Webpage created: September 19, 2019
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020
CHARLES PEARCE BROWN (1885-1965)
After gaining early experience in the grocery trade in London and Scotland and marrying Miss Catherine Jane Arrowsmith in Clifton, Bristol, in 1877, Mr Joseph Pearce Brown arrived in Plymouth in 1879 to join the family business, Messrs Brown, Wills and Nicholson, wholesale provision merchants. When his uncle, Mr Eldred Roberts Brown (1809-1885) died he and his brother Mr John Brown took over the management of the business.
Joseph and Catherine had a large family. Their first two children, Kenneth and Harold, were born while they were still in Scotland but the remainder, Ralph, James, Charles, Dorothy and Muriel, were all born in Plymouth. The 1891 census shows them living at number 2 Beaumont Villas, Stafford Terrace, Houndiscombe Road, Mutley, along with a cook, a housemaid and a nurse.
But in 1885, when Mr Charles Pearce Brown was born, the family were living in The Abbey, as it was then called, in Finewell Street, where the business was situated.
In 1935 Mr Brown became chairman of the Plymouth Council of Social Service upon the death of his father. The Council later became the Guild of Social Service. During the Second World War he helped to organise the distribution of Red Cross messages from troops serving on the Continent and also arranged for a panel of visitors to call at the homes of every casualty in the City after an air-raid. He became chairman of the Old People's Welfare Committee in 1941 and at a rally of some 800 old folks held in 1956 great tribute was paid to his work. At different times he also served as president of the Plymouth Rotary Club, the Plymouth Public Dispensary and the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.
To commemorate the jubilee of the Guild of Social Service and Mr Brown's chairmanship of it for 21 of those 25 years, he was presented in 1957 with a silver model of the Elizabethan House in New Street. The model is now held by the City of Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery.
Mrs Mary Elizabeth Brown died suddenly in April 1945 at the young age of 56 years and was buried at Buckland Monachorum Parish Church. A memorial service was held at the same time at the Anglican Church of Saint Matthias, Plymouth.
Although Mr Brown retired from the post of chairman of the Board of Directors of Messrs Brown, Wills and Nicholson Limited in 1958 he retained the role of senior managing director.
Mr Charles Pearce Brown died at his home "Challock", Crapstone, Yelverton, on Tuesday May 18th 1965. He was 80-years-old. He was survived by his two sons, Mr Laurence and Mr Philip Brown, and daughter, Miss Phoebe Brown.
The funeral was held at Buckland Monachorum Parish Church and at the same time a memorial service was held at the Church of Saint Andrew in Plymouth.