Famous British Activists

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Historically speaking, every country has its own long list of activists who have brought forth the required political or social change in the society thus altering the panorama of country completely. Our society may seem to be running quite satisfactorily today but had it not been for the protests of the activists, things would have been quite different. Like every other country, Britain too suffered from political and social loopholes that created much unrest and turbulence in the country. But British activists took it upon themselves not just to exterminate the society from the political and social evils but to uplift mankind as a whole. Right from abolitionists who worked against slave trade to human rights activists who served for the humanitarian causes, feminists who uplifted the status of women in society to environmentalists who educated the society as to how to protect the environment, reformers who were instrumental in the establishment of social reforms to health activists who educated the people about healthy living, British activists fought against the social and political order of things to make the country a better place to live in. Browse through this section to get details about the life and works of British activists.
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 1 
Jeremy Irons
(English Actor and Activist Known for His TV Series ‘Brideshead Revisited’)
Jeremy Irons
4
Birthdate: September 19, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Isle of Wight, England, United Kingdom

Jeremy Irons is a popular English actor. In the US, Irons is best known as one of the few actors to have achieved the famous Triple Crown of Acting. Also an activist known for his charity work, Jeremy Irons works closely with the United Nations. He also supports charities, such as The Prison Phoenix Trust.

 2 
Amal Clooney
(Lebanese-British Barrister Specialising in International Law and Human Rights & the Wife of Actor George Clooney)
Amal Clooney
16
Birthdate: February 3, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Amal Clooney is a Lebanese-British barrister, specializing in human rights and international law. Her clients include popular and influential personalities like Yulia Tymoshenko, Nadia Murad, and Julian Assange. Her work and philanthropic activities gained media coverage after her wedding to actor George Clooney. The Clooneys are well-known philanthropists and are founders of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

 3 
Vanessa Redgrave
(Is an English Actress, Activist)
Vanessa Redgrave
5
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
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 4 
Emmeline Pankhurst
(English Political Activist Who Organised the UK Suffragette Movement)
Emmeline Pankhurst
8
Birthdate: July 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moss Side, Manchester, United Kingdom
Died: June 14, 1928
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist best remembered for helping women earn the right to vote in elections by organizing the UK suffragette movement. For playing a major role in achieving women's suffrage in the UK, Pankhurst was named in Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century list in 1999.
 5 
Mary Wollstonecraft
8
Birthdate: April 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 10, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, advocate of women's rights, and philosopher. Wollstonecraft, who attracted a lot of attention for her unconventional personal relationships, is widely considered a founding feminist philosopher. Although her unorthodoxy initially attracted criticisms, her advocacy of women's equality became increasingly important during the 20th century. Modern-day feminists cite her works and her life as important influences.

 6 
Joanna Lumley
(Actress)
Joanna Lumley
10
Birthdate: May 1, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Srinagar

Joanna Lumley is a British actress and prolific activist. In recognition of her work as part of the Gurkha Justice Campaign, Joanna is fondly called as the daughter of Nepal in Nepal. Also known for supporting various other charity organizations and animal welfare groups, Joanna Lumley was appointed an OBE in the 1995 New Year Honours by the queen.

 7 
Katie Piper
(Acid Attack Victim & Narrator of Channel 4 Series 'Katie: My Beautiful Face')
Katie Piper
4
Birthdate: October 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Andover, Hampshire, England

Model Katie Piper made headlines after being attacked with acid by her former boyfriend. She underwent a face restoration surgery to rebuild her damaged face. She then became an activist, released an autobiography, and created a documentary. She also owns a foundation to help burn victims and has hosted Bodyshockers.

 8 
Carrie Symonds
(British Media Advisor and Wife of Boris Johnson Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)
Carrie Symonds
12
Birthdate: March 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Sheen, South London
Carrie Symonds, the fiancée of British prime minister Boris Johnson, is the first unmarried partner of a prime minister to stay at 10 Downing Street. A former Conservative Party press officer, she now works with Oceana. She was the youngest victim to testify against serial sexual offender John Worboys. 
 9 
Dick Strawbridge
(British Television Personality, Engineer and Former Army Officer)
Dick Strawbridge
4
Birthdate: September 3, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Myanmar, Burma

Dick Strawbridge is a British engineer, television personality, and former army officer. In 1993, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his service in Northern Ireland. After his military career, Strawbridge has established himself as a TV personality, appearing on several TV programs. He is popularly referred to as Colonel Dick in the media.

 10 
Nicholas Winton
(British Humanitarian and Banker)
Nicholas Winton
4
Birthdate: May 19, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom
Died: July 1, 2015

Nicholas Winton was a British humanitarian and banker best remembered for founding an organization to save children at risk from Czechoslovakia. He is credited with overseeing the rescue of 669 children from Czechoslovakia just before the commencement of the Second World War. This rescue mission came to be known as the Czech Kindertransport.

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 11 
Heather Mills
(Former Model, Businesswoman and Ex-Wife of Paul McCartney)
Heather Mills
6
Birthdate: January 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Model Heather Mills lost her left leg in an accident but continued to model using a prosthetic leg. She was previously married to singer Paul McCartney. An avid animal rights activist, she is associated with organizations such as Viva! She has appeared on reality shows like Dancing with The Stars.
 12 
Sara Pascoe
(Comedian)
Sara Pascoe
5
Birthdate: May 22, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dagenham, London, England

Born to musician Derek Pascoe, comedian Sara Pascoe was raised by her mother amid poverty after her parents’ divorce. Initially a tour guide, she later stepped into comedy and never looked back. She is known for shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Twenty Twelve.

 13 
Annie Besant
(British Social Reformer, Theosophist and Women's Rights Activist)
Annie Besant
4
Birthdate: October 1, 1847
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clapham Town, London, United Kingdom
Died: September 20, 1933

Annie Besant was a British theosophist, socialist, writer, orator, educationist, women's rights activist, and philanthropist. Despite being British, Besant supported India's freedom movement and even joined the Indian National Congress. She is also credited with co-founding Banaras Hindu University. Besant also helped launch the Indian Home Rule movement to campaign for democracy in the country.

 14 
Emma Watson
(Actress and Activist Best Known for Her Role of 'Hermione Granger' in the 'Harry Potter' Film Series)
Emma Watson
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

English actress, model, and activist, Emma Watson first gained prominence as a child artiste in the Harry Potter film series. The daughter of lawyers, she was determined to go to college despite her busy acting career and graduated from Brown University. A staunch feminist, she is actively involved with organizations that work for the betterment of women.

 15 
Emily Davison
(English Suffragette Who Fought for Votes for Women in Britain in the Early 20th Century)
Emily Davison
3
Birthdate: October 11, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 8, 1913

Activist Emily Davison is remembered for her relentless fight for women’s suffrage. As part of her protest, at the 1913 Epsom Derby, she went in front of King George V’s horse, to attach suffragette flags to it, and was tragically trampled to death. Some regard her as a martyr for women’s causes.

 16 
Lola Kirke
(Film actress)
Lola Kirke
4
Birthdate: September 27, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
 17 
David Bale
(Entrepreneur)
David Bale
3
Birthdate: September 2, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: South Africa
Died: December 30, 2003

David Bale was an English entrepreneur and animal rights activist. He worked closely with The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, which aims at protecting endangered mountain gorillas, and served as one of its board members. Apart from his work as an activist for animal rights and environmental causes, David Bale is also known as the father of actor Christian Bale.

 18 
Andrew Wakefield
(British Former Physician and Anti-Vaccination Activist)
Andrew Wakefield
4
Birthdate: August 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Eton, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom

Former physician Andrew Wakefield had his name removed from the medical register due to his association with a fraudulent 1998 study that claimed there was a link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella. An anti-vaccination activist, he also taught at the Royal Free and University College.

 19 
Princess Diana
(First Wife of Charles, Prince of Wales)
Princess Diana
0
Birthdate: July 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 31, 1997

The first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, Princess Diana was a member of the British royal family. As a princess, she became known for her unconventional approach to charity work. She was celebrated as a style icon and fashionista as well. She divorced Charles in 1996 and died in a tragic car accident the following year.

 20 
Kate Nash
(Singer-songwriter)
Kate Nash
5
Birthdate: July 6, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Harrow, London, England, UK
 21 
Anna Soubry
(British Barrister, Journalist and Member of Parliament for Broxtowe (2010 - 2019))
Anna Soubry
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England

Anna Soubry is a British journalist, barrister, and former politician. A vocal critic of Brexit, Soubry left the Conservative Party in February 2019 in order to join the Independent Group for Change (Change UK). Subsequently, Anna Soubry was appointed as the party's leader before the disbandment of Change UK following the party's failure at the December 2019 general election.

 22 
Maajid Nawaz
(Activist, Radio Presenter and Founding Chairman of the Think Tank 'Quilliam')
Maajid Nawaz
5
Birthdate: November 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England

As a young boy, Maajid Nawaz had frequent clashes with the skinheads of Essex. Born in England, the SOAS and LSE alumnus had a 4-year stint in an Egyptian jail for his association with the Islamic extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. He now promotes secular Islam and has also advised David Cameron.

 23 
Maxine Peake
(Actress)
Maxine Peake
4
Birthdate: July 14, 1974
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Westhoughton, Bolton, Lancashire, England, UK
 24 
Pixie Geldof
4
Birthdate: September 17, 1990
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Westminster, London, England
 25 
Tommy Robinson
(Anti-Islam, Far-Right Activist Who Is Co-Founder of the Islamophobic Organization Called 'the English Defence League')
Tommy Robinson
10
Birthdate: November 27, 1982
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Luton, United Kingdom

Tommy Robinson is a British anti-Islam, far-right activist. The co-founder of an Islamophobic organization called the English Defence League, Robinson has been convicted on multiple counts of fraud and violence as well as other crimes. From 2017 to 2018, he also contributed as a writer for a Canadian far-right political website called Rebel News.

 26 
Ricky Tomlinson
(Actor Known for His TV Roles in the Series: ‘Brookside’, 'Cracker', and 'The Royle Family')
Ricky Tomlinson
3
Birthdate: September 26, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bispham, Blackpool, England

Actor and political activist Ricky Tomlinson is best known as Bobby from Brookside and as Charlie from Cracker. He also played the titular role in the mockumentary Mike Bassett: England Manager and has appeared in The Royle Family. He has also written a bestselling autobiography and donates generously to charities.

 27 
Andy Burnham
(Politician)
Andy Burnham
5
Birthdate: January 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
 28 
Anjem Choudary
(Islamist, Political Activist)
Anjem Choudary
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
 29 
Anna Leonowens
(British Travel Writer, Educator, and Social Activist)
Anna Leonowens
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1834
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ahmednagar, India
Died: January 19, 1915

Indian-born British author Anna Leonowens is best remembered for her memoir The English Governess at the Siamese Court, which related her experience as a governess of the children of King Mongkut of Siam. The musical The King and I and the novel Anna and the King of Siam were inspired by her life.

 30 
Poly Styrene
(Musician)
Poly Styrene
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bromley, England
Died: April 25, 2011
 31 
Emily Thornberry
(Politician)
Emily Thornberry
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guildford, Surrey, England, UK
 32 
George Monbiot
(British Writer and Activist)
George Monbiot
3
Birthdate: January 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kensington

George Monbiot is a British writer and activist best known for his political and environmental activism. He also contributes as a columnist for The Guardian and is credited with founding a land rights campaign called The Land is Ours. Monbiot is the recipient of the United Nations Global 500 Award, which was presented to him by Nelson Mandela in 1995.

 33 
David Bellamy
(British Botanist, Television Presenter and Environmental Activist)
David Bellamy
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 11, 2019

Once regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on botany and the environment, David Bellamy was also a successful TV presenter and was a regular on BBC programs. However, he later claimed that he was shunned by the TV fraternity for his denial of the importance of climate change.

 34 
David Mayer de Rothschild
(British Environmentalist, Who Owns a Charity that Funds Environment-Friendly Projects)
David Mayer de Rothschild
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

A global adventurer and environmentalist, David Mayer de Rothschild is a descendant of the Rothschild banking family. He once crossed the Pacific in a vessel made of plastic bottles, to raise awareness about ocean pollution. His Sculpt the Future Foundation supports environment-friendly innovations and sustainable initiatives.

 35 
Alastair Campbell
(Journalist)
Alastair Campbell
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Keighley, Yorkshire, England, UK
 36 
Anoushka Shankar
(Internationally Acclaimed Sitar Player, Composer and Daughter of Indian Sitar Maestro Ravi Shankar)
Anoushka Shankar
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Anoushka Shankar is a British-Indian music composer and sitar player. Over the years, she has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has won many prestigious awards, such as Songlines Music Award. In 2004, she was named in the 20 Asian Heroes list published by Time. Anoushka Shankar is also known for her activism and is a supporter of animal rights.  

 37 
Corin Redgrave
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 6, 2010
 38 
Rashid Buttar
(Physician, Activist)
Rashid Buttar
0
Birthdate: January 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
 39 
Gina Miller
(Businesswoman and Activist, Who Won a Case over Brexit Implementation, against the British Government)
Gina Miller
0
Birthdate: April 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Guyana

Guyanese-British businesswoman and activist Gina Miller is the co-founder of the management firm SCM Direct. A former Labour Party member, she campaigned for transparency with regard to Brexit. She won a case challenging the UK government's authority to invoke Article 50 without an approval from the Parliament.

 40 
Marie Stopes
(Paleobotanist & Women’s Rights Activists)
Marie Stopes
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1880
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: October 2, 1958

Apart from being a successful botanist, Marie Stopes was also a popular activist, known for her contribution to the feminist cause. A leading supporter of birth control, she established the UK’s first clinic for family planning. She was also known for her books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.

 41 
Samuel Gompers
(Labor leader, Cigar Maker)
Samuel Gompers
3
Birthdate: January 27, 1850
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 13, 1924
 42 
Millicent Fawcett
(Feminist Politcian Who Led the Women's Suffrage Movement in Britain)
Millicent Fawcett
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aldeburgh, England
Died: August 5, 1929

A pioneering leader of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain, Millicent Fawcett also co-established the Newnham College, Cambridge, which was one of the first English women’s universities. She also served as the president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and investigated British concentration camps during the South African War.

 43 
Ben Cohen
(Rugby Player)
Ben Cohen
3
Birthdate: September 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Northampton, England
 44 
David Lammy
(Politician)
David Lammy
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tottenham, London, England, UK
 45 
Mary Whitehouse
(British Teacher and Conservative Activist)
Mary Whitehouse
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: November 23, 2001

While she was initially a schoolteacher, who specialized in sex education, Mary Whitehouse later began a campaign against the moral standards of the media in Britain, particularly the BBC. She launched the Clean Up TV campaign, vocalizing her opposition toward content such as war and child pornography.

 46 
James Lovelock
(Biologist, Chemist, University teacher, Mythographer)
James Lovelock
3
Birthdate: July 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Letchworth

Renowned James Lovelock is best known for propagating the Gaia hypothesis, which states that every living being on planet Earth is part of a single self-regulating superorganism. He is also known for his long association with NIMR, London, and Harvard University and has over 50 patents under his name.

 47 
Hayley Okines
(Activist)
Hayley Okines
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1997
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Arrington
Died: April 1, 2015
 48 
Wat Tyler
(Activists)
Wat Tyler
3
Birthdate: January 4, 1341
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kent
Died: June 15, 1381
 49 
Christabel Pankhurst
(British Suffragette and Co-Founder of the 'Women’s Social and Political Union')
Christabel Pankhurst
3
Birthdate: September 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Died: February 13, 1958

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst was a British suffragette who co-founded the Women's Social and Political Union. From 1912 to 1913, Pankhurst directed the organization's militant actions from France. After the war, Christabel Pankhurst settled down in the United States of America where she served as an evangelist for the Second Coming movement.

 50 
Stuart Hall
(British Marxist Sociologist, Cultural Theorist, and Political Activist)
Stuart Hall
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica
Died: February 10, 2014

Jamaican-British Marxist sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall is remembered as a pioneering figure of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. A skilled academic, he was also the founding-editor of the New Left Review. His encoding and decoding model remains one of his most remarkable contributions to culture studies.