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William Abraham [Mabon] (1842–1922) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1901 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Abraham, William [pseud. Mabon] (1842–1922), trade unionist and politician, was born at Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Glamorgan, on 14 June 1842, the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Abraham. His father, a coalminer and copper smelter, soon died, leaving his mother to raise a large family. ...

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Adamson, William [Willie] (1863–1936), politician and trade unionist, was born at Halbeath, near Dunfermline in Fife, on 2 April 1863, the son of James Armstrong Adamson, a coalminer, and Flora Cunningham. He attended a dame-school run by the wife of a mining engineer, and left at the age of eleven to work in the mining industry, where he was employed for the next twenty-seven years. He married, on 25 February 1887, ...

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William Adamson (1863–1936) by Bassano, 1920 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ammon, Charles George, Baron Ammon (1873–1960), trade unionist and politician, was born on 22 April 1873 into a poor working-class family in White Street, Southwark, London. He was the eldest child of Charles George Ammon (d. 1887), cutler and toolmaker, and Mary Kempley (1851–1900)...

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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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Bain, James Thompson (1860–1919), trade unionist in South Africa, was born at Dudhope Crescent, Dundee, on 6 March 1860, the third child of Andrew Bain and his wife, Eliza, née Thomson. His parents were both mill workers. At the age of seven he started work in a factory. At sixteen he joined the ...

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Ball, William (fl. 1911–1913), suffrage activist and trade unionist, came from a working-class family, possibly based in the midlands. Little is known of his early years apart from his paid work after leaving school. After working initially as a gardener, he became a master tailor with his own business, moving into unskilled work when this failed. In 1911–12 he was living in ...

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Ballinger, William George (1892–1974), trade unionist and politician, was born at 2 back 45 Gooch Street, Birmingham, on 21 September 1892, the first-born among the six children of Walter George Ballinger (1862–1907), a blacksmith, and his wife, Mary Minnie Johnson (1866–1927), a former actress. In 1901 the ...

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Barnes, George Nicoll (1859–1940), trade unionist and politician, was born on 2 January 1859 at Lochee, Forfarshire, the second of five sons of James Barnes, a skilled engineer and mill manager from Yorkshire, and his wife, Catherine Adam Langlands. The family moved back to ...

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Belcher, John William (1905–1964), politician and trade unionist, was born on 2 August 1905 at 12 Radington Road, Kensington, London, the first surviving child of John Thomas Belcher, an assurance agent and later a postal sorting worker, and his wife, Lillie Harriett, née...

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Richard Bell (1859–1930) by Sir Benjamin Stone, 1903 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bell, Richard (1859–1930), trade union leader and politician, was born at Penderyn, Brecknockshire, on 29 November 1859, the son of Charles Bell, a quarryman, and his wife, Ann (née Thomas). As a young boy Bell was shocked by the death of his uncle, killed in a quarry accident while working alongside his father, who narrowly escaped injury in an attempt to rescue him. ...

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Bennett, Louise [Louie] (1870–1956), suffragist, trade unionist, and pacifist, was born in Temple Road, Temple Hill, near Dublin, the eldest of five daughters and five sons of an auctioneer and antiques valuer called Bennett and his wife, Susan Boulger, daughter of an army...

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Bevin, Ernest (1881–1951), trade unionist and politician, was born at Winsford, Somerset, on 7 March 1881, the seventh child of Diana (known as Mercy) Bevin (1841–1889). His mother, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Tidbould, married William Bevin, an agricultural labourer, in 1864. In 1876 or 1877 ...

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Birch [formerly Catlin-Birch], Reginald (1914–1994), trade unionist and political activist, was born Reginald Catlin-Birch on 7 June 1914 at 4 Chichester Terrace, Kilburn, London, one of the five children of Charles Catlin-Birch (d. 1928), house painter and builder, and his wife, ...

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Reginald Birch (1914–1994) by Harrison © News International Newspapers Ltd

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Birtwistle, Thomas (1833–1912), trade unionist and factory inspector, was born at Great Harwood, Lancashire, on 16 October 1833, the son of Jonathan Birtwistle, a calico printer, and Ann Birtwistle, a hand-loom weaver. Put to the hand-loom at the age of six, he became a power-loom weaver when he was fourteen and married a fellow weaver, ...

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