Local Lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford DNB) is the national record of men and women who’ve shaped British life from the Romans to the 21st century. Naturally, it includes all of the greatest figures from the past. But it also contains thousands of men and women—with close ties to particular counties, towns, and villages—whose regional importance means they now appear in the national biography.

Getting started: our selection

Try these interactive maps which highlight people in the Oxford DNB remembered for their contribution to, or links with, the history of a particular place—Mousehole to Orkney, Dover to Enniskillen.

A selection of Oxford DNB biographies are also available as audio recordings. Our podcast map  includes local heroes—including Friar Tuck, Morecambe and Wise, and Amy Johnson—who’ve featured in our twice-monthly podcast which now offers 200 free episodes. And in our stories of the sea we remember individuals who lived and worked on or off the coast of this island nation.

Londoners: we’ve biographies of 7500 native Londoners For a very small sample try our clickable London maps: by borough, or Westminster & the City. Recent additions include Henry Croft, founder of the pearly king tradition; the Brixton activist Olive Morris, and Pasqua Rosee, who opened London’s first coffee house (in 1656).

Bespoke public library pages

Use the links below to see people by city and county from across the United Kingdom. 

Librarians use these pages to promote Oxford DNB to their users, showing them how to find people by place.

If you’d like one for your library, let us know.

Finding people near you

The Oxford DNB includes the life stories of more than 60,000 men and women. Online you can search for where they were born, baptized, lived, died or were buried, searching by county, town, village, church, and street.

Find people near you—be they one-time residents of Princes Street, Edinburgh (45), sons and daughters of Whitby (24), or those buried in Exeter (112)—and how this can be used for school projects or family history.

Text searching across the Oxford DNB’s 68 million words, you can also make links between people and places: for example, we’ve 94 references to Clapham Common, 23 to the River Trent, and 44 to Snowdonia.

Scotland and Wales

For readers interested in Scottish and Welsh history, there’s more on regional searching of the Oxford DNB via these two special guides (searches on these pages require subscriber access, available via UK public libraries).

5. Gangs, gatherings, and groups

As well as tens of thousands of people, the Oxford DNB includes essays on well-known historical clubs and networks in which individuals came together to act collaboratively. There are now over 300 groups essays in Oxford DNB Themes (requires subscriber access), with more to follow. Many groups also have strong regional ties, including:

  • Birmingham’s Lunar Society
  • the Dymock poets
  • Hackney Phalanx
  • Oxford’s Inklings
  • the Putney debaters
  • and the Spalding Gentleman’s Society

Local Lives

> Aberdeenshire lives
> Bedfordshire lives
> Buckinghamshire lives
> Darlington lives
> Derbyshire lives
> Edinburgh lives
> Flintshire lives
> Hampshire lives
> Huddersfield lives
> Lancashire lives
> Leicestershire lives
> Middlesbrough lives
> Newcastle lives
> Oxfordshire lives
> Plymouth lives
> Renfrewshire lives
> Scottish Borders lives
> Sheffield lives
> Swindon lives
> Telford and Wrekin lives
> Wigan lives
> Windsor and Maidenhead lives
> Suffolk lives
> East Yorkshire lives
> Glasgow lives
> Northern Ireland lives