A History of the Harris & Pearson Families
Kindly Contributed by Steve Pearson
George Pearson, 1821 - 1899
George Pearson was born 29 December 1821, the youngest son of
Joseph Pearson and Phoebe (nee Parrish). He was baptised twice.
The first baptism was recorded in the register of the Stourbridge
Wesleyan Circuit on 10 February 1822, the baptism being recorded
as having taken place at Brockmoor - Georges father was by this
time an active Methodist and just nine years later was to instigate
the founding of Bank Street Methodist Church in Brierley Hill.
Curiously, George was also baptised at St. Michaels Church in Brierley
Hill - this being recorded there on 8 March 1822.
George was educated at Wesley College, Sheffield, where he studied
Mines Engineering. Following the death of his father George purchased
the family home, 'Orchard House', from his fathers estate for £400.
Later he lived in Stourbridge, where he is recorded as living at
Thorn Hill, Hose Lane, in the 1871 census.
George married twice, firstly to Esther Wood (born 1827), the
daughter of Thomas Wood a Stourbridge Innkeeper, who was the mother
of his six eldest children. One of these children was John Thomas Pearson who was the great grandfather of Margaret Pearson.
Secondly George married Margaret Giffin
(died 1905) who was the mother of two further children, including
George's youngest son Albert Henry Pearson (born 1861).
It was in 1852 that George Pearson, then 31 years of age, entered
into partnership with Peter Harris and founded the firm of Harris & Pearson.
Their first step in this venture was to lease from the Earl of
Stamford & Warrington the Firebrick works known as Withymoor
Old Side Works, which, together with adjoining Fireclay Mines,
covered an area of about six acres. This works had been built over
100 years earlier, in 1739, and it is interesting to record that
it remained in production until 1928, and so had a life of nearly
two hundred years.
Within twenty years of the foundation of the firm the partners
realised that one works was insufficient to deal with the ever
increasing demand, and in 1872 they acquired from the Earl of Dudley
the lease of an additional nine acres of land on which they built
the New Side Works. A few years later they purchased the freehold
of this land and it was at this works that the firm was producing
about 17,000 tons of fireclay refractories per year by the time
of the firms centenary in 1952.
Around the turn of the twentieth century the firm acquired a controlling
interest in Trotter, Haines & Corbett Ltd., Stourbridge - this
firm also celebrated it's centenary in 1952.
Among the chief users of Harris & Pearson products were Iron & Steel
Works, Ferrous & non-ferrous Foundries, Gas Works, Power Sations,
Cement & Lime Works, English & Foreign Railways, and Glass & Pottery
Works. Shipments were made to many parts of the world.
The last member of the family to be Managing Director was Ronald
Aubrey Pearson (born 1899) who joined the firm in 1922. He was
the youngest son of Albert Henry Pearson who had joined the business
in 1881 and was actively engaged engaged in the firm until
his death in 1930, and the youngest grandson of George Pearson.
George Pearson died 19 July 1899, and was buried at Old Swinford.
He left a will probated 30 September 1899 at London.