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Famous Great Britons

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In 2002, 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.

1 Winston Churchill 2 Isambard Brunel 3 Diana, Princess of Wales 4 Charles Darwin 5 William Shakespeare
6 Isaac Newton 7 Queen Elizabeth I 8 John Lennon 9 Horatio Nelson 10 Oliver Cromwell
11 Ernest Shackleton 12 Captain James Cook 13 Robert Baden-Powell 14 Alfred the Great 15 Arthur Wellesley
16 Margaret Thatcher 17 Michael Crawford 18 Queen Victoria 19 Paul McCartney 20 Alexander Fleming
21 Alan Turing 22 Michael Faraday 23 Owain Glyndwr 24 Queen Elizabeth II 25 Stephen Hawking
26 William Tyndale 27 Emmeline Pankhurst 28 William Wilberforce 29 David Bowie 30 Guy Fawkes
31 Leonard Cheshire 32 Eric Morecambe 33 David Beckham 34 Thomas Paine 35 Boudica
36 Steve Redgrave 37 Thomas More 38 William Blake 39 John Harrison 40 King Henry VIII
41 Charles Dickens 42 Frank Whittle 43 John Peel 44 John Logie Baird 45 Aneurin Bevan
46 Boy George 47 Douglas Bader 48 William Wallace 49 Francis Drake 50 John Wesley


1.  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 1955.

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.

winston churchill  
2.  Isambard Kingdom Brunel, (1806–1859), engineer, creator of Great Western Railway and other significant works.

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 Western Railway.

Brunel died of a stroke on 15 September 1859. He will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to British Industry.

Isambard Kingdom Brunnel 
3.  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.
diana princess 
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.

Charles Darwin at www.buyfromtheuk.co.uk
5.  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 landowner.

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 Stratford.

William Shakespeare
Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727), physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, and alchemist, regarded by many as the greatest figure in the history of science

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.

Isaac Newton at www.buyfromtheuk.co.uk the Uk free business directory
7.  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.
Queen elizabeteh I
8.  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 apartment building.

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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 was killed.

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 influential.

Admiral Nelson
10.  Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord Protector

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 Naseby (1645).

Cromwell became army commander and lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he crushed resistance with the massacres of the garrisons at Drogheda and Wexford (1649).

Lord Protector Cromwell reorganised the national church and established Puritanism.

Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 in London. After the Restoration his body was dug up and hanged.

Oliver Cromwell at www.buyfromtheuk.co.uk the best uk free business directory
11.  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.

Sir Ernest Shackleton
12.  Captain James Cook (1728–1779), explorer

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.

famous britons captain cook
13.  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 of Scouting.

Baden-Powell lived his last years in Nyeri, Kenya, where he died and was buried in 1941.

robert baden powell scout leader
Alfred the Great (849?–899), King 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.

Alfred the great
15.  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 1852.

duke of wellington
16.  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 minister.

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 Major.

margret thatcher british prime minister
17.  Michael Crawford (born 1942), actor and singer

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.

crawford famous brition
Queen Victoria (1819–1901), monarch (reigned 1837–1901)

Her reign as the Queen lasted 63 years and 7 months.

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.


Queen Victoria at buy from the UK
19.  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.

paul mccartney beatles famous briton
20.  Sir Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), pharmaceutical innovator

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 school.

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 Cathedral.

alexander fleming famous briton
21.  Alan Turing (1912–1954), pioneer of computing

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 Park.

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.

alan turing famous briton
22.  Michael Faraday (1791–1867), scientist

Michael 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.
michael faraday british scientist 
23 Owain Glyndwr (1359–1416), Prince of Wales

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 already dead.

owain Glyndwr prince of wales
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.

Queen elizabeth II
25.  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).

stephen hawking physicist 
26.  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 survive.

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 stake.

Two years later Henry VIII gave permission for the publication of the English Bible.

William Tyndale
27.  Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928), suffragette

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).

Emmeline Pankhurst
28.  William Wilberforce (1759–1833), humanitarian

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 Westminster Abbey.

william wilberforce 
29.  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.

david bowie 
30.  Guy Fawkes (1570–1606), English revolutionary

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 quartered.

guy fawkes photo
31.  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.

Leonard Chesire 
32.  Eric Morecambe (1926–1984), comedian

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 better things.

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 viewers.

Eric collapsed and died in 1984 after appearing in a Sunday concert

eric morecombe 
33.  David Beckham (born 1975), footballer

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, California.

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.

David Beckham
34.  Thomas Paine (1737–1809), political philosopher

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 Britain.

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 doctrines.

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 Christianity.

Thomas Paine
35.  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

36.  Sir Steve Redgrave (born 1962), Olympic rower

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 Champion.

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 steve redgrave
37.  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 Church'.
Sir Thomas More
38.  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.

William Blake
39 John Harrison (1693–1776), clock designer

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

John Harrison 
40.  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 Whitehall.

henry the eighth 
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 English literature.

 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.
Charles Dickens
42.  Sir Frank Whittle (1907–1996), jet engine inventor  
43.  John Peel (1939–2004), broadcaster  
44.  John Logie Baird (1888–1946), television pioneer
45.  Aneurin Bevan (1897–1960), politician  
46.  Boy George (born 1961), musician with Culture Club  
47.  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 Lanark.
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.

Contemporary English 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, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge.
William Wallace
49 Sir Francis Drake (c.1540–1596), English naval commander  
50.  John Wesley (1703–1791), founder of Methodism  
51.  King Arthur, legendary Celtic monarch  
52.  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.
Florence Nightingale
53.  T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) (1888–1935), Arabist and soldier  
54.  Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912), polar explorer  
55.  Enoch Powell (1912–1998), politician  
56.  Sir Cliff Richard (*29) (born 1940), musician  
57.  Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922), telephone pioneer, placed 9th in the Canadian version  
58.  Freddie Mercury (1946–1991), musician with Queen  
59.  Dame Julie Andrews (born 1935), actress and singer  
60.  Sir Edward Elgar (1857–1934), composer  
61.  Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900–2002), Queen consort  
62.  George Harrison (1943–2001), musician with The Beatles  
63.  Sir David Attenborough (born 1926), broadcaster

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 environmentalists
David Attenborough
64.  James Connolly (1868–1916), the Scottish born leader of the Irish 1916 rising  
65.  George Stephenson (1781–1848), railway pioneer  
66.  Sir Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977), comic actor  
67.  Tony Blair (born 1953), Prime Minister (1997–2007)  
68.  William Caxton (c.1415~1422–c.1492), English printer  
69.  Bobby Moore (1941–1993), footballer and Captain of England 1966 World Cup winning team  
70.  Jane Austen (1775–1817), author
71.  William Booth (1829–1912), founder of Salvation Army
72.  King Henry V of England (1387–1422), monarch (reigned 1413–1422)
73.  Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), occultist, writer, and social provocateur; founder of Thelema
74.  Robert the Bruce (1274–1329), King of Scots
75.  The Unknown Warrior, soldier of the Great War
76.  Robbie Williams (*17) (born 1974), musician and former member of Take That
77.  Edward Jenner (1749–1823), pioneer of vaccination
78.  David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd George (1863–1945), Prime Minister (1916–1922)
79.  Charles Babbage (1791–1871), mathematician and pioneer of computing
80.  Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343–1400), English author
81.  King Richard III of England (1452–1485), monarch (reigned 1483–1485)
82.  J.K. Rowling (born 1965), author
83.  James Watt (1736–1819), developer of the steam engine
84.  Sir Richard Branson (*86) (born 1950), businessman and adventurer
85.  John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) (born 1956), musician
86.  Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887–1976), military commander
87.  Donald Campbell (1921–1967), water speed world record challenger
88.  King Henry II of England (1133–1189), monarch (reigned 1154–1189)
89.  James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879), physicist
90.  J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973), author and philologist
91.  Sir Walter Raleigh (1552–1618), English explorer
92.  King Edward I of England (1239–1307), monarch (reigned 1272–1307)
93.  Sir Barnes Wallis (1887–1979), aviation technology pioneer
94.  Richard Burton (1925–1984), actor 1
95.  Tony Benn (born 1925), politician
96.  David Livingstone (1813–1873), missionary and explorer
97.  Sir Tim Berners-Lee (born 1955), Internet pioneer and inventor of the World Wide Web
98.  Marie Stopes (1880–1958), promoter of birth control
99.  John Cleese (born 1939), comedian and actor
100.  Sir Clive Sinclair (born July 30, 1940), entrepreneur and inventor

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British Kings and Queens

King William I, the Conqueror 1066 - 1087 Jane Grey 1554
King Henry I 1100 - 1135 Queen Mary I (Bloody Mary) 1553 - 1558
King Stephen 1135 - 1154 Queen Elizabeth I 1558 - 1603
Empress Matilda 1141 James I 1603 - 1625
King Henry II 1154 - 1189 Charles I 1625 - 1649
King Richard I the Lionheart 1189 - 1199 Charles II 1660 - 1685
King John 1 1199 - 1216 James II 1685 - 1688
King Henry III 1216 - 1272 William III 1688 - 1702 and Queen Mary II 1688 - 1694
King Edward I 1272 - 1307 Queen Anne 1702 - 1714
King Edward II 1307 - 1327 King George I 1714 - 1727
King Edward III 1327 - 1377 King George II 1727 - 1760
Richard II 1377 - 1399 King George III 1760 - 1820
Henry IV 1399 - 1413 King George IV 1820 - 1830
Henry V 1413 - 1422 King William IV 1830 - 1837 
Henry VI 1422 - 1461, 1470 - 1471 Queen Victoria 1837 - 1901
King Edward IV 1461 -1470, 1471 - 1483 King Edward VII 1901 - 1910
King Edward V 1483 - 1483 King George V 1910 - 1936
King Richard III 1483 - 1485 King Edward VIII June 1936
King Henry VII 1485 - 1509 King George VI 1936 - 1952

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