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History
People in History
1800s

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People in History: 1800s

Popularised the Christmas tree in Britain Click to show or hide the answer
Salford publican and boatman, 1838–90: awarded the Albert Medal for rescuing over 50 people from drowning in the River Irwell (then highly polluted); a pub beside the river was named in his honour in 1981 (but may never re–open after floods in 2015) Click to show or hide the answer
Britain's first woman doctor (1865) and first woman Mayor (1908) Click to show or hide the answer
Engineer and businessman, born Newcastle–upon–Tyne 1810: founded a factory on Scotswood Road, Elswick, which is mentioned in the song Blaydon Races Click to show or hide the answer
Built Cragside, a country house at Rothbury, which was the first house in the world to be lit by electricity
Donated Jesmond Dene (a wooded gorge) to the people of Newcastle
Founded what would become Newcastle University
Headmaster of Rugby School, 1828–42 Click to show or hide the answer
Born Nancy Witcher Langhorne in Danville, Virginia, 1879 Click to show or hide the answer
President of the USA for one day, 1849 (according to a well–known urban myth) because Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath Click to show or hide the answer
English settler in Australia, credited with introducing rabbits (for shooting) 1859 Click to show or hide the answer
Irish philanthropist: founder of the East End Mission for Destitute Children, 1870 Click to show or hide the answer
Engineer responsible for London's sewer system (19th century) Click to show or hide the answer
Surgeon on board HMS Victory; reported Nelson's death and last words Click to show or hide the answer
English philosopher, 1748–1832: asked in his will for his body to be dissected as part of a public anatomy lecture; his skeleton (stuffed out with hay and dressed in his clothes) is on public display at University College London Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Governor of New South Wales, 1805–8, deposed by the Rum Rebellion Click to show or hide the answer
Crossed the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope, initially in 1859, subsequently several more times – blindfolded, in a sack, pushing a wheel–barrow, on stilts, carrying his manager on his back, and once sitting down midway to cook and eat an omelette (real name Jean–Francois Gravelet) Click to show or hide the answer
South American soldier and liberator (1783–1830): born in Caracas, played an instrumental role in the establishment of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia as sovereign states independent of Spanish rule Click to show or hide the answer
Born in 1809 in Coupvray, a small town about 20 miles east of Paris; blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident; presented a system of reading and writing for use by the blind (adapted from an unsuccessful system developed in Napoleon's army, for silent communication at night), in 1824; worked as a professor at France's Royal Institute for Blind Youth; died in 1852, 2 days after his 43rd birthday; his system was overlooked during his lifetime, but was adopted by the Institute two years after his death, and spread quickly through the French–speaking world, and eventually throughout the world (one of the last countries to adopt it being the USA in 1916) Click to show or hide the answer
Queen Victoria's most famous ghillie Click to show or hide the answer
US abolitionist, 1800–59: stormed the US Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry in 1859, in an unsuccessful attempt to start an armed slave riot; hanged six weeks later for treason, murder, and conspiracy to rebel; described by Abraham Lincoln as a "misguided fanatic"; still remembered today, in a popular song that originated among Union troops in the ensuing Civil War Click to show or hide the answer
The archetypical 'Regency dandy': an associate of the Prince Regent (the future George IV) – his name became a byword for fashion and elegance Click to show or hide the answer
Foreign Secretary who duelled with Lord Castlereagh in 1809 Click to show or hide the answer
US multi–millionaire and philanthropist: born in Dunfermline, 1835, son of a poor weaver; family emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1848; owned what is now the Pullman Company; sold his steel business for $250m in 1901; funded over 3,000 libraries throughout the English–speaking world, as well as numerous educational institutions and a prize for heroism. A medal for children's literature was established in his name, 17 years after his death in 1919 (not by him) Click to show or hide the answer
Manchester–based cotton mill owner and MP for Stockport: champion of free trade, led the Anti–Corn Law League Click to show or hide the answer
Succeeded Warren Hastings as Governor–General of India Click to show or hide the answer
Tennessee backwoodsman, served under Andrew Jackson in the war against the Creek Indians 1813–4; served on the Tennessee State Legislature 1821–4; Democratic Congressman 1827–31 and 1833–5; killed at The Alamo in the War of Texan Independence, 1836 Click to show or hide the answer
Became a national (and international) heroine in 1838, aged 22, when she and her father William (keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse) rescued the crew of the SS Forfarshire off the Farne islands Click to show or hide the answer
French engineer: built the Suez Canal but failed to build the Panama Canal Click to show or hide the answer
Known to Oscar Wilde as 'Bosie' (from 'Boysie', his mother's nickname for him) Click to show or hide the answer
Bosie's father, sued by Wilde for libel in 1895 after accusing Wilde of "posing as a somdomite" (sic), won a counterclaim against Wilde for his legal expenses, leaving Wilde bankrupt and leading to his conviction for gross indecency; more famous today for his public endorsement of the rules governing boxing in 1867 Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
French army officer, falsely accused of betraying military secrets to Germany, in 1894; defended by Emile Zola; exonerated in 1906 Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
French courtesan, 1824–47: lover of several prominent men, including the writer Alexandre Dumas fils; inspired his novel and play La Dame aux Camélias (a.k.a. Camille), which was adapted by Verdi into the opera La Traviata; died of tuberculosis aged 23 Click to show or hide the answer
Patented more than 1000 inventions including the microphone and the phonograph Click to show or hide the answer
Surveyor General of India, 1830–43 Click to show or hide the answer
The first Lord Mayor of London (1189) Click to show or hide the answer
Captain of HMS Beagle during Darwin's famous voyage; governor of New Zealand, 1843–5; appointed Meteorologist to the Board of Trade 1854, and thus effectively founder of the Meteorological Office; the shipping forecast area Finisterre was renamed for him in 2002 Click to show or hide the answer
Canadian railway engineer (1827–1915): after missing a train in Ireland, in 1876, because the timetable confused a.m. and p.m, proposed a worldwide system of time zones, based on the Greenwich meridian; his proposals were essentially adopted at a conference in Washington DC in 1884 Click to show or hide the answer
Statesman and orator, 1749–1806; became an MP aged 19; Britain's first Foreign Secretary; campaigned against slavery, supported the American and French revolutions Click to show or hide the answer
Prison reformer and Quaker, born Norwich 1780; wrote a treatise with her brother, 1817; died 1845 Click to show or hide the answer
Cousin of Charles Darwin, invented the term eugenics Click to show or hide the answer
Chief Commissioner of Works, Palace of Westminster, 1858, after whom Big Ben is named Click to show or hide the answer
Mistress of Nelson (from 1798 until his death in 1805), and the mother of his two daughters (one of whom died in infancy); muse of painter George Romney Click to show or hide the answer
Founder of the Scottish Labour Party, and the first Labour MP Click to show or hide the answer
Foundling 'Wild Boy' of Nuremburg (died 1833) Click to show or hide the answer
Originator of the Penny Post (1840) Click to show or hide the answer
Peterloo (1819): speaking on the condition of the poor and electoral reform, when the peaceful crowd was fired on by the Military Click to show or hide the answer
Boer War General, the inspiration for Buchan's Richard Hannay Click to show or hide the answer
French textile manufacturer, invented (1804) a punched–card system for programming designs on a carpet loom Click to show or hide the answer
Said to be England's last professional jester; also known as Lord Flame; dancing master to the gentry of Gawsworth, Cheshire; died in 1773 and was buried in a wood that now bears his name Click to show or hide the answer
Irish actress, mistress of William IV; had ten children with him, 1794–1807, from one of whom David Cameron is descended Click to show or hide the answer
South African soldier and statesman; led the Boers to victory in the First Boer War (1881); still depicted on South African coins Click to show or hide the answer
Married to the future Lord Melbourne, 1805–28; had a passionate affair with Lord Byron, which caused a major scandal in 1812; described both the marriage and the affair in lurid fashion in a Gothic novel, Glenarvon (1816) Click to show or hide the answer
Socialite and actress, born in 1853 on the island of Jersey and nicknamed 'the Jersey Lily': known for her relationships with members of the aristocracy, including the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Prince Louis of Battenberg (father of Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma) Click to show or hide the answer
Grocer, merchant and baronet, born in Glasgow in 1838: challenged five times for the America's Cup, in his yachts named Shamrock (Shamrock to Shamrock V); also donated trophies to various sporting contests, including an international football tournament played in Turin in 1909 and 1911 – sometimes referred to as the first World Cup Click to show or hide the answer
Historian, poet, essayist; MP for Edinburgh; Lord Melbourne's Secretary for War (1839) Click to show or hide the answer
Born Prussia; expelled from Prussia and France for increasing radicalism; settled in London; founded the International Working Men's Association (1864) which later became the First International; died in 1883 Click to show or hide the answer
Co–founder of Punch (1841), and one of its joint founding editors; also compiled an influential survey of the London poor, published in 1851 as London Labour and the London Poor Click to show or hide the answer
English road builder, 1717–1810, blinded by smallpox aged six – known as "Blind Jack" Click to show or hide the answer
Austrian statesman and diplomat who chaired the Congress of Vienna, 1814–5 Click to show or hide the answer
Developed an informal method of nursery education based on her experiences with mentally handicapped children; appointed director of a school for the mentally retarded (Rome, 1896) Click to show or hide the answer
American portrait painter and designer, best known for a means of long–distance communication developed 1832 Click to show or hide the answer
American physician, imprisoned for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of US President Abraham Lincoln Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Scottish born US naturalist (1838–1914): instrumental in the establishment of the Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks Click to show or hide the answer
Created Duke of Bronte by the King of Naples in 1799; married Mrs. Frances (Fanny) Nesbit, a widow Click to show or hide the answer
Carried a pet baby owl, called Athena, in her pocket (just before she went to the Crimea) Click to show or hide the answer
Illegitimate son of the Irish–born Governor of Chile, and later Viceroy of Peru: freed Chile from Spanish rule (Chilean War of Independence 1810–26) Click to show or hide the answer
Future prime minister, made a famous speech in Parliament 1850 when Foreign Secretary, defending his decision to send gunboats to Greece in support of Don Pacifico Click to show or hide the answer
Gentleman farmer, born at Park End, near Caldbeck, Cumberland, probably in 1776; died in 1854 and is buried in Caldbeck churchyard; remembered through a popular song, written by his friend John Woodcock Graves (1795–1886) and published (in edited form) in 1866 Click to show or hide the answer
First found fame when he foiled an alleged plot to assassinate president–elect Abraham Lincoln on the way to his inauguration (1861) Click to show or hide the answer
Adapted Samuel Taylor's shorthand system, 1837, to the one commonly in use today Click to show or hide the answer
Invented the International Load Line for ships (1876) Click to show or hide the answer
Founder of Singapore (1819) for the British East India Company; previously played an important role in the capture of Java from the Dutch (1811); also founded the Royal Zoological Society (London Zoo) in 1826 Click to show or hide the answer
Keswick parson, instrumental in the founding of the National Trust; encouraged Beatrix Potter to publish Click to show or hide the answer
English–born South African financier (1853–1902), ruling spirit of the British South Africa Company; subject of a series of angry protests in South Africa and elsewhere, beginning in 2015, demanding the removal of memorials to him – including a statue at Oriel College, Oxford – and the raising of awareness of the implications of colonialism, including representation of 'black voices' (Wikipedia's quotes) Click to show or hide the answer
German–born financier (1777–1836): supplied coin to British troops during the Napoleonic wars and founded the banking dynasty that bears his name Click to show or hide the answer
US Union general of the Civil War, given the middle name of a native American chief (some say it was originally his only given name, but became his middle name after he was given a more conventional first name aged 9 or 10) Click to show or hide the answer
Born 1841 in Denbigh, Flintshire, illegitimate son of John Rowlands (an alcoholic) and Elizabeth Parry (aged 19); lived in St. Asaph workhouse from age 5 to 15; went to the USA in 1859 to seek a new life, taking the name of a wealthy trader who befriended him; fought in the US Civil War, then became a journalist; sent to Africa in 1869 by the New York Herald, to find Livingstone Click to show or hide the answer
Helen Keller's teacher and long–term companion (1886–1936) – herself visually impaired Click to show or hide the answer
Heir to a lucrative baronetcy, disappeared at sea off South America in 1854, and was presumed dead; in 1866, after his mother posted advertisements asking for information about him, a butcher from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, named Thomas Castro, claimed to be him; but in a celebrated legal case, the court decided otherwise Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Founder of the modern German navy – 1896–1916 Click to show or hide the answer
English teetotaller, said to have coined the word 'teetotal' in 1833 Click to show or hide the answer
American financier who made a fortune in railways and endowed a university in Nashville, Tennessee, which bears his name (1873) Click to show or hide the answer
Polish countess who became the mistress of Napoleon in order to influence his actions towards her homeland – subject of a 1937 biopic, sometimes known by her name, starring Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer Click to show or hide the answer
US civil rights leader, 1856–1915, middle name Taliaferro; subject of a 1983 biography, entitled The Wizard of Tuskegee – a soubriquet that stuck Click to show or hide the answer
Engineer, born Stockport in 1803, went into business in 1833 manufacturing machine tools; devised what would become the British standard for screw threads; made a large bequest to Manchester University, as a result of which an art gallery (among other things) was named in his honour Click to show or hide the answer
Dermatologist who brought Cleopatra's Needle to London at his own expense (1877–8) Click to show or hide the answer
Polish occultist who invented Esperanto in 1887 Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18