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Telford and Wrekin 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.



Matthew Webb

Of these 58,500 people, nearly 100 have close ties to Telford and Wrekin—through families, education, work or residence.


Here you’ll find some famous (and some less familiar) Telford faces, including the Channel swimmer Captain Webb (left) and (below) author Hesba Stretton and ironmaster William Reynolds. Then discover the ‘who and how’ in Telford by searching the ODNB for people by place.

In addition, the Oxford DNB has entries on the writer Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter), who was born in Horsehay a century ago this year, and the engineer Thomas Telford after whom Telford new town is named.



Philip Larkin Lord Woodbine William Withering
Henry Gauntlett John Fletcher Richard Reynolds Sarah Smith James Friswell
Gordon Richards Mary Fletcher Wiliam Reynolds Penny Brookes Billy Wright


Who and how? in Telford and Wrekin

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 Telford people simply use the ‘place’ option on the People Search page. You can find people who were born, baptized, educated or resident in Telford (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. nearby Much Wenlock). 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 Telford libraries: just type your library membership number in the box here. We also have a quick YouTube guide on logging-in from home.

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