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Arch, Joseph (1826–1919), trade unionist and politician, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, on 10 November 1826, the son of John Arch (b. c.1793), a shepherd, and Hannah Pace (c.1783–1845). Before her marriage his mother worked as a domestic servant in ...

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Joseph Arch (1826–1919) by Barraud, c. 1890 Getty Images – Barraud

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Bolton, Sir John Brown (1902–1980), politician in the Isle of Man and accountant, was born on 20 January 1902 in Methwold, Norfolk, the eldest of four sons of the Revd Richard Bolton (1867–1951), Primitive Methodist minister, and his wife, Charlotte, née Brown (1865–1962)...

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Crawford, William (1833–1890), trade unionist and politician, was born at Whitley in Northumberland, the son of William Crawford, a miner. Little is known of his early years, except that he suffered a serious injury when sent to work in the pits at about the age of ten. Doctors wanted to amputate his leg but his father refused. He was able to attend ...

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Edwards, Enoch (1852–1912), trade union leader and politician, was born on 10 April 1852 in the north Staffordshire coal-mining village of Talk-o'-the-Hill, the eldest son of James Edwards, a coal-miner, and his wife, Eliza Boulton. Little is known about his private life except that he married ...

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Sir George Edwards (1850–1933) by Claude Harris © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edwards, Sir George (1850–1933), trade unionist and politician, was born on 5 March 1850 at Marsham in Norfolk, the son of Thomas Edwards and his wife, Mary. His father, a discharged soldier, was a bullock feeder and his mother a handloom weaver. He was the youngest of four children of his mother's second marriage. He had two older brothers and a sister, and three stepbrothers, who did not live with the family....

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Fenwick, Charles (1850–1918), trade union leader and politician, was born on 5 May 1850, the son of John Fenwick, a miner, in a colliery house at Paradise Row, Cramlington, Northumberland. Although he spent some time at the village school, his considerable education was primarily the result of his own efforts. In later life, he cited ...

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Gooch, Edwin George (1889–1964), politician and trade unionist, was born in Fairland Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, on 15 January 1889, the youngest son in the family of at least five sons and three daughters of Simon Gooch (1843–1912), a master blacksmith and 'an ardent Liberal' in politics, and his wife, ...

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Hartshorn, Vernon (1872–1931), trade union leader and politician, was born at Cross Keys, Pont-y-Waun, Monmouthshire, on 16 March 1872, the elder son of Theophilus Hartshorn, coalminer, and his wife, Helen Gregory, daughter of a farm labourer. He began work in the mines before taking employment as a clerk in a colliery company's office at ...

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Vernon Hartshorn (1872–1931) by Bassano, 1924 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lunn, William (1872–1942), trade unionist and politician, was born in the pit village of Rothwell, 4 miles south-east of Leeds, on 1 November 1872, the son of Thomas Lunn, a coalminer, and his wife, Mary Emma Jackson. After attending Rothwell board school he followed his father into the pits and union politics, starting work at ...

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Charles James Simmons (1893–1975) by Elliott & Fry, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Simmons, Charles James [Jim] (1893–1975), politician and evangelical preacher, was born at 30 Brighton Road, Moseley, Birmingham, on 9 April 1893, the eldest son of James Henry Simmons (1867–1941), journeyman and later master painter, and his wife, Mary Jane, née Russell (1872–1958), a schoolteacher. His parents were Primitive Methodists, temperance advocates, and Liberals. His maternal grandfather, ...

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Spoor, Benjamin Charles [Ben] (1878–1928), politician, was born at Dent's Villa, Woodside, Bishop Auckland, co. Durham, on 2 June 1878, the eldest son and second child of John Joseph Spoor (1852–1932), ironmonger, plumber, and gas fitter, and his wife, Merrion, née Graham (1853–1899)...

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John Wilson (1837–1915) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1897 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wilson, John (1837–1915), trade unionist and politician, was born on 26 June 1837 at Greatham near Hartlepool in co. Durham, the son of Christopher Wilson, labourer, poacher, and tramping quarryman, and his wife, Hannah (née Sponton). His mother died when he was only four and he spent much of the next seven or eight years accompanying his father as he moved around the country looking for work. His education was restricted to intermittent attendance at a series of dame-schools, but he had become a fluent reader by the age of six. His father died suddenly during the cholera epidemic of 1849 leaving the twelve-year-old ...