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Sir Lawrence Airey (1926–2001) by unknown photographer, 1979 Crown copyright reserved; private collection

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Airey, Sir Lawrence (1926–2001), civil servant, was born on 10 March 1926 at 44 Collingwood Road, Haverton Hill, Billingham, co. Durham, the only child of Lawrence Clark Airey (1897–1929), a metallurgist at a steelworks, and Isabella Marshall Pearson (1890–1967), who was before her marriage a bookkeeper. His father died when he was three years old, and he was brought up by his mother, who ran a boarding-house, and encouraged his education. He attended the ...

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Alexander, Sir Kenneth John Wilson [Ken] (1922–2001), economist, university administrator, and public servant, was born on 14 March 1922 at 12 Kilmaurs Terrace, Edinburgh, the only son of William Wilson Alexander (1888–1930), lawyer, and his wife, Mary Logan Grahame, née Wilson (1888–1975), tailoress. He won a scholarship to ...

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Allen, Ethan (1738–1789), revolutionary army officer and politician in America, was born on 10 January 1738 in Litchfield, Connecticut, the eldest of the seven children of Joseph Allen (1708–1755) and Mary Baker (1708–1774), farmers. The Allen family lived in what was then a frontier region of ...

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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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Anderson, William Crawford (1877–1919), politician, was born on 13 February 1877 at Findon, Banffshire, Scotland, the son of Francis Anderson, a blacksmith, and Barbara (née Cruikshank), who were married in 1868. His mother was an intelligent and widely read woman of strong, radical, Presbyterian views who encouraged ...

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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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William Armstrong, Baron Armstrong of Sanderstead (1915–1980) by Arnold Newman, 1978 Arnold Newman / Getty Images; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Armstrong, William, Baron Armstrong of Sanderstead (1915–1980), civil servant and banker, was born in the Salvation Mothers' Home, Mare Street, Clapton, London, on 3 March 1915, the elder son of William Armstrong, of Stirling, and his wife, Priscilla Hopkins. Both his parents were ...

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Ashurst, William Henry [pseud. Edward Search] (bap. 1791?, d. 1855), lawyer and radical, was born in London, and was probably the William Henry Ashurst baptized on 20 March 1791 at St Luke's, Old Street, the son of Brusel Ashurst and his wife, ...

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Atkinson, Mabel (1876–1958), feminist and socialist, was born on 22 May 1876 at Ridley Mill, Broomley, near Stocksfield, in rural Northumberland. She was the daughter of John Boland Atkinson, inspector of mines, and his wife, Jane, née Elliott (b. 1853), feminist and militant suffragette; she had four brothers and one sister. Her parents were, as she later said, progressive and sympathetic on female education and employment. As a young woman, however, she chafed against restrictive middle-class Victorian behaviour and dress; she considered the bicycle '...

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Clement Richard Attlee, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967) by Sir James Gunn, 1950 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Attlee, Clement Richard, first Earl Attlee (1883–1967), prime minister, was born on 3 January 1883 at Westcott, 18 Portinscale Road, Putney, London, the seventh of the eight children of Henry Attlee (1841–1908), solicitor, and his wife, Ellen (1847–1920), daughter of Thomas Watson of ...

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Auld [née Jardine; other married name Marshall], Mary (1893–1984), local politician and women's organizer, was born on 8 July 1893 in Main Street, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, the fourth child of seven born to Francis Jardine, clog maker, and his wife, Agnes Wallace. She attended ...

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Aveling, Edward Bibbens (1849–1898), Marxist campaigner, was born on 29 November 1849 at 6 Nelson Terrace, Stoke Newington, the fifth of eight children of Thomas William Baxter Aveling (1815–1884), Congregationalist minister, and his wife, Mary Ann (d. 1877), daughter of Thomas Goodall...

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Awolowo, Obafemi (1909–1987), politician in Nigeria, was born on 6 March 1909 at Ikenne, a small town about 40 miles from Lagos, in Ijebu Remo division, the son of David Sopolu Awolowo (d. 1920) and his wife, Mary Sofowora Efunyela. The Ijebu are a subgroup of the ...

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Ayrton [née Marks], (Phoebe) Sarah [Hertha] (1854–1923), electrical engineer and suffragist, was born Phoebe Sarah Marks on 28 April 1854 at 6 Queen Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, third child of Alice Theresa (d. 1898), seamstress, daughter of Joseph Moss, glass merchant of ...

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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 ...