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Adams, Francis William Lauderdale (1862–1893), writer, was born on 27 September 1862 at Valletta in Malta. The grandson of the Scottish classicist and medical scholar Francis Adams (1796–1861), he was the first of two sons born to Andrew Leith Adams (1827–1882), army surgeon and natural historian, and his wife, ...

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(Reginald) Clifford Allen, Baron Allen of Hurtwood (1889–1939) by Elliott & Fry © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allen, (Reginald) Clifford, Baron Allen of Hurtwood (1889–1939), politician and peace campaigner, was born at St Olave's, Slow Park, Newport, Monmouthshire, on 9 May 1889. As an adult he was always known as Clifford Allen, or by close friends as CA. He had a brother, ...

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Anstey, Francis George [Frank] (1865–1940), politician and author, was born on 18 August 1865 in York Road Hospital, Lambeth, London, the only son of the recently deceased Samuel Anstey (1837/8–1865), master shoemaker, and his wife, Caroline Martha (1840?–1922), daughter of Francis Gamble, distillery foreman. ...

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Arber [née Robertson], Agnes (1879–1960), botanist, was born at 26 Regent's Park Road, London, on 23 February 1879, the eldest child of Henry Robert Robertson (1839–1921), an artist, and Agnes Lucy Turner, a descendant of Robert Chamberlain (d. 1798), ceramicist, of ...

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Aylmer, Gerald Edward (1926–2000), historian, was born on 30 April 1926 at Stoke Court, Greete, Shropshire, the only child of Captain Edward Arthur Aylmer (1892–1974), naval officer, and his wife, (Gwladys) Phoebe, née Evans (1891–1968). On his father's side he was descended from a distinguished Anglo-Irish family with strong naval connections, and there were two admirals on his mother's side. He was educated at ...

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Baker, Richard Edward St Barbe (1889–1982), conservationist, was born on 9 October 1889 at West End, near Southampton, the eldest of five children of John Richard St Barbe Baker, horticulturist, and his wife, Charlotte, née Purrott. His father grew trees for a living on his own land and from his earliest days ...

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Barfield, (Arthur) Owen (1898–1997), writer and philosopher, was born on 9 November 1898 at 6 Grosvenor Gardens, Muswell Hill, Middlesex, the youngest of the four children of Arthur Edward Barfield, a solicitor, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Shoults. It was a free-thinking family and so immune to all '...

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Edward Spencer Beesly (1831–1915) by Barraud © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beesly, Edward Spencer (1831–1915), positivist and historian, was born on 23 January 1831 in Feckenham, Worcestershire, the eldest son of the Revd James Beesly and his wife, Emily Fitzgerald, of Queen's county, Ireland. After reading Latin and Greek with his father, in the autumn of 1846 he was sent to ...

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(Frank) Graham Bell (1910–1943) by Olivier Bell, 1938 [painting Dover Front] private collection

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Bell, (Frank) Graham (1910–1943), painter and writer, was born on 21 November 1910 near Brakpan, Johannesburg, Transvaal, the eldest of the three sons of Frank Graham Bell (1874–1948), a British mining engineer, and his wife, Marjorie, née Hewitt (1888–1979). The family spent from 1915 to 1922 in ...

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Annie Besant (1847–1933) by Hayman Selig Mendelssohn © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Besant [née Wood], Annie (1847–1933), theosophist and politician in India, was born at 2 Fish Street Hill in the City of London on 1 October 1847, the only daughter of William Persse Wood (d. 1852), underwriter, and his wife, Emily Roche Morris (...

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Eric Arthur Blair [George Orwell] (1903–1950) by Felix H. Man, c. 1947 © Estate of Felix H. Man / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blair, Eric Arthur [pseud. George Orwell] (1903–1950), political writer and essayist, was born in Motihari, Bengal, India, on 25 June 1903, the only son of Richard Walmesley Blair (1857–1938), a sub-deputy opium agent in the government of Bengal, and his wife, Ida Mabel Limouzin (1875–1943)...

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Rutland Boughton (1878–1960) by Herbert Lambert, 1921 © Jenny Letton, administered by Composer Prints Ltd.; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Boughton, Rutland (1878–1960), composer, was born in Bicester Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, on 23 January 1878, the elder son in a family of two boys and one girl of William Rutland Boughton (1841–1905), a grocer at 37 Buckingham Street, and his wife, Grace Martha (1845–1924)...

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Edward Charles Gurney Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981) by Godfrey Argent, 1969 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Boyle, Edward Charles Gurney, Baron Boyle of Handsworth (1923–1981), politician, was born at 63 Queen's Gate, Kensington, London, on 31 August 1923, elder son in the family of two sons and one daughter of Sir Edward Boyle (1878–1945), second baronet, barrister, writer, and company director, and his wife, ...