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Banks, Iain (1954–2013), author and composer, was born in Dunfermline, Fife, on 16 February 1954, the only surviving child (he had a sister who died at six weeks) of Thomas Menzies (Tom) Banks (1918–2009), an Admiralty officer at the Rosyth naval base, and his wife, ...

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Iain Banks (1954–2013) by Mark Gerson, 1985 © Mark Gerson / Bridgeman Art Library

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Beecham, Sir Thomas, second baronet (1879–1961), conductor, was born on 29 April 1879 in Westfield Street, St Helens, Lancashire, the elder son and second child of Sir Joseph Beecham, first baronet (1848–1916), manufacturing chemist, and his wife, Josephine Burnett, née Dickins (1850–1934). The family's prosperity began with ...

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Sir Thomas Beecham, second baronet (1879–1961) by Stephen Glass © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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(Louis) Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) by Pierre Petit, 1863 Getty Images

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Berlioz, (Louis) Hector (1803–1869), composer and conductor, was born on 11 December 1803 in La Côte St André, in the département of Isère, France, the first of four children of Dr Louis-Joseph Berlioz and his wife, Marie-Antoinette-Joséphine, commonly known as Joséphine, the daughter of ...

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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) Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (1913–1976) by Sir Cecil Beaton © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby's; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Britten, (Edward) Benjamin, Baron Britten (1913–1976), composer, was born on 22 November 1913 in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the youngest of the four children (two sons and two daughters) of Robert Victor Britten (1878–1934), a dental surgeon, and his wife, Edith Rhoda (1874–1937), the daughter of ...

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Brooksbank [née Soutar], Mary Watson (1897–1978), revolutionary and songwriter, was born on 15 December 1897 at 29 Shiprow, Aberdeen, the only daughter of five children born to Alexander Soutar (1867–1953), dock labourer and founding member of Aberdeen Dockers' Union, and his wife, ...

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Henry Burstow (1826–1916) by Bonmarché, c. 1911 Horsham Museum (Horsham District Council)

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Burstow, Henry (1826–1916), singer and bell-ringer, was born on 11 December 1826 at 34 The Bishopric, Horsham, Sussex, the second youngest of nine children. His father, William (b. 1781), and mother, Ellen (d. 1857) made clay tobacco pipes; their home, in the poorest and roughest part of ...

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Bush, Alan Dudley (1900–1995), composer, was born in Dulwich, London, on 22 December 1900, the son of Alfred Walter Bush (1869–1935), director of W. J. Bush & Co., manufacturing chemists, and his wife, Alice Maud Brinsley (1870–1951). He was educated privately, then at ...

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Alan Dudley Bush (1900–1995) by Elliott & Fry, 1946 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Clapham, John (1908–1992), musicologist, was born on 31 July 1908 at Studland, Baldock Road, Letchworth, Hertfordshire, the only son and the second of the three children of John Clapham (1870–1947), stockbroker, and his wife, Edith Maud Taylor (1875–1956). After school at Bedales, Clapham...

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Craxton, Janet Helen Rosemary (1929–1981), oboist and teacher, was born on 17 May 1929 at 8 Grove End Road, London, the only daughter and the youngest of the six children of (Thomas) Harold Hunt Craxton (1885–1971) and his wife, Essie May Faulkner (1890–1977)...

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Janet Helen Rosemary Craxton (1929–1981) by unknown photographer, 1960s private collection

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(Philip) Christian Darnton (1905–1981) by Howard Coster, 1940 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Darnton, (Philip) Christian (1905–1981), composer and writer, was born on 30 October 1905 in Leeds, the third son and third among the three children of John Edward Darnton, formerly von Schunck (1869–1940), landowner, and his wife, Mary Gertrude (1871–1952), daughter of Henry Illingworth...