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Abraham, William [pseud. Mabon] (1842–1922), trade unionist and politician, was born at Cwmafan, near Port Talbot, Glamorgan, on 14 June 1842, the fourth son of Thomas and Mary Abraham. His father, a coalminer and copper smelter, soon died, leaving his mother to raise a large family. ...

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S. E. Fryer

revised by Anne MacPhee

Acton, John Adams- (1830–1910), sculptor, was born on 11 December 1830 at Acton Hill, Middlesex, one of the two surviving sons and three daughters of William Adams (1778/9–1836), an artist, and his wife, Helen Elizabeth Humphrey (1794–1878). His sister ...

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Adams, John Couch (1819–1892), astronomer, was born on 5 June 1819 at Lidcot, a farm near Launceston, Cornwall, the eldest of the seven children of Thomas Adams (1788–1859), a poor tenant farmer, and his wife, Tabitha Knill Grylls (1796–1866), a farmer's daughter who had received some education from her uncle ...

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Allon, Henry (1818–1892), Congregational minister and leader, was born at Welton, near Hull, on 13 October 1818, the son of William Allon (1792–1878), a builder and later estate steward, and his wife, Mary, née Woolas. He followed his father in apprenticeship to a builder in ...

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Appleby [née Walley], (Florence) Lucy (1920–2008), cheese-maker, was born on 1 February 1920 at Lighteach Farm, Whitchurch, Shropshire, one of eight children of Alfred Edward Walley (1886–1954), a farmer and Baptist minister, and his wife, Sarah, née Pierpoint (1891–1964). She was educated at the high school at ...

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Arch, Joseph (1826–1919), trade unionist and politician, was born at Barford, Warwickshire, on 10 November 1826, the son of John Arch (bap. 1795, d. 1862), a shepherd, and his wife, Hannah, née Pace (1783–1845). Before her marriage his mother worked as a domestic servant in ...

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Arnold, Sir Malcolm Henry (1921–2006), trumpeter and composer, was born at Fairview, Cliftonville, Northampton, on 21 October 1921, the fourth son and fifth and youngest child of William Arnold, shoe manufacturer, and his wife, Annie, née Hawes. Coincidentally, two other well-known British composers of the twentieth century, ...

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Asbury, Francis (1745–1816), a founder of the American Methodist Episcopal church, was born on 20 August 1745 at Hamstead Bridge, in the parish of Handsworth, Staffordshire. He was the only son of Joseph Asbury and Eliza Rogers, both farmers and devout followers of Methodism. He was educated at a local school until the age of twelve; he began to preach, as a local preacher, at the age of eighteen, and having been admitted as an itinerant preacher at the age of twenty-one, travelled throughout ...

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Ashby, Joseph (1859–1919), farmer and social reformer, was born in Tysoe in Warwickshire on 13 June 1859, the son of an unmarried servant, Elizabeth Ashby. His father was the husband of Elizabeth's mistress, yet, common as such births were, Ashby's was in some ways different. His father provided for him but his mother, a fiercely independent woman, refused to use the money. More importantly his mother's branch of the ...

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Austral, Florence (1892–1968), singer, was born Florence Mary Wilson on 26 April 1892 in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria (the same suburb in which Dame Nellie Melba had been born in 1861), the daughter of a Swede, Wilhelm Lindholm, who had emigrated to ...

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Baldwin, Alfred (1841–1908), industrialist and politician, was born at Stourport, Worcestershire, on 4 June 1841, the youngest of twelve children of George Pearce Baldwin (1789–1840), a small-scale iron founder and businessman, and his second wife, Sarah Chalkley Stanley (1801–1874), the eldest daughter of the ...

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Banana, Canaan Sodindo (1936–2003), president of Zimbabwe, was born in Esiphezini, near Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, on 5 March 1936. His mother, Jese, was Ndebele, but his father, Aaron Banana, was a migrant worker from Nyasaland. He studied to become a teacher at the ...

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Banda, Hastings Kamuzu (c. 1898–1997), president of Malawi, was born in a small village near the trading centre Kasungu in the British protectorate of Nyasaland, the son of Mphonongo Banda and his wife, Akupinganyama Phiri. (He later gave 1906 as his year of birth.) His parents were ...

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Barker, Joseph (1806–1875), Methodist minister and politico-religious controversialist, was born on 11 May 1806 at Bramley, near Leeds. His ancestors, originally of Keighley, had been settled in this area for several generations as farmers and manufacturers. The identity of his parents has not been discovered, though it is known that his father was employed in woollen manufacture and served for some time in the militia, and that ...

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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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Barnes, Dame (Alice) Josephine Mary Taylor (1912–1999), obstetrician and gynaecologist, was born in Cliff Road, Sheringham, Norfolk, on 18 August 1912, the first of five children of Walter Wharton Barnes, a Methodist minister from Addingham, Yorkshire, and his wife, Alice Mary, formerly Ibbetson...

Article

Robert Lusty

revised by Clare L. Taylor

Bates, Herbert Ernest (1905–1974), writer, was born on 16 May 1905 at 51 Grove Road, Rushden, Northamptonshire, the eldest of the three children (two sons and a daughter) of Albert Ernest Bates (1879–1949) and his wife, Lucy Elizabeth, née Lucas (1878–1972). He came from a family of shoemakers; his maternal grandfather's craftsmanship was renowned, and his parents also followed the trade. As he was to write later, he:...

Article

Geoffrey Shakespeare

revised by Robert Brown

Bellman, Sir (Charles) Harold (1886–1963), building society manager, was born in Paddington on 16 February 1886, the second son of Charles Henry Bellman, coach builder, and his wife, Ellen Clemens, both of Cornish origin. After attending a higher-grade school in Kilburn until the age of fourteen he entered the ...

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Bennett, Richard Bedford, Viscount Bennett (1870–1947), prime minister of Canada, was born at Hopewell Hill, Albert county, New Brunswick, on 3 July 1870, the eldest of the three sons and two daughters of Henry John Bennett (1842–1905), shipbuilder and later general merchant at ...

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Benson, Joseph (1749–1821), Wesleyan Methodist minister, was born at Melmerby, Cumberland, on 25 January 1749, the son of John Benson (d. 1769), a landowner, and his wife, Isabella Robinson (d. 1779). His father, intending him to enter the church, placed him in the care of the local Presbyterian minister, from whom he received a classical education....