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Venning, John (1776–1858), prison reformer and philanthropist, was born at Totnes, Devon, on 20 May 1776, the son of Walter Venning, a merchant, and Mary Ann, his wife. He attended Totnes grammar school and, at the age of fourteen, followed his elder brother ...

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Thomas Wright (1789–1875) by George Frederic Watts, c. 1850–51 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wright, Thomas (1789–1875), prison visitor, was born in Manchester, of a Scottish father and Manchester mother, on 20 September 1789. He had two sisters, one of whom died young and one outlived him. Wright was educated at a Wesleyan Sunday school and was apprenticed at the age of fifteen to the ...