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Biographies of unsung folk.

The servants of Samuel Pepys and Lord Byron have been included in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

They are among 144 new additions to the reference guide which lists those who have influenced British life.

Those included in the Oxford DNB include Deborah Ashwell, with whom Pepys enjoyed a clandestine affair later discovered by his wife.

Lord Byron's manservant was Tita Falcieri, a Venetian gondolier who was present at the poet's deathbed in 1824 and accompanied his body back to England.

Other dictionary entries from below stairs include Pasqua Rosee, a Sicilian-born servant who established London's first coffee-house in 1952' Henry Moat, the colourful butler of Sir George Sit-well' and Agnes Bowker, a Leicestershire servant who gained notoriety in the 1560s after claiming she had given birth to a cat.

Also there is Victoria Hughes, the "loo lady" who supervised a Bristol public lavatory between the 1929 and 1962.

She became Britain's longest serving lavatory attendant and became a mother figure to hundreds of prostitutes who used the convenience. She was later honoured with a blue plaque.

Dr Lawrence Goldman, editor of the Oxford DNB, said: "The Oxford DNB includes many well-known people from the British past, and also many who were less celebrated but left their mark."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 6, 2006
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