Webpage created: September 19, 2019
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020
JOSEPH PEARCE BROWN (1850-1936)
Mr Eldred Roberts Brown (1809-1885) had two brothers, Mr William Roberts Brown and Mr Thomas Brown.
Mr William Roberts Brown married Miss Eliza Pearce in 1841. William became a Wesleyan Minister and moved to Lancashire. Mr Joseph Pearce Brown was born at Rochdale in 1850: the assertion in his Obituary notices that he was born in Cornwall is not correct. His brother, John, was born in Darlington, in County Durham, in 1853.
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.
In 1896, following Plymouth's boundary extension to take in Compton Gifford, Mr Brown became one of the Ward's representatives on the Town Council. He was elected Mayor of Plymouth in 1917/18 and again in 1918/19, during which he presented the Freedom of the Borough to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and to the American Ambassador, Doctor Page. He also welcomed toPlymouth the first American airmen to fly across the Atlantic.
Mr Brown was particularly interested in social reform and housing argued that the war on slum housing could not be won by private enterprise or out of the rates: it was the responsibility of national government. Like his uncle, he served on the Plymouth School Board, partly as vice-chairman, and also served as chairman of both the Port of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and the Plymouth Mercantile Association, during which time he encouraged the purchase by the Town of Beaumont Park for the benefit of the residents. He was also the first chairman of the Town's Insurance Committee and he spent many anxious strenuous days trying to bridge the gulf between the doctors and the committee at a time when it looked like Plymouth was going to be among those places that would not have a medical panel.
Mr Joseph Pearce Brown CBE JP, senior partner of the business, died at his home, "Chievely", in Seymour Road, Plymouth, on Tuesday July 14th 1936, at the age of 87 years. During his life he had helped to found the Civic Guild of Help and had been a churchwarden of Saint John the Evangelist, Sutton-on-Plym.
He was survived by his widow, Mrs Catherine Jane Brown, and their sons, Kenneth, Harold, Ralph, James, Charles, and two daughters, Dorothy and Muriel.