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The Britain Unlimited website covers the lives of 250 of Great Britain’s most famous people

Photomontage of Britain

We have chosen two hundred and fifty iconic Britons to tell the story of Britain itself. Each page gives you an easy to read guide about who the person was and what they were famous for. It tells you what they did and where they went in a chronological biography and also lists relevant locations so that you can follow in their footsteps for research or purely for pleasure. Select the information you need from one of the menus for either surname or a subject, or you can just visit the Full List of 250. We cover people from the Roman Empire to those who died before the end of the Twentieth Century and with our historical timelines you can see how they fitted into the world around them.

On Britain you’ll also find museums dedicated to their memory, places they lived in or visited and examples of the works they achieved. You’ll find lists of the books they wrote and the pictures they painted. In fact everything you need to know to get a flavour of the people that made Britain great. This site is dedicated to individual people so you will not find Kings and Queens although the timelines relate a person to a particular reign to make it easier to distinguish a period. If you want to see who was the Prime Minister at the time you can choose the year from this list.

Follow the links in the top menus for further information about the United Kingdom itself and the organisations and companies that can help you find out more on your chosen subject.


  • 100 years ago saw the deaths of the explorer, Ernest Shackleton, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell and the chocolate guru George Cadbury. 1922 also saw Herbert Austin introduce the first truly affordable family motor car in Britain, the Austin Seven.
  • 200 years ago saw the death by drowning of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in Italy and Robert Peel was appointed Home Secretary. He went on to found the modern Police Force (nicknamed “Peelers” or “Bobbies”) in 1829. 
  • 300 years ago saw the death of the illustrious general the Duke of Marlborough on 16th June 1722 and Daniel Defoe was to publish his famous novel, “Moll Flanders”.
  • Back 600 years to 1422, a year which saw the birth of William Caxton who was later to introduce modern printing to Great Britain.
  • And finally, it’s exactly 1,900 years ago that the northern frontier of the Roman Empire was marked by the building of Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Picts out.

We like to see who the most popular characters are on Britain Unlimited and each year we check to see who has been most read. In 2021 the top ten Britons were as follows:

  1. John Milton. Seventeenth century poet.
  2. John Donne. Seventeenth century poet.
  3. H. G. Wells. Twentieth century science fiction writer.
  4. Grace Darling. Nineteenth century lifeboat heroine.
  5. Richard Burton. Twentieth century actor.

6. King Arthur. Legendary King.

7. John Baskerville. Pioneer of printing type.

8. Ben Jonson. Sixteenth/seventeenth century playwright.

9. George Eliot. Nineteenth century novelist.

10. William Blake. Nineteenth century romantic artist.

Here you will find previous top tens going back to 2016.

...and if all that wasn’t enough there’s information on hotels and accommodation, travel tips, tours and how to find historic houses. Please see the menus at the top of the page.

Enjoy reading Britain Unlimited and maybe you’ll discover something new today about the Britain you love.

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