, Eliza, daughter of John Cannon, jeweller, and great-niece of ...

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Lynn, William (1792–1870), hotelier and sports promoter, was born in 1792 at East Grinstead, but nothing else is known about his early life. He first ventured into the catering trade in London before moving to Liverpool, where in the 1820s he leased the ...

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Deen Mahomed (1759–1851) by Thomas Mann Baynes Wellcome Library, London

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Mahomed, Deen [formerly Deen Mahomet] (1759–1851), shampooing surgeon and restaurateur, was born Deen Mahomet in May 1759, in Patna, Bihar, India, the younger son of an Indian officer in the East India Company's Bengal army. Both parents were Shi'i Muslims claiming descent from ...

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Massingberd, Emily Caroline Langton (1847–1897), women's club founder and temperance campaigner, was born at 43 Durnford Street, East Stonehouse, Devon, on 19 December 1847, the first of the three children of Charles Langton Massingberd (1815–1887), a landowner, and his first wife, Harriett Anne (...

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Kate Evelyn Meyrick (1875–1933) by unknown photographer [centre, with four of her children: (left to right) Nancy, Anne, May (the countess of Kinnoull), and Gordon] © Science & Society Picture Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Meyrick [née Nason], Kate Evelyn (1875–1933), nightclub owner, was born on 7 August 1875 at 24 Cambridge Terrace, Kingstown, Dublin, the younger daughter of John William Washington Nason (c.1842–1876), a physician of Kingstown, who was heir to property at Newtown...

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Mountain, Sarah Ann (1769/70–1842), coach and inn proprietor, married Butler William Mountain (1759–1818) not later than 1790. His father, William Mountain, had been admitted to the Innholders' Company in 1772, his inn being the Swan with Two Necks, Lad Lane, one of London's...

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Nelson [née Abbat], Ann (1769/70–1852), coach proprietor and innkeeper, was probably the Ann Abbat, daughter of Robert and Ann Abbat, baptized at St Mary's, Whitechapel, on 11 March 1772. On 18 January 1790 she married Edward Nelson at St Leonard, Shoreditch. In December of the same year ...

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Shepheard, Samuel (1816–1866), hotel proprietor, was born on 21 January 1816 at Little Preston Manor, Preston Capes, Northamptonshire, the second son and third child of Richard Shepheard (d. 1820), farmer, and his wife, Jane Berwick (d. 1817). Both parents died before he was four, and ...