The Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker was an eccentric English clergyman remembered for writing the patriotic Cornish song Trelawny, originating the tradition of the Harvest Festival – and dressing as a mermaid.
Hawker was born in Plymouth in 1803 the eldest of nine children. When he was ten years old, his father took holy orders and left Plymouth leaving his son in the care of his grandparents. Read more ›››
Those of us who grew up in the UK in the 1950s and 60s will recall the fruity voice of Kenneth Horne, star of the radio comedies Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne.
But interesting though his life was, for this round of ABC Wednesday, I wanted to briefly look at the life of his father, the Congregational minister, MP, author and champion of the poor, Charles Silvester Horne. Read more ›››
Matthew Henson was the first African-American arctic explorer and the first person to reach the Geographic North Pole.
He was born Matthew Alexander Henson in Maryland in 1866, the son of two freeborn black sharecroppers. His mother died when he was young and his father a few years later and aged eleven Henson left home. Read more ›››
We tend to think of abstract art as a relatively recent phenomenon, something sprung from the psychedelia of the 1960s and yet one woman was a hundred years ahead of her time, the spiritualist artist Georgiana Houghton.
Houghton was born in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, in 1814, the seventh of twelve children of the merchant George Houghton and the family variously lived in London and Madeira, as well as the Canary Islands. Read more ›››
Jane Haining was a Christian missionary who worked with Jewish communities in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s who in 2010 was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.
She was born in Dunscore, Scotland, in 1897 the daughter of Thomas and Jane Haining. Her mother died when Jane was just five-years-old and as she grew she took on the role of caring for the family. Read more ›››
Anyone who has read The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling might think it typical of British Imperialism, but it seems that the inspiration for the story was, in fact, an American, Josiah Harlan.
Harlan was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1799, the son of a prosperous Quaker family. He was one of nine children of Joshua Harlan, a merchant broker in Philadelphia. Read more ›››
Ronnie Hazlehurst is the man behind the theme tunes for many of the BBC’s best loved sitcoms and include him for my ABC gallery not just because he fits the letter H, but also for other personal reasons.
For a starters, he was born in my home town of Dukinfield in 1928, the son of a railway worker and a piano teacher. Read more ›››
If ever a man was a typical product of his times it would be the soldier, adventurer, rake and dandy George Hanger.
Born in Gloucestershire in 1751, Hanger was the son of a country squire who dabbled in politics and who managed to land himself the title of Baron Coleraine even though his claim was but a distant one. Read more ›››