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Appleby, Sir William (1732–1796), eccentric and municipal reformer, was born at Durham on 15 September 1732, the third surviving son of Edward Appleby (1702–1736), a grocer, who was said to have introduced the bleaching of linen cloth from Ireland to Durham, and his wife, ...

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Barrett, John [Jacky] (1753/4–1821), classical scholar and eccentric, was born in Ballyroan, Queen's county, the son of Daniel Barrett (d. 1760), a Church of Ireland clergyman, and his wife, Rossamund Gofton (d. 1782). Although baptized John he was universally known as ...

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Baume, Pierre Henri Joseph (1797–1875), radical activist and eccentric, was born at Marseilles on 17 October 1797, the son of Henri Joseph Baume (1770–1831) and Marie Claire Antoinette Merlat (1780–1837). His parents ran a wig-making shop and were inclined both to anti-clericalism and adultery. When he was still young his father moved to ...

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Beecham, (Helen) Audrey (1915–1989), poet and eccentric, was born at Weaverham, Cheshire, on 21 July 1915, the eldest of five children and only daughter of Henry (Harry) Beecham (1888–1947) and his wife, Ethel Anne Baxter (d. 1951). Her great-grandfather, Thomas Beecham, founded the family fortune with his celebrated pills; ...

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Bentley, Nathaniel [nicknamed Dirty Dick] (1735?–1809), eccentric, was the son of a successful City of London merchant and shopkeeper who received an education 'equal to his situation as a gentleman' (History of the Extraordinary Dirty warehouse, 6). After the death of ...

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Joseph Capper (1726/77–1804) by unknown engraver, pubd 1804 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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G. F. R. Barker

revised by David Turner

Capper, Joseph (1726/7–1804), eccentric, was born in Cheshire to unknown parents in humble circumstances. At an early age he travelled to London, and, after serving his apprenticeship to a grocer, set up a shop on his own account in Whitechapel. With good business connections ...

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Cole, (William) Horace De Vere (1881–1936), practical joker, was born on 5 May 1881, reputedly at Blarney, co. Cork, elder son of William Utting Cole (1851–1892), army officer, and his wife, Mary De Vere (1859–1930), niece and heiress of the scholars Aubrey and ...

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Cooke, Thomas (1722–1783), Church of England clergyman and eccentric, born in Hexham, Northumberland, on 23 October 1722, was the son of John Cooke, a shoemaker at Hexham. He received his education as king's scholar at Durham School, and afterwards entered Queen's College, Oxford...

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Alexander Cruden (1699–1770) by Thomas Trotter, pubd 1785 (after Thomas Frye) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cruden, Alexander (1699–1770), biblical scholar and eccentric, was born in Aberdeen on 31 May 1699, the second of eleven children of William Cruden (d. 1739), a prominent merchant and bailie in the city, and his wife, Isabel Pyper (d. 1740). He was educated in ...

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Jennett Humphreys

revised by David Turner

Dick [née Mackenzie], Anne, Lady Dick (d. 1741), eccentric, was the daughter of a Scottish law lord, Sir James Mackenzie, Lord Royston (1671–1744), third son of George Mackenzie, first earl of Cromarty, and his wife, Elizabeth. Neither the date of Anne's birth nor the date of her marriage to ...

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Dineley [formerly Dineley-Goodere], Sir John, fifth baronet (c. 1729–1809), eccentric, was born at Burhope, Herefordshire, the younger of twin sons of Samuel Goodere (1687–1741), landowner and naval officer, of Burhope, and his second wife, a widow, Elizabeth, née Watts (d. 1742)...

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Sir John Dineley, fifth baronet (c. 1729–1809) by W. Hopkins, 1809 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alexander Gordon

revised by Anita McConnell

Elwes [formerly Meggott], John (1714–1789), landowner and eccentric, was born on 7 April 1714 in the parish of St James, Westminster, the son of Robert Meggott (d. 1718), landowner and brewer, and his wife, Amee (Amy; d. 1754), daughter of Gervase Elwes...

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John Elwes (1714–1789) by unknown engraver ? National Portrait Gallery, London / Country Life Picture Library

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Fuller, John (1757–1834), politician and eccentric, was born on 20 February 1757 at North Stoneham, Southampton, Hampshire, the only son of Revd Henry Fuller (1713–1761), rector of North Stoneham, and his wife, Frances (1725/6–1778), his cousin, and daughter of Thomas Fuller of Catsfield, Sussex...

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Gordon, James (c. 1762–1825), Cambridge eccentric, was son of the chapel clerk of Trinity College, Cambridge, a man of some property, who gave him a good education and articled him to an attorney. He began to practise in Free School Lane, Cambridge, with fair prospects of success. Unfortunately his convivial talents led him into society where he learned to drink to excess. To console himself for his disappointments, he became a confirmed drunkard, and fell into destitution. He was several times in the town gaol for drunkenness. For many years he was kept from starvation by an annuity of ...

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Stanley Owen Green (1915–1993) by unknown photographer ? Museum of London

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Green, Stanley Owen [known as Protein Man] (1915–1993), dietary reformer and author, was born on 22 February 1915 at Harringay, north London, the youngest of the four sons of Richard Green (d. 1966), a bottle-stopper maker's clerk, and his wife, May (...