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Victoria Cross

1897 - 1917
BALL, Captain Albert VC

War hero - Pilot

Nottingham's most celebrated war hero Captain Albert Ball was born in Lenton, on 21 August 1897. He is known to be the most renowned fighter pilot in the RFC who shot down 44 planes in the First World War. For the most conspicuous and consistent bravery, Captain Albert Ball was awarded the Victoria Cross on 8 June 1917. "The most daring, skilful, and successful pilot the Royal Flying Corps has ever had", Major-General Trenchard.

Key Achievements: Victoria Cross (1917); Legion d'Honneur; Croix de Chevalier; Russian Order of St.George.

Bendigo statue

1811 - 1880

Sport - Bare-knuckle fighter

Some people think that he was called Bendigo because of the way he bobbed and weaved, but a relative, Kevan Middleton, says that is not true. "He was named Abednigo by his mother when he was born. This became Bendigo at some point (easier on the tongue presumably)". His real name was William Thompson. He was an exceptional fighter who was scientific, quick and tricky. He fought from a left-hand stance but could shift quickly and hit hard with both fists. Bendigo was also an all-round athlete who was agile in movement and a fast runner. In 1955 he was elected to the Ring Boxing Hall of Fame.

Key Achievements: Champion of England (1835); Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in (1955).

Rob Birch

b. 1961

Music - Stereo MCs

The Stereo MCs founder members Rob Birch and Nick "the head" Hallam are both from Ruddington and have been friends since the age of six. They are renowned for their own distinctive brand of rap-based music. Many tracks from their hit album 'Connected' are part of British subconcious psyche due to sampling in adverts, films and TV jingles. After nine years out of the limelight they have returned in 2001 with a new album.

Key Achievements: 1994 BRIT Award-winning album 'Connected'; 1994 BRIT Award - Best Band.


1914 - 1955

Sport - Long distance swimmer

The man from Hyson Green, named by the media 'Torpedo Tom' after he swam the English Channel in a record 13 hours, 29 minutes. In 1947 he dared to swim where no man had gone before, attempting to cross the freezing cold waters of the Irish Channel. He failed, just short of the distance.

Key Achievements: Morceambe Cross bay championship (1935); Swam English channel (1937).
Sir Jesse Boot

1850 - 1931
BOOT, Sir Jesse

Industrialist - Boots the Chemist

Jesse Boot transformed a small herbal store into a powerful pharmaceutical giant - Boots The Chemist. He lived in Hockley, a poor area of 19th century Nottingham. His famous quote "Cheap drugs would be dear if they were cheap and nasty. Nasty to the palate many drugs are bound to be; but worse is the nastiness of bad quality."

Key Achievements: Lord Trent of Nottingham (1929); Knighthood (1909).

Gen. William Booth

1829 - 1912
BOOTH, General William

Charity - Salvation Army

William Booth, from Sneinton, was the founder and first General of The Salvation Army. People have often said that he poked his umbrella into the ground and talked to it, just to attract a crowd. In 1865 William and his wife founded the Whitechapel Christian Mission in London to help feed and house the poor. The mission was reorganised in 1878 and became known as the Salvation Army.

Key Achievements: Salvation Army (1878).

Raleigh bicycle

1829 - 1912
BOWDEN, Sir Frank

Industrialist - Raleigh cycle

In 1887 Frank Bowden was told he had only months to live. Rather than accept hs fate, he chose to follow the advice of his doctor who told him to take up cycling to save his life. To improve his health, he went to Raleigh Street, where he found 12 men in a small workshop producing three cycles a week. Bowden then decided to buy the workshop and the Raleigh Cycle Company was founded.

Key Achievements: Raleigh company.

Peter Bowles



Peter moved to Nottingham at the age of six. He says he was always a show-off. When he joined the local ladies for pantomime it was hard to get him off stage. One early theatrical experience was in repertory at the Bristol Old Vic, with fellow actor Leonard Rossiter. Later the pair were reunited in a pantomime called Hooray for Daisy. His first TV credit was as a constable in an episode of "The Last Chronicle of Barsett" in 1959. He later achieved widespread fame playing alongside Penelope Keith in "To The Manor Born."

Key Achievements: To The Manor Born (1979-81); Only When I Laugh (1979-82); The Bounder (1982-83); The Irish RM (1983-85); Lytton's Diary Executive Stress (1986-88).
Theatre masks

1893 - 1987
BYNG, Douglas

Stage - Artist

Douglas Byng was born into an affluent family with a privileged childhood. Nottingham had never previously been noted for its production of comedians but he was an exception. His first professional engagement was at Hastings, in 1914, when he joined the Periodicals Concert Party. His particular areas were musical comedy and pantomime (he was regarded as one of the best dames of the century). He made his last TV appearance when he was nearly 90 — interviewed by Michael Parkinson on Parkinson for BBC1 in 1982.

Key Achievements: Made his first LP at 69, wrote his biography at 77.
Lord  Byron

1788 - 1824
Lord BYRON, George Gordon

Writer - Poet

At the age of ten Byron became a nobleman and inherited Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. He was known as one of England's most controversial poets and writers of his time. Now rated amongst the world's greatest poets, Byron's works were being published in America and translated into German.

Key Achievements: Hours of Idleness (1807); Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812); Giaour (1813); Lara (1814); A Vision of Judgement (1822).


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