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Famous British personalities

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Wally (Walter Reginald) Hammond

(1903 - 1965)
Profession: Sportsman
English cricketer

One of the game's greatest players, between 1927 and 1947 he scored 7,249 test runs at an average of 58.45, including 22 centuries. The first test cricketer to reach both 6,000 and 7,000 test runs, he led the English first class averages for eight consecutive seasons, 1933-39 and 1946. He was also a good medium-fast bowler and a brilliant slip fielder.

He was born in Dover, and made his first class debut for Gloucestershire in 1920 at the age of 17. From 1927, the year he made his first test appearance, to 1939 he was the dominant batsman in English cricket. In Australia between 1928-29, he made the record English test aggregate, 905 runs (at an average of 113.12) including two successive double centuries and a century in each innings of the fourth test. His 336 not out against New Zealand at Auckland 1933, was then the record individual test score.

Amy Johnson

(1903 - 1941)
Profession: Sportsman
Pioneer Airwoman

Amy Johnson was born July 1, 1903, in Hull Yorkshire and lived there until she went to Sheffield University in 1923 to read for a BA. After graduating, she moved on to work as a secretary to a London solicitor where she also became interested in flying. Amy began to learn to fly at the London Aeroplane Club in the winter of 1928-29 and her hobby soon became an all-consuming determination, not simply to make a career in aviation, but to succeed in some project which would demonstrate to the world that women could be as competent as men in a hitherto male dominated field. Amy set off alone in a single engine Gypsy Moth from Croydon on May 5, 1930, and landed in Darwin on May 24, an epic flight of 11,000 miles. She was the first woman to fly alone to Australia. In July 1931, she set an England to Japan record in a Puss Moth with Jack Humphreys. In July 1932, she set a record from England to Capetown, solo, in a Puss Moth. In May, 1936, she set a record from England to Capetown, solo, in a Percival Gull, a flight to retrieve her 1932 record.

John Betjeman

(1906 - 1984)
Profession: Writer
English poet and essayist.

He wrote a peculiarly English form of romantic and nostalgic light verse, as well as prose works on architecture and social history which reflect his interest in the Gothic Revival. His Collected Poems appeared 1958 and a verse autobiography, Summoned by Bells, 1960. He became poet laureate 1972.

Betjeman was born in London and educated at Oxford. During World War II he had a post at the Admiralty, and after that worked for a time for the British Council. He was a contemporary of W H Auden at Oxford, but he had little in common with the poets of the 1930s. His verse is backward-looking, traditional in form - favouring iambic lines and a conversational clarity - and subject matter. He recalls with great precision and affection details of his childhood in N London and holidays in Cornwall. He also admires and champions Victorian and Edwardian taste.

A Nip in the Air 1972 and High and Low 1976 are later collections of verse. His books on architecture include Ghastly Good Taste 1933, A Pictorial History of English Architecture 1972, and West Country Churches 1973.

Daphne Du Maurier

(1907 - 1989)
Profession: Writer
English novelist

Her romantic fiction includes Jamaica Inn 1936, Rebecca 1938, Frenchman's Creek 1942, and My Cousin Rachel 1951, and is set in Cornwall. Her work, though lacking in depth and original insights, is made compelling by her storytelling gift. She was the granddaughter of British cartoonist and novelist George Du Maurier.

She wrote a biography of her father, the actor-manager Gerald Du Maurier, in Gerald 1934, and a record of three generations in The Du Mauriers 1937. Other novels include The Loving Spirit 1931, The Parasites 1949, The Glassblowers 1963, The Flight of the Falcon 1965, Rule Britannia 1972, and The Winding Stair 1976. She also published many short stories, some collected in The Breaking Point 1959, Not after Midnight 1971, and The Rendezvous and Other Stories 1980. Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, and her short story The Birds were made into films by the English director Alfred Hitchcock.

She also wrote three plays and the nonfiction work The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë 1960

Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader

(1910 - 1982)
Profession: Statesman
British fighter pilot.

He lost both legs in a flying accident in 1931, but had a distinguished flying career in World War II. He was credited with 22 1/2 planes shot down (20 on his own and some jointly) before himself being shot down and captured in August 1941.

He was twice decorated for his war service and was knighted in 1976 for his work with disabled people.

Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin

(1910 - 1994)
Profession: Scientist
Hodgkin, Dorothy Mary Crowfoot, 1910–94, English chemist and X-ray crystallographer, b. Egypt. She received the 1964 Nobel Prize in chemistry for determining the structure of biochemical compounds (particularly of vitamin B12) used to control pernicious anemia.

In 1933 she and J. D. Bernal made the first X-ray photograph of a protein (pepsin). She was president (1977–78) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science

Sir Stanley Matthews CBE

(1915 - 2000)
Profession: Sportsman
World's Greatest Footballer

The son of Hanley's famous boxing-barber, Jack Matthews, Stan was the greatest footballer the world has ever seen. Born in Hanley, on leaving school he did general office work, while also on the ground staff at the Victoria Ground. He turned professional on his 17th birthday, having represented England at schoolboy level in 1929. He made his League debut for Stoke on March 19, 1932. Occupying the right-wing position throughout his career both as a club player and England international, he won the first of his 54 full England caps in September 1934 (Wales), scoring in the 4-0 win at Cardiff. During World War Two, Matthews appeared in 24 wartime and five Victory internationals, and also represented the Football League, the Football League XI and the FA XI. His first stay at Stoke ended in 1947, when, aged 32, he moved to Blackpool for £11,500. There he helped them to with the FA Cup in 1953, and scored 17 goals in 379 appearances for the Seasiders before returning to Stoke City in October, 1961, for a fee of £2,500.

Matthews was 46 years old at the time, yet he still went on to play for a further four years for The Potters. Promotion was gained back into the First Division in 1963 and two years later on February 6, 1965, just five days after his 50th birthday, he retired from competitive football with well over 800 games under his belt, 701 in the Football League (332 with Stoke and 369 for Blackpool). His record at Stoke is 355 senior appearances and 62 goals. He is the oldest player ever to win a full England cap, aged 42 years, 103 days. He was knighted in 1965, having received the CBE nine years earlier). After leaving Stoke, Matthews toured the world, coaching in many countries including the Far East. In 1967-68 he returned to manage Port Vale, before going to live in Malta, where he took charge of Hibernians. He later lived in Canada before returning to the Potteries in the late 1980s to live. In 1989 he was appointed president of Stoke City Football Club. He was presented with the Midlands Sports Personality of the Year in 1994.

Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister

(1929 - )
Profession: Sportsman
English track and field athlete

Bannister was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. He achieved this feat at Oxford, England, on 6 May 1954, in a time of 3 min 59.4 sec.

Studying at Oxford to be a doctor at the time, Bannister broke the four-minute barrier on one more occasion: at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada, when he was involved with John Landy (1930- ) from Australia, in the `Mile of the Century´, so called because it was a clash between the only two people to have broken the four-minute barrier for the mile at that time. Bannister was Knighted in 1975

Sir Norman Foster

(1935 - )
Profession: Architect
Sir Norman Foster was born in Manchester, England in 1935.

He has designed some of the highest profile buildings in the World often winning projects against fierce competition from local architects.

His work includes the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, the New German Parliament, the Chek Lap Kok International Airport, Daewoo HQ in South Korea, the Sainsbury Centre for visual arts in the U.K and Century Tower in Japan.

Foster was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1983, and in 1990 the RIBA Trustees Medal was made for the Willis Faber Dumas building. He was knighted in 1990, and recieved the Gold Medal of the AIA in 1994. On June 7, 1999, Sir Norman received the Pritzer Architecture Prize.

Stephen (William) Hawking

(1942 - )
Profession: Scientist
English physicist

Hawking was born in Oxford, studied at Oxford and Cambridge, and became professor of mathematics at Cambridge in 1979. He is confined to a wheelchair because of a rare and progressive neuromotor disease. His work in general relativity - particularly gravitational field theory - led to a search for a quantum theory of gravity to explain black holes and the Big Bang, singularities that classical relativity theory does not adequately explain. His book A Brief History of Time 1988 gives a popular account of cosmology and became an international bestseller. Hawking's objective of producing an overall synthesis of quantum mechanics and relativity theory began around the time of the publication in 1973 of his seminal book The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, written with G F R Ellis. His most remarkable result, published in 1974, was that black holes could in fact emit particles in the form of thermal radiation - the so-called Hawking radiation.

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