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Alexander, Horace Gundry (1889–1989), Quaker envoy and mediator, was born on 18 April 1889 at Croydon, Surrey, the youngest of four sons of Joseph Gundry Alexander (1848–1918), a Quaker barrister and advocate of international arbitration, and of Josephine Crosfield Alexander. He was educated at ...

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Barlow, Sir Thomas, first baronet (1845–1945), physician, was born at Brantwood Fold, Edgworth, near Bolton, Lancashire, on 4 September 1845; he was the eldest of seven children of James Barlow (1821–1887) of Greenthorne, Edgworth, who established the cotton mills of Barlow and Jones...

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Brockway, (Archibald) Fenner, Baron Brockway (1888–1988), politician and campaigner, was born on 1 November 1888 in Calcutta, the only son and eldest of three children of the Revd William George Brockway, London Missionary Society missionary, and his wife, Frances Elizabeth, daughter of William Abbey...

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Buchinger, Matthias [Matthew] (1674–1739), artist, was born on 2 June 1674 at Ansbach, near Nuremberg; details of his parents are unknown. He was born without hands, feet, lower legs, or thighs and in his life never grew taller than 29 inches. Although such symptoms might today be diagnosed as phocomelia, his impairments were attributed at the time to a fright suffered by his mother during pregnancy. He was the youngest of nine children and, according to a biography published in the ...

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Christison, Sir (Alexander Frank) Philip, fourth baronet (1893–1993), army officer, was born at 40 Moray Place, Edinburgh, on 17 November 1893, the elder of the two sons and eldest of five children of Sir Alexander Christison, second baronet (1828–1918), surgeon-general in the Bengal...

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Cotter, Patrick [performing name Patrick O'Brien] (1760/61–1806), giant, was born at Kinsale, co. Cork. He grew to be more than 8 feet tall (accounts vary from 8 feet 3½ inches to 8 feet 7 inches), and from his late teens was exhibited in ...

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Dearmer, Geoffrey (1893–1996), writer and radio broadcaster, was born on 21 March 1893 at 59 South Lambeth Road, London, the elder son of Percy Dearmer (1867–1936), Church of England clergyman and liturgist, and his wife, (Jessie) Mabel Pritchard White (1872–1915), children's writer and illustrator, daughter of ...

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Denning, Alfred Thompson [Tom], Baron Denning (1899–1999), judge, was born on 23 January 1899 in Newbury Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire. He was the fourth of five sons and the fifth among the six children of Charles Denning (1859–1941), draper, and his wife, Clara (1865–1947)...

Article

G. F. R. Barker

revised by Anita McConnell

Dunstan, Jeffrey (1759?–1797), hawker and ‘mayor of Garrett’, was a foundling reared in the parish workhouse of St Dunstan-in-the-East, in the City of London. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a greengrocer, but he ran away to Birmingham, where he worked in the factories. The heavy labour probably added to his deformities, for as an adult he had knock knees, a large head, and grew to a height of only ...

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Edward V (1470–1483), king of England and lord of Ireland, the eldest son of Edward IV (1442–1483) and his queen, Elizabeth (c. 1437–1492), was born in Westminster sanctuary on 2 November 1470, during his father's exile and the readeption of Henry VI. He was baptized in the abbey, the abbot and prior of ...

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Feibusch, Hans Nathan (1898–1998), mural painter, was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on 15 August 1898, the elder son of assimilated Jewish parents, Carl Feibusch (d. 1929), dental surgeon, and his wife, Marianne, née Ickelheimer, an amateur painter. He received a classical education and saw military service on the Russian front (1916–18). Following the war he briefly pursued medical studies, but then turned to painting and studied in ...

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Hudson, Jeffery (1619–1682), dwarf, was born at Oakham, Rutland, the son of John Hudson, a butcher employed by the duke of Buckingham. Although both parents were of normal stature, Jeffery developed as a perfectly proportioned dwarf, who was barely 18 inches in height by about the age of eight, when his father presented him to the ...

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Lambert, Daniel (1770–1809), the most corpulent man of his time in England, was the elder of two sons of a Daniel Lambert who had been huntsman to the earl of Stamford. He was born in Blue Boar Lane, Leicester, on 13 March 1770 and was apprenticed to ...

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Merrick, Joseph Carey [called the Elephant Man] (1862–1890), freak show novelty and medical curiosity, was born at 50 Lee Street, Leicester, on 5 August 1862, the elder son (there was also a daughter) of Joseph Rockley Merrick (b. 1835/6), a warehouseman and machine operator in a cotton factory, and ...

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Montefiore, Sir Moses Haim (1784–1885), financier and Jewish community leader, the eldest son of Joseph Elias Montefiore, a London businessman, and Rachel, the daughter of Abraham Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta, was born in Leghorn, Italy (during a visit there by his parents), on 24 October 1784. On his father's side ...

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Parr, Thomas [called Old Parr] (d. 1635), supposed centenarian, was reputedly the son of John Parr, husbandman, of Winnington in the parish of Alberbury, Shropshire. He came to public notice in 1635, when John Taylor, the ‘Water Poet’, published a colourful account of ...

Article

Thomas Seccombe

revised by David Turner

Peter the Wild Boy (c. 1712–1785), curiosity, was found in 1725 in the woods near Hamelin, about 25 miles from Hanover. In the words of contemporary pamphleteers, he was observed 'walking on his hands and feet, climbing trees like a squirrel, and feeding on grass and moss...

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Ridley, Henry Nicholas (1855–1956), economic botanist, was born on 10 December 1855 at West Harling Hall, Norfolk, the third child of the Revd Oliver Matthew Ridley and his wife, Louisa Pole, daughter of William Stuart, of Aldenham Abbey. He was a direct descendant of ...

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Sheffield, Robert, marquess of Normanby (1711–1715), subject of a memorial effigy, was born on 11 December 1711, probably at Buckingham House (now Buckingham Palace), Westminster, the second son of John Sheffield, first duke of Buckingham and Normanby (1647–1721), and his third wife, Katherine, ...

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Shinwell, Emanuel, Baron Shinwell (1884–1986), politician, was born on 18 October 1884 in Spitalfields, London, the eldest in a family of thirteen children of Samuel Shinwell, a clothing manufacturer of Polish-Jewish origin, and his Dutch wife, Rose Konigswinter. The family moved to Glasgow...