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Acland, John (1699–1796), Church of England clergyman and writer on social issues, was the second son of John Acland (d. 1703), of Beerford, Devon, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Acland of Fremington, Devon. His father was MP for Callington, Cornwall...

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Brodbelt [née Penoyre], Anne (1751–1827), letter writer and social observer, was born on 1 January 1751 at Spanish Town, Jamaica, one of two children of Thomas Penoyre (1722–1766), physician, and his wife, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Gardner of Spanish Town. The Penoyres...

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Davies, David (1742–1819), Church of England clergyman and writer on social issues, was born on 9 February 1742 of Welsh parentage. His origins and early life are obscure, although his will suggests that his family originated in the border area of Merioneth and ...

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Demant, Vigo Auguste (1893–1983), theologian and social commentator, was born on 8 November 1893 in Newcastle upon Tyne, the eldest of three children and only son of Thorvald Conrad Frederick Demant, a professional linguist and translator, who started a language school in Newcastle...

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Eden, Sir Frederick Morton, second baronet (1766–1809), insurance company manager and writer on the state of the poor, was born at Ashtead, Surrey, the eldest son of Sir Robert Eden (created a baronet in 1776), governor of Maryland, and grandson of Sir Robert Eden, ...

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Fowle, Thomas Welbank (1835–1903), theologian and writer on social issues, was born at Northallerton, Yorkshire, on 29 August 1835. He was the son of Thomas Fowle, solicitor, and of Mary Welbank, both of Northallerton. After education at Durham School (1848–53) and at Charterhouse...

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Maker: (Arthur) Eric Rowton Gill

(Arthur) Eric Rowton Gill (1882–1940) self-portrait, 1927 © courtesy the Artist's Estate / Bridgeman Art Library; Art Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin

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Gill, (Arthur) Eric Rowton (1882–1940), artist, craftsman, and social critic, was born at 32 Hamilton Road, Brighton, Sussex, on 22 February 1882, the eldest son and second of the thirteen children of the Revd Arthur Tidman Gill (1848–1933), minister of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion...

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Charles Cavendish Fulke Greville (1794–1865) by Alfred, Count D'Orsay, 1840 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Greville, Charles Cavendish Fulke (1794–1865), political and social diarist, was born on 2 April 1794. His father, Charles Greville, MP for Petersfield and under-secretary of state in the Home department, was a grandson of the fifth Baron Brooke of Beauchamps Court. His mother, ...

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Jay, (Arthur) Osborne Montgomery (1858–1945), Church of England clergyman and social commentator, was born on 14 April 1858 at Landour, north India, the second son of the Revd William James Jay and Harriet, daughter of Martin Rawling of St Ives, Huntingdonshire. His parents had married in 1850 just as ...

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Elizabeth Kenward (1906–2001) by Milton Wordley, 1975 Getty Images

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Kenward [née Kemp- Welch], Elizabeth [Betty] [pseud. Jennifer] (1906–2001), society columnist, was born on 14 July 1906 at 87 Cadogan Gardens, London, the eldest child and only daughter of Brian Charles Durant Kemp-Welch (1878–1950), who worked for Schweppes, and his wife, ...

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Loane, Martha Jane (1852–1933), nurse and social commentator, was born on 7 February 1852 at 8 North Place, Eldad, Plymouth, Devon, to Jabez Loane (c.1821–1895), a master in the Royal Navy, and Jane, née Cooley (d. 1852). Her father remarried on 10 November 1852 and his second wife, ...

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Long, Edward (1734–1813), planter and commentator on Jamaican affairs, was born on 23 August 1734 at Rosilion, St Blazey, Cornwall, the fourth son of Samuel Long (1700–1757) of Longville, Jamaica, Tredudwell, Cornwall, and Bloomsbury, London, and Mary (bap. 1701, d. 1765), second daughter and coheir of ...

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Malvery [married name Mackirdy], Olive Christian (1876/7–1914), social observer, was the daughter of Thomas Malvery, a civil engineer working in India. Her mother was Jessie Symonds. No record of her birth has been located, and there is conflicting evidence about its date (the age given on her death certificate suggests 1876/7, that on the census return of 1901 1879/80, that on her marriage certificate 1881/2). She described herself as coming from an '...

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Samuel Smith

revised by C. A. Creffield

Roberts, Samuel (1763–1848), writer on social issues, was born in Sheffield on 18 April 1763. He was the second and eldest surviving son of Samuel Roberts, manufacturer and merchant, and his wife, Mary Sykes, whose father was a manufacturer in the file trade. At the age of fourteen he entered his father's factory, which made silver and plated goods, and he eventually passed through every department. Here he remained until 1784, in which year ...

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Maker: Sir John Everett Millais

John Ruskin (1819–1900) by Sir John Everett Millais, 1853–4 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Ruskin, John (1819–1900), art critic and social critic, was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square, London, the only child of John James Ruskin (1785–1864), a sherry importer, and Margaret Cox, formerly Cock (1781–1871), the daughter of a Croydon...

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Trigge, Francis (1547?–1606), Church of England clergyman and writer on social issues, was probably born in Lincolnshire. He matriculated from University College, Oxford, in 1564, graduating BA on 16 February 1569 and MA on 12 May 1572. After taking priest's orders he was appointed rector of ...