The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The ODNB currently includes the life stories of 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2014.
Of these 60,000 people, nearly 4300 have close ties to Lancashire—through families, education, work or residence.
Here you’ll find some famous (and some less familiar) Lancashire faces, including Frank Whittle, whose pioneering gas turbine was manufactured at Barnoldswick (above), the singer Kathleen Ferrier, and James Maxwell, architect of the Blackpool Tower (below). Then discover the ‘who and how’ in Lancashire by searching the ODNB for people by place.
- Who and how? in Lancashire
- Family & local history: how do I search?
- What else does the Oxford DNB offer?
As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:
- which famous people were born in Lancaster?
- which historical figures lived in Lytham St Anne’s?
- who were the Pendle witches?
- how many times is Morecambe Bay mentioned in the Oxford DNB?
- how many people in the ODNB died and were buried in Preston?
- which famous people have links to Accrington?
(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)
Finding people in the Oxford DNB is easy.
To discover more Lancashire people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Lancashire (or elsewhere), or who died and were buried here. Search by county, city, town, village, church, and even street.
you can also search the ODNB’s 70 million words for places (e.g. the Ashton Memorial). For this use Text Search.
- Free biography podcast: as well as 60,000 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection. There are now over 250 episodes in the archive. Recent highlights include Diana, princess of Wales, George Orwell, John Lennon, and Bobby Moore.
- Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
- Don’t forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Lancashire libraries: just type your library membership number in the box here.