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Badley, John Haden (1865–1967), headmaster, was born on 21 February 1865 in Tower Street, Dudley, Worcestershire, the only son of James Payton Badley, surgeon, and his wife, Laura Elizabeth Best. He had three older sisters to whom he was always very close. The home atmosphere was restricted in some ways but very supportive and affectionate, and he enjoyed a happy childhood. ...

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Cannon, George [pseud. Erasmus Perkins] (1789–1854), freethinker and publisher, was born in London. His parents and early education remain unknown, but he later hinted at a dissenting background, and he was well versed in French as well as philosophy, theology, and literature. Between 1812 and 1815 he became a solicitor at ...

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Carlile, Elizabeth Sharples (1803–1852), freethought lecturer and advocate of women's rights, was one of six children born to Ann and Richard Sharples, a counterpane manufacturer, in Bolton, Lancashire, probably late in 1803. The family was pious and prosperous, the children received a good education, and ...

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Maker: Peter Vandyke

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) by Peter Vandyke, 1795 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor (1772–1834), poet, critic, and philosopher, was born on 21 October 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devon, and baptized there on 30 December, the youngest of ten children born to John Coleridge (bap. 1719, d. 1781), vicar of the town and master of the grammar school, and his second wife, ...

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Moncure Daniel Conway (1832–1907) by Debenham & Gabell © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Conway, Moncure Daniel (1832–1907), social reformer and ethical preacher, was born on 17 March 1832 at Middleton plantation, Stafford county, Virginia, the second of the six children of Walker Peyton Conway (1805–1884), a slave-owning planter, attorney, and judge, and his wife, Margaret (1807–1891)...

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Anthony Ashley Cooper, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713) by John Closterman, c. 1700–01 [left, with an attendant] © reserved

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Cooper, Anthony Ashley, third earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), philosopher and author, was born on 26 February 1671, at about eight o'clock in the evening, at Exeter House in the Strand, London, and baptized on 7 March at St Clement Danes. He was the first son of ...

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George Devey (1820–1886) by unknown photographer RIBA Library Photographs Collection

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Devey, George (1820–1886), architect and painter, was born on 23 February 1820 at 34 Ely Place, London, the second of four children of Frederick Nicholls Devey (1786–1862), a solicitor, and his wife, Ann (b. 1785), daughter of Durs Egg, a Swiss gunmaker who had emigrated to ...

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Sara Sophia Hennell (1812–1899) by unknown photographer, c. 1850 Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

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Hennell, Sara Sophia (1812–1899), author, the seventh and penultimate child of James Hennell (1782–1816), traveller and partner in the mercantile firm of Fazy & Co. (Manchester), and Elizabeth Marshall (1778–1858), of Loughborough, Leicestershire, was born on 23 November 1812 at 2 St Thomas's Square, Hackney, Middlesex...

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Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1801?–1894), diplomatist and Nepalese scholar, was born on 1 February 1801, or (less probably) 1800, at Lower Beech, Prestbury, Cheshire, the second of the seven children of Brian Hodgson (1766–1858), country gentleman, and his wife, Catherine (1775/6–1851), daughter of ...

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Allan Octavian Hume (1829–1912) by unknown photographer Getty Images

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Hume, Allan Octavian (1829–1912), administrator in India, founder of the Indian National Congress, and ornithologist, was born on 4 June 1829 at St Mary Cray, Kent, seventh child of Joseph Hume MP (1777–1855) and his wife, Maria Burnley (b. 1786). He grew up in the radical family environment of ...

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Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad (1891–1953) by Howard Coster, 1940s © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Joad, Cyril Edwin Mitchinson (1891–1953), philosopher, was born on 12 August 1891 in Durham, the only child of Edwin Joad, university lecturer, and his wife, Mary Smith. His father became a school inspector and moved the family to Southampton. Cyril attended the Dragon School, Oxford...

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Linton, Elizabeth [Eliza] Lynn (1822–1898), writer, was born on 10 February 1822 at Crosthwaite vicarage in Keswick, Cumberland, the twelfth and youngest child of the Revd James Lynn (1776–1855), vicar of Crosthwaite, and his first wife, Charlotte Alicia (1782/3–1822), daughter of the Revd Samuel Goodenough...

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Manning, (Elizabeth) Adelaide (1828–1905), social reformer, was the daughter of James Manning (1781–1866), serjeant-at-law, and his first wife, Clarissa (1796–1847), daughter of William Palmer. Adelaide's grandfather, also James Manning, had been a Unitarian minister in Exeter and Unitarian links were perhaps one factor in her enrolment as one of the earliest students at ...