German-born Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967) pioneered a system of exercises, which he called "contrology," to develop and enhance strength, posture, and flexibility. Pilates was a sickly child who from an early age studied anatomy to build up his body. He traveled to England in 1912 (apparently to work as a circus performer), but two years later, at the start of World War I, was interned as an enemy alien. While in the camps, Pilates found work as a nurse and experimented with a range of techniques and makeshift equipment to rehabilitate the immobile. On his release, he used these skills to help train the German police force before emigrating to New York in 1925 and setting up a gym. Since then, the techniques of Pilates have been adopted across the world and are used by a host of athletes, dancers, actors, and sportsmen and -women, as well as the infirm.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)