the BBC conducted a vote to determine whom the general public considers the 100
Greatest Britons of all time are. This list is below. You can vote for your favourite Briton of all time at the bottom of this page.
Sir Winston Churchill, (1874–1965),
Prime Minister during the Second World War.
Winston Churchill was the son of conservative politician Lord Randolph
Churchill and his American wife, Jennie Jerome, and a direct descendant
from the first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722).
He served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to
Churchill proved to be a powerful and respected war leader. Churchill
was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which
helped inspire the British people. He led Britain as Prime Minister
until victory had been secured over Nazi Germany.
On 15 January 1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke that left him
gravely ill. He died at his home nine days later, at age 90, on the
morning of Sunday 24 January 1965.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
(1806–1859), engineer, creator of Great Western Railway and other
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born on 9 April 1806 in Portsmouth. His
father Mark was a French engineer who had fled France during the
Revolution. Brunel's first notable achievement was the part he played
with his father in planning the Thames Tunnel from Rotherhithe to
Wapping, completed in 1843.
The work for which Brunel is probably best remembered is his
construction of a network of tunnels, bridges and viaducts for the Great
Brunel died of a stroke on 15 September 1859. He will be remembered for
his outstanding contribution to British Industry.
||Diana, Princess of Wales
(1961–1997), first wife of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales (1981–1996) and
mother of Princes William and Harry of Wales.
Diana, Princess of Wales was a member of the British royal family and an
international personality of the late 20th century as the first wife of
Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981. The wedding,
which was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, was televised and watched by a
global audience of over 750 million people. The marriage produced two
sons: Princes William and Harry.
During the early 1990s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, an
event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media.
Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press
through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise
Known lovingly as 'the Queen of Hearts'. Diane was famous all over the
world and dedicated much of her life to charity.
Sadly Diane was killed in a car crash in 1997. Diana's funeral took
place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. The previous day Queen
Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast. Her
sons, the Princes William and Harry, walked in the funeral procession
behind her coffin, along with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of
Edinburgh, and with Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.
Charles Darwin (1809–1882),
naturalist, originator of the theory of evolution through natural
selection and author of On the Origin of Species.
Charles Robert Darwin was born on 12 February 1809 in Shrewsbury.
Darwin initially planned to follow a medical career, and studied at
Edinburgh University but later switched to divinity at Cambridge.
Darwin worked on his theories for 20 years. In 1859 Darwin
published 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection'.
Darwin died on 19 April 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
||William Shakespeare (1564–1616),
English poet and playwright, thought of by many as the greatest of all
writers in the English language
Shakespeare's reputation as dramatist and poet actor is unique and he is
considered by many to be the greatest playwright of all time. William
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was
baptised on 26 April 1564. His father was a glove maker and wool
merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, the daughter of a well-to-do local
Records of Shakespeare's plays begin to appear in 1594, and he produced
roughly two a year until around 1611. Some of his most famous tragedies
were written in the early 1600s including 'Hamlet', 'Othello', 'King
Lear' and 'Macbeth'. His late plays, often known as the Romances, date
from 1608 onwards and include 'The Tempest'.
He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in
Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727),
physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and
alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of
Isaac Newton was born on 4 January 1643 in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire.
His father was a prosperous farmer, who died three months before Newton
was born. In 1661, he went to Cambridge University where he became
interested in mathematics, optics, physics and astronomy.
It was Newton's reflecting telescope, made in 1668, that finally brought
him to the attention of the scientific community and in 1672 he was made
a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1687, with the support of his friend
the astronomer Edmond Halley, Newton published his single greatest work,
the 'Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica'
Newton was a difficult man, prone to depression and often involved in
bitter arguments with other scientists, but by the early 1700s he was
the dominant figure in British and European science. He died on 31 March
1727 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
||Queen Elizabeth I of England
(1533–1603), monarch, (reigned 1558–1603)
Elizabeth I is considered one of the country's most successful and
popular monarchs. Clever, enigmatic and flirtatious, she rewrote the
rules of being Queen.
The reign of Elizabeth I is often thought of as a Golden Age. It was a
time of extravagance and luxury in which a flourishing popular culture
was expressed through writers such as Shakespeare, and explorers like
Drake and Raleigh sought to expand England's territory overseas.
Her 44 years on the throne provided valuable stability for the kingdom
and helped forge a sense of national identity.
||John Lennon (1940–1980), musician
with The Beatles, philanthropist, peace activist, artist
John Lennon has been a great influence on the world, not only
through his music, but also through other channels such as his art and
peace campaigns. Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and biting wit in
his music, on film, in books, and at press conferences and interviews.
John married Cynthia Powell on 23 August at the Mount Pleasant Register
Office in Liverpool. They had a son called John Charles Julian Lennon,
who was born in Sefton General Hospital on 8 April 1963. John married
married in Yoko Ono in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969. Their had a son, Sean
Lennon, who was born on Lennon's 35th birthday, October 9, 1975.
On the night of 8 December 1980, at around 10:50 pm, Mark David Chapman
shot Lennon in the back four times in the entrance of the Dakota
Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st
Viscount Nelson (1758–1805), naval commander.
Nelson was noted for his
ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men: the 'Nelson
touch'. His grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics produced a
number of decisive victories. The most famous victory was the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, during which he
Nelson could at times be vain, insecure and overly anxious for
recognition, but he was also zealous, patriotic and dutiful, as well as
courageous. He was wounded several times in combat, losing most of one
arm and the sight in one eye. His death at Trafalgar secured his
position as one of England's most heroic figures.
Numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square,
London, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains highly
||Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord
Oliver Cromwell was born on 25 April 1599 in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
into a family of minor gentry and studied at Cambridge University. He
became MP for Huntingdon in the parliament of 1628 - 1629. In the 1630s
Cromwell experienced a religious crisis and became convinced that he
would be guided to carry out God's purpose.
Civil war broke out between King Charles I and parliament in 1642.
Cromwell convinced parliament to establish a professional army - the New
Model Army - which won the decisive victory over the king's forces at
Cromwell became army commander and lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he
crushed resistance with the massacres of the garrisons at Drogheda and
Lord Protector Cromwell reorganised the national church and established
Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 in London. After the Restoration his
body was dug up and hanged.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (1874–1922)
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish explorer who was one of
the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic
Exploration. His first experience of the polar regions was as third
officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition, 1901–04,
from which he was sent home early on health grounds. Determined to make
amends for this perceived personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in
1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three
companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest
South latitude at 88°23'S, 97 geographical miles (114 statute miles,
190 km) from the South Pole, by far the closest convergence in
exploration history up to that time. For this achievement, Shackleton
was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home.
In 1921 he went back to the Antarctic with the Shackleton-Rowett
Expedition, intending to carry out a program of scientific and survey
activities. Before the expedition could begin this work Shackleton died
of a heart attack while his ship, Quest, was moored in South
Georgia. At his wife's request he was buried there.
||Captain James Cook (1728–1779),
Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer,
ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy.
Cook was the first to map Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to
the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the first European contact
with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands as well
as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Cook died in Hawaii in a fight with Hawaiians during his third
exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.
||Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron
Baden-Powell (1857–1941), founder of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides
After having been educated at Charterhouse School, Baden-Powell served
in the British Army from 1876 until 1910 in India and Africa.
In 1899, stretching his talents and astuteness to the full, Colonel
Baden-Powell saved the South African village of Mafeking, after 217 days
under siege by the Boers.
he wrote Scouting for Boys, published in 1908 by Pearson, for
youth readership. During writing, he tested his ideas through a camping
trip on Brownsea Island with the local Boys' Brigade and sons of his
friends that began on 1 August 1907, which is now seen as the beginning
Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was
buried in 1941.
Alfred the Great
of Wessex, (reigned 871–899)
Alfred was the first King of the West
Saxons to style himself "King of the Anglo-Saxons".
Most of Alfred's reforms can be seen in the basis of the creation of
England. The institutions he formed for governing the land became the
eventual basis for parliamentary systems of the United Kingdom and the
Commonwealth of Nations as well the United States Congress.
||Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of
Wellington (1769–1852), military commander, statesman and Prime Minister
1828–1830 and 1834
Born in Ireland to a prominent Ascendancy family, he was commissioned an
ensign in the British Army in 1787. Wellesley rose to prominence as a
general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was
promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to
victory against the French at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. During the
Hundred Days in 1815, he commanded the allied army which defeated
Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
He remained Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death in
||Margaret Thatcher (born 1925),
Prime Minister (1979–1990)
Margaret Hilda Roberts was born on 13 October 1925 in Grantham,
Lincolnshire, the daughter of a grocer. In 1951, she married a wealthy
businessman, Denis Thatcher, with whom she had two children.
Thatcher became Conservative member of parliament for Finchley in north
London in 1959, serving as its MP until 1992. After the Conservatives
were defeated in 1974, Thatcher challenged Heath for the leadership of
the party and, to the surprise of many, won. In the 1979 general
election, the Conservatives came to power and Thatcher became prime
Margaret Thatcher was Britain's first female prime minister and served
three consecutive terms in office. In November 1990, she agreed to
resign and was succeeded as party leader and prime minister by John
(born 1942), actor
Michael Crawford was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England as Michael
Patrick Dumbell Smith. He made his first stage appearance in the role of
Sammy the Little Sweep in his school production of Benjamin Britten's
Let's Make an Opera.
While he was riding home on a bus after an audition, he noticed a lorry
with the slogan "Crawford's Biscuits Are Best". It was then that he
decided to change his name to Michael Crawford.
With a career that spans over four decades, he is known both in and out
of Britain for originating the title role in The Phantom of the Opera,
as well as playing the hapless Frank Spencer in the popular 1970s
British sitcom, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, which successfully
earned him a place as a household name and made him famous to millions
around the world.
Queen Victoria (1819–1901), monarch
Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7
Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British
Empire; during this period it reached its zenith, becoming the foremost
global power of the time.
She died from declining health on Tuesday 22 January 1901 at half
past six in the evening, at the age of 81.
||Sir Paul McCartney (born 1942),
musician with The Beatles
McCartney gained worldwide fame as a member of The Beatles, alongside
John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. McCartney is listed in
Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and
composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100
million singles in the UK.
BBC News named his song "Yesterday" the most covered song in history--by
over 2,200 artists--and, according to the BBC has been played more than
7,000,000 times on American television and radio. Based on the 93 weeks
his compositions have spent at the top spot of the UK chart, and 24
number one singles to his credit, McCartney is the most successful
songwriter in UK singles chart history.
McCartney is one of the UK's wealthiest people, with an estimated
fortune of £475 million in 2010.
||Sir Alexander Fleming (1881–1955),
Sir Alexander Fleming was born at Lochfield near Darvel in
Ayrshire, Scotland on August 6th, 1881. He moved to London at the age of
13 and later trained as a doctor.
In World War One Fleming served in the Army Medical Corps and was
mentioned in dispatches. After the war, he returned to St Mary's medical
In 1928, while studying influenza, Fleming noticed that mould had
developed accidentally on a set of culture dishes being used to grow the
staphylococci germ. The mould had created a bacteria-free circle around
itself. Fleming experimented further and named the active substance
penicillin, 'the most efficacious life-saving drug in the world' -
penicillin would alter forever the treatment of bacterial infections.
Dr Fleming died on March 11th in 1955 and is buried in St. Paul's
||Alan Turing (1912–1954), pioneer of
Alan Turing was born on 23 June 1912 in London. Alan Turing was born on
23 June 1912 in London.
In 1936, Turing went to Princeton University in America, returning to
England in 1938. He began to work secretly part-time for the British
cryptanalytic department, the Government Code and Cypher School. On the
outbreak of war he took up full-time work at its headquarters, Bletchley
In 1949, he went to Manchester University where he directed the
computing laboratory and developed a body of work that helped to form
the basis for the field of artificial intelligence.
In 1952, Turing was arrested and tried for homosexuality, then a
criminal offence. He committed suicide on 7 June 1954.
||Michael Faraday (1791–1867),
Faraday was born on 22 September 1791 in south London. His family was
not well off and Faraday received only a basic formal education.
In 1812, Faraday attended four lectures given by the chemist Humphry
Davy at the Royal Institution. Faraday subsequently wrote to Davy asking
for a job as his assistant. Davy turned him down but in 1813 appointed
him to the job of chemical assistant at the Royal Institution.
In 1821 he published his work on electromagnetic rotation (the principle
behind the electric motor). In 1831, Faraday discovered electromagnetic
induction, the principle behind the electric transformer and generator.
This discovery was crucial in allowing electricity to be transformed
from a curiosity into a powerful new technology.
He died on 25 August 1867 at Hampton Court, where he had been given
official lodgings in recognition of his contribution to science.
||Owain Glyndwr (1359–1416), Prince
Owain GlynDwr was born around the 1350s into an Anglo-Welsh gentry
family. His estates provided him with a modest power base in north-east
Wales. was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welsh person to hold the
title Prince of Wales. He instigated an ultimately unsuccessful but
long-running revolt against English rule of Wales.
In June 1402, at the Battle of Pilleth on Bryn Glas Hill, GlynDwr led
his troops to victory over an English army led by Edmund Mortimer. By
now GlynDwr was leading a national revolt. In 1404 a French
expeditionary force landed at Milford Haven, and joined with the Welsh
to march towards Worcester, capturing several important castles as they
went. Before long, however, the English started to regain control of
Wales, and support for the revolt faded.
By 1408, the rebellion had
reverted to a guerrilla war. GlynDwr was now a leader on the run, and he
is last mentioned in government records - where terms are offered for
his surrender - in February 1416. It is thought that by this time he was
Queen Elizabeth II (born
1926), reigning monarch (1952–present)
Elizabeth became Queen of the
United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan,
and Ceylon upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952.
Elizabeth married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947. The
couple have four children and eight grandchildren.
||Professor Stephen Hawking (born
1942), theoretical physicist
Professor Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford,
England. At St. Albans School where he attended after age 11 he did well
but not appear to be amongst the brightest of students. He subsequently
went on to do research in Cosmology at Cambridge.
His life was complicated by his becoming aware of suffering from an
illness that was diagnosed as the incurable disease ALS, (Amyotrophic
Lateral Sclerosis), a type of motor neurone disease.
Hawking's key scientific works to date have included providing, with
Roger Penrose, theorems regarding gravitational singularities in the
framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that
black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking
radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein–Hawking radiation).
||William Tyndale (1494–1536),
English translator of the Bible
William Tyndale was born in Slymbridge in about 1496. While studying at
Oxford he became very interested in the ideas of John Wycliffe and the
Lollards. Tyndale became convinced that the church had become corrupt
and selfish. Like Wycliffe, Tyndale thought it was important that people
had the opportunity to read and interpret the Bible for themselves.
Tyndale wanted to translate the Bible into English but at that time
Henry VIII and the English church were very much against the idea.
He completed his translation of the New Testament in 1525, and it was
printed at Worms and smuggled into England. Of 18,000 copies, only two
In 1535 William Tyndale was betrayed by Henry Phillips and arrested in
Antwerp and imprisoned in a castle near Brussels. He was found guilty of
heresy and on 6th October, 1536, he was strangled and burnt at the
Two years later Henry VIII
gave permission for the publication of the English Bible.
||Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928),
Emmeline Goulden was born on 14 July 1858 in Manchester into a family
with a tradition of radical politics. In 1879, she married Richard
Pankhurst, a lawyer and supporter of the women's suffrage movement.
In 1889, Emmeline founded the Women's Franchise League, which fought to
allow married women to vote in local elections. In October 1903, she
helped found the more militant Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).
In 1913, WSPU member Emily Davison was killed when she threw herself
under the king's horse at the Derby as a protest at the government's
continued failure to grant women the right to vote.
Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions over
the next few years and went on hunger strike herself, resulting in
violent force-feeding. In 1913, in response to the wave of hunger
strikes, the government passed what became known as the 'Cat and Mouse'
Act. Hunger striking prisoners were released until they grew strong
again, and then re-arrested.
In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave voting rights to
women over 30. Emmeline died on 14 June 1928, shortly after women were
granted equal voting rights with men (at 21).
||William Wilberforce (1759–1833),
William Wilberforce was born on 24 August 1759 in Hull, the son of a
wealthy merchant. He studied at Cambridge University where he began a
lasting friendship with the future prime minister, William Pitt the
Younger. In 1780, Wilberforce became member of parliament for Hull,
later representing Yorkshire.
He and others were campaigning for an end to the trade in which British
ships were carrying black slaves from Africa, in terrible conditions, to
the West Indies as goods to be bought and sold.
The campaign was supported by many members of the Clapham Sect and other
abolitionists who raised public awareness of their cause with pamphlets,
books, rallies and petitions. In 1807, the slave trade was finally
abolished, but this did not free those who were already slaves. It was
not until 1833 that an act was passed giving freedom to all slaves in
the British empire.
Wilberforce retired from politics in 1825 and died on 29 July 1833,
shortly after the act to free slaves in the British empire passed
through the House of Commons. He was buried near his friend Pitt in
||David Bowie (born 1947), musician
David was born David Robert Jones on 8th January 1947. Active in five
decades of popular music and frequently reinventing his music and image,
Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in
the 1970s, and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual
depth of his work.
After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number
ones with the 1980 single "Ashes to Ashes" and its parent album,
Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He paired with Queen for the 1981
UK chart-topping single "Under Pressure", but reached a new commercial
peak in 1983 with the album Let's Dance.
In the United Kingdom, he has been awarded 9 Platinum, 11 Gold and 8
Silver albums, and in the United States, 5 Platinum and 7 Gold. In 2004,
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him 39th on their list of the 100 Greatest
Rock Artists of All Time and the 23rd best singer of all time.
||Guy Fawkes (1570–1606), English
Fawkes was born and educated in York. His father died when Fawkes was
eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic.
Wintour introduced Fawkes to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate
King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters
secured the lease to an undercroft beneath the House of Lords, and
Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder they stockpiled there.
Everything seemed ready. But on the night of 26 October, an anonymous
letter was delivered to Lord Monteagle, warning him to avoid the opening
of Parliament. the authorities searched Westminster Palace during the
early hours of 5 November, and found Fawkes guarding the explosives.
Guy Fawkes was found guilty of treason and executed along with Thomas
Wintour, on 31st January, 1606. The two men were both hanged, drawn and
||Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire
(1917–1992), aviator and charity organiser
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Cheshire applied for a
commission in the Royal Air Force and was initially posted in June 1940
to 102 Squadron, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley medium bombers, from
RAF Driffield. In November 1940, he was awarded the DSO for flying his
badly-damaged bomber back to base.
Among the honours he received as a bomber pilot is the Victoria Cross,
the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the
enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. After the
war, he became a charity worker, setting up the Leonard Cheshire
Disability as well as other philanthropic organisations.
In 1948, he founded the charity now styled Leonard Cheshire Disability,
which provides support to disabled people throughout the world. It is
now one of the top 30 British charities.
On 15 July 1941, Cheshire married the American actress, Constance Binney
(21 years his senior), but the marriage was short-lived and childless.
On 5 April 1959, in Bombay's Roman Catholic Cathedral, he married Sue
Ryder, also a Roman Catholic convert and humanitarian. He and Baroness
Ryder were one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own
right. They had two children, Jeromy and Elizabeth Cheshire, and lived
in Cavendish, Suffolk.
He died of motor neurone disease on 31 July 1992, aged 74.
||Eric Morecambe (1926–1984),
From a working class background John Eric Bartholomew (later to call
himself Eric Morecambe after the Town) was born on 14th May 1926 . His
Mother and Father, Sadie and George Bartholomew met at a dance at the
Winter Gardens in Morecambe and it was love at first sight. George used
to hold a job on the Lancaster Market while Sadie soon became a very
important part in the development and progress of her sons career.
In 1939 Eric aged 13, received a child entertainment licence from
Morecambe and Heysham authorities.He won a talent competition organised
by the 'Melody Maker', successfully shinning though over 100 other
competitors. This talented young comedian was heading for bigger and
Eric met Ernie in their teens and struck up a quite remarkable and long
lasting relationship. in 1950 they signed up with Frank Pope, who booked
them in the number one variety theatres 'Moss Empire Theatres' working 6
days a week. Summer shows, Variety, Pantos, they experienced them all.
The now famous Christmas show, first transmitted in 1977 earned a place
in the Guiness Book of Records by achieving twenty eight million
Eric collapsed and died in 1984 after appearing in a Sunday concert
||David Beckham (born 1975),
Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with
Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. He left
Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for
four seasons, clinching the championship in his final season with the
club. In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real
Madrid for the Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy, signing a
five-year contract with them on 1 July 2007.
In international football, Beckham made his England debut on 1 September
1996, at the age of 21. He was made from 15 November 2000 until the
finals, during which he played 58 times. He earned a much-publicised
hundredth against France on 26 March 2008, and became the all-time
outfield player appearance record holder on 28 March 2009 when he
surpassed Bobby Moore's total of 108 caps.
Beckham is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (née Adams).
The couple have three sons and currently reside in Beverly Hills,
Beckham has supported UNICEF since his days at Manchester United and in
January 2005, the English national team captain became a Goodwill
Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development
program. More recently Beckham has pledged his support for the current
Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS campaign.
Thomas Paine (1737–1809), political
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor,
intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the
United States. Born in Thetford, in the English county of Norfolk, Paine
emigrated to the British American colonies in 1774 in time to
participate in the American Revolution. His principal contributions were
the powerful, widely read pamphlet Common Sense (1776),
advocating colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great
In 1789 Paine visited France, and lived there for much of the following
decade. He was deeply involved in the early stages of the French
Revolution. He wrote the Rights of Man (1791), in part a defense
of the French Revolution.
In December of 1793, he was arrested and imprisoned in Paris, then
released in 1794. He became notorious because of The Age of Reason
(1793–94), his book that advocates deism, promotes reason and
freethinking, argues against institutionalized religion and Christian
In 1802, at President Jefferson's invitation, he returned to America
where he died on June 8, 1809. Only six people attended his funeral as
he had been ostracized due to his criticism and ridicule of
||Boudica (died c.60), leader of
Celtic resistance to the Roman Empire
When Claudius invaded Britain, in 43, the Iceni offered no opposition,
and voluntarily accepted Roman domination. Boudica's husband Prasutagus,
ruler of the Iceni tribe who had ruled as a nominally independent ally
of Rome, left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor
in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored. The kingdom
was annexed as if conquered, Boudica was flogged and her daughters
raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.
In AD 60 or 61 Boudica led the Iceni people, along with the Trinovantes
and others, in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester),
they also routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve
the settlement. The crisis caused the emperor Nero to consider
withdrawing all Roman forces from the island, but Suetonius' eventual
victory over Boudica secured Roman control of the province. It is
believed that Boudica killed herself so she would not be captured
||Sir Steve Redgrave (born 1962),
Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave CBE (born on 23 March 1962, in Marlow,
Buckinghamshire) is an English rower who won gold medals at five
consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000. As well as his 5 Olympic
Gold medals (the first in Los Angeles in 1984, the last in Sydney in
2000), Redgrave is also 9 times World Champion and triple Commonwealth
Redgrave is one of only four Olympians to have won a gold medal at five
consecutive Olympic Games. This achievement led to him being hailed as
Britain's greatest Olympian.
Steve helped Britain secure the 2012 Olympics and is a great ambassador
to British sport. He was made an MBE in 1987, a CBE in 1997, and he
became a Knight Bachelor in 2001.
||Sir Thomas More (1478–1535),
English lawyer and politician
Sir Thomas More was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and
for three years toward the end of his life he was Lord Chancellor. In
1521 he was knighted, in 1523, he became the speaker of the House of
Commons and in 1525 chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Sir Thomas More opposed the king's separation from the Catholic Church.
He was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1534. In 1535 he was tried
for treason and beheaded. More was beatified by the Catholic Church in
1886 and canonised, with John Fisher, in 1935. In 1980, he was added to
the Church of England's list of 'saints and heroes of the Christian
||William Blake (1757–1827),
author/poet, painter and printer
William Blake was largly unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now
considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual
arts of the Romantic Age.
William Blake, the son of a draper from
Westminster, was born on 28th November, 1757. At the age of eleven Blake
entered Par's Drawing School in the strand.
Three years later he was
indentured as an apprentice to James Basire, engraver to the Royal
Society of Antiquaries.
After marrying Catherine Boucher on 18th August 1782, Blake became a
freelance engraver. His main employer was the radical bookseller, Joseph
Johnson, and publisher of works by Mary Wollstonecraft and William
Godwin. Johnson, who been involved in establishing London's first
Unitarian Chapel in 1774, also influenced Blake's religious views.
An exhibition of
Blake's work at the Royal Academy in 1809 failed to attract any
significant interest and he sank into obscurity.
Blake continued to produce poetry, paintings and engravings
but he rarely found customers for his work.
William Blake died in
1827 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Bunhill Fields.
||John Harrison (1693–1776), clock
John Harrison was born in Foulby, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, the
first of five children in his family. Around 1700, the family moved to
the North Lincolnshire village of Barrow upon Humber. Following his
father's trade as a carpenter, Harrison built and repaired clocks in his
spare time. He also had a fascination for music, eventually becoming
choirmaster for Barrow parish church.
In 1730 Harrison created a description and drawings for a proposed
marine clock to compete for the Longitude Prize. It took Harrison five
years to build Harrison Number One or H1. In 1736, Harrison and his
timekeeper travelled to Lisbon aboard the ship Centurion to
test the clock, and returned on the Oxford. H1 performed well
in the trial, keeping time accurately enough for Harrison to correct a
misreading of the Oxford's longitude on the return voyage.
Harrison went on to invent more accurate and better clocks. One of his
last inventions was used by captain James Cook. Cook's voyage proved
beyond doubt that longitude could be measured from a watch.
Harrison died on his eighty-third birthday and is buried in the
graveyard of St John's Church, Hampstead along with his second wife
Elizabeth and their son William
||King Henry VIII of England
(1491–1547), monarch (reigned 1509–1547)
Henry was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was
Lord and later King of Ireland and claimant to the Kingdom of France.
Henry was the second monarch of the House of Tudor, succeeding his
father, Henry VII.
Besides his six marriages, Henry VIII is known for his role in the
separation of the Church of England from the Catholic Church. Henry's
struggles with Rome led to the separation of the Church of England from
papal authority, the Dissolution of the Monasteries, and establishing
himself as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Henry oversaw the
legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542.
Henry was an attractive and charismatic man in his prime, educated and
accomplished. He was an author and a composer. He ruled with absolute
power. His desire to provide England with a male heir—which stemmed
partly from personal vanity and partly because he believed a daughter
would be unable to consolidate the Tudor Dynasty and the fragile peace
that existed following the Wars of the Roses led to the two things that
Henry is remembered for: his wives, and the English Reformation that
made England a mostly Protestant nation. In later life he became
morbidly obese and his health suffered; his public image is frequently
depicted as one of a lustful, egotistical, harsh and insecure king.
Henry died at the age of 55, on 28 January 1547 in the Palace of
Charles Dickens (1812–1870), author
Charles Dickens was born in 1812. His father's brief period as a clerk
in the Navy Pay Office afforded Charles a few years of private education
at William Giles's School, in Chatham. This period came to an abrupt end
when John Dickens spent beyond his means and was imprisoned in the
Marshalsea debtor's prison in Southwark, London. Dickens then began his
literary career as a journalist where he would learn his writing skills.
Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classical
He is the quintessential Victorian author: his epic
stories, vivid characters and exhaustive depiction of contemporary life
are unforgettable.He was also a theatre enthusiast, wrote plays and performed before
Queen Victoria in 1851.He was also a theatre enthusiast, wrote plays and performed before
Queen Victoria in 1851.
He was estranged from his wife in 1858 after the birth of their ten
children, but maintained relations with his mistress, the actress Ellen
Ternan. He died of a stroke in 1870. He is buried at Westminster Abbey.
||Sir Frank Whittle (1907–1996), jet
||John Peel (1939–2004), broadcaster
||John Logie Baird (1888–1946),
||Aneurin Bevan (1897–1960),
||Boy George (born 1961), musician
with Culture Club
||Sir Douglas Bader (1910–1982),
aviator and charity campaigner
Sir William Wallace (c.1270–1305),
Guardian of Scotland
Wallace was the younger son of a Scottish knight
and minor landowner. His name, Wallace or le Waleis, means the Welshman,
and he was probably descended from Richard Wallace who had followed the
Stewart family to Scotland in the 12th century.In May 1297 Wallace slew William Heselrig, the English Sheriff of
Soon his rising gained momentum, as men ‘oppressed by the burden
of servitude under the intolerable rule of English domination’ joined
him ‘like a swarm of bees’.
On 11th September Wallace achieved a stunning victory at the Battle
of Stirling Bridge. Militarily he took the war into the north of England, raiding around
Newcastle and wreaking havoc across the north.
chroniclers accused him of atrocities, some no doubt warranted, however,
in Wallace’s eyes the war, since its beginning, had been marked by
brutality and butchery.
Wallace evaded capture by the English until 5 August 1305. Once
captured, he was
hanged, drawn and quartered — strangled by hanging but released whilst
he was still alive,
eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him,
cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop
||Sir Francis Drake (c.1540–1596),
English naval commander
||John Wesley (1703–1791), founder of
||King Arthur, legendary Celtic
||Florence Nightingale (1820–1910),
nurse and charity campaigner
Florence Nightingale was born into a rich, upper-class, well-connected
British family at the Villa Colombaia, Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany,
and was named after the city of her birth.
Inspired by what she took as a Christian divine calling, experienced
first in 1837 at Embley Park and later throughout her life, Florence
announced her decision to enter nursing in 1845
During the Crimean campaign, Florence Nightingale gained the nickname
"The Lady with the Lamp".
On 13 August 1910, at the age of 90, she died peacefully in her sleep in
her room at 10 South Street, Park Lane.
||T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
(1888–1935), Arabist and soldier
||Robert Falcon Scott
||Enoch Powell (1912–1998),
||Sir Cliff Richard (*29) (born
||Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922),
telephone pioneer, placed 9th in the Canadian version
||Freddie Mercury (1946–1991),
musician with Queen
||Dame Julie Andrews (born 1935),
actress and singer
||Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934),
||Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
(1900–2002), Queen consort
||George Harrison (1943–2001),
musician with The Beatles
||Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough is Britain's best-known natural history
film-maker. His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned
nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he
has not visited.
Sir David has long been involved with conservation activities, and his
television documentaries have inspired a whole generation of
||James Connolly (1868–1916), the
Scottish born leader of the Irish 1916 rising
||George Stephenson (1781–1848),
||Sir Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977),
||Tony Blair (born 1953), Prime
(c.1415~1422–c.1492), English printer
||Bobby Moore (1941–1993), footballer
and Captain of England 1966 World Cup winning team
||Jane Austen (1775–1817), author
||William Booth (1829–1912), founder
of Salvation Army
||King Henry V of England
(1387–1422), monarch (reigned 1413–1422)
||Aleister Crowley (1875–1947),
occultist, writer, and social provocateur; founder of Thelema
||Robert the Bruce (1274–1329), King
||The Unknown Warrior, soldier of the
||Robbie Williams (*17) (born 1974),
musician and former member of Take That
||Edward Jenner (1749–1823), pioneer
||David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd
George (1863–1945), Prime Minister (1916–1922)
||Charles Babbage (1791–1871),
mathematician and pioneer of computing
||Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343–1400),
||King Richard III of England
(1452–1485), monarch (reigned 1483–1485)
||J.K. Rowling (born 1965), author
||James Watt (1736–1819), developer
of the steam engine
||Sir Richard Branson (*86) (born
1950), businessman and adventurer
||John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) (born
||Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st
Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887–1976), military commander
||Donald Campbell (1921–1967), water
speed world record challenger
||King Henry II of England
(1133–1189), monarch (reigned 1154–1189)
||James Clerk Maxwell
||J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973), author
||Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618),
||King Edward I of England
(1239–1307), monarch (reigned 1272–1307)
||Sir Barnes Wallis (1887–1979),
aviation technology pioneer
||Richard Burton (1925–1984), actor 1
||Tony Benn (born 1925), politician
||David Livingstone (1813–1873),
missionary and explorer
||Sir Tim Berners-Lee (born 1955),
Internet pioneer and inventor of the World Wide Web
||Marie Stopes (1880–1958), promoter
of birth control
||John Cleese (born 1939), comedian
||Sir Clive Sinclair (born July 30,
1940), entrepreneur and inventor
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BuyfromtheUK top 10.
British Kings and Queens
King William I, the Conqueror
1066 - 1087
Jane Grey 1554
King Henry I 1100 - 1135
I (Bloody Mary) 1553 - 1558
King Stephen 1135 - 1154
Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603
Empress Matilda 1141
1603 - 1625
King Henry II 1154 - 1189
1625 - 1649
King Richard I the Lionheart
1189 - 1199
1660 - 1685
King John 1 1199 - 1216
1685 - 1688
King Henry III 1216 - 1272
1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694
King Edward I 1272 - 1307
1702 - 1714
King Edward II 1307 - 1327
I 1714 - 1727
King Edward III 1327 - 1377
II 1727 - 1760
Richard II 1377 - 1399
III 1760 - 1820
Henry IV 1399 - 1413
IV 1820 - 1830
Henry V 1413 - 1422
William IV 1830 - 1837
Henry VI 1422 - 1461, 1470 -
Victoria 1837 - 1901
King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471
VII 1901 - 1910
King Edward V 1483 - 1483
V 1910 - 1936
King Richard III 1483 - 1485
VIII June 1936
King Henry VII 1485 - 1509
VI 1936 - 1952