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Lancashire lives

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of people who’ve shaped British history, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century. The ODNB currently includes the life stories of 58,500 men and women who died in or before 2009.

Frank Whittle

Of these 58,500 people, nearly 4300 have close ties to Lancashire—through families, education, work or residence.

Here you’ll find some famous (and some less familiar) Lancashire faces, including Frank Whittle, whose pioneering gas turbine was manufactured at Barnoldswick (left), the singer Kathleen Ferrier, and James Maxwell, architect of the Blackpool Tower (below). Then discover the ‘who and how’ in Lancashire by searching the ODNB for people by place.

James Maxwell Richmal Crompton Spencer Cavendish Thora Hird Henry Spurrier
Tommy Lawton Lucy Morton Wallace Hartley Les Dawson
Violet Carson Richard Owen Margaret McKay Henry Tate Kathleen Ferrier

Who and how? in Lancashire

As well as looking for people by name, you can also search by place, for example:

(NB: You'll need to be logged into your library's subscription for these searches.)

How do I search?

Finding people in the Oxford DNB is easy.

  • to discover more Lancashire people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Lancashire (or elsewhere), or who died and were buried here. Search by county, city, town, village, church, and even street.
  • you can also search the ODNB’s 67 million words for places (e.g. the Ashton Memorial). For this use Text Search.

We also have more tips on using the ODNB for local and family history.

What else does the Oxford DNB offer?

  • Free biography podcast: as well as 58,500 life stories, the ODNB publishes a twice monthly biography podcast featuring some popular entries from the collection. There are now over 175+ episodes in the archive. Recent highlights include Diana, princess of Wales, George Orwell, John Lennon, and Bobby Moore.
  • Life of the Day: sign up for a topical biography delivered to your inbox.
  • Follow us on Twitter for more historical figures in the news.
  • Don’t forget: the ODNB online is available free—anywhere, anytime—via Lancashire libraries: just type your library membership number in the box here. We also have a quick YouTube guide on logging-in from home.

> Read the Oxford DNB, free and at home, using your library's subscription

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