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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Charles Pearson

In the 1770 a young haberdasher called Charles Pearson bought the Greenwich copperas works with Ravensbourne House, took over the Deptford works and, married the heiress to one of the Whitstable works. He soon controlled the industry along the Thames and the estuary. Charles and Elizabeth Pearson had a son, also Charles, was to take over the business and a daughter, Elizabeth, who, usefully for the historian, kept a diary. She described how the family split their time between Greenwich, Whitstable and the family's main home at Ludgate Circus. Travelling to Greenwich by the 'Bromley Stage to Deptford' they walked down the Creek to the ferry. Her brother travelled between Greenwich and Ramsgate 'by majestic steam yacht' - the London Engineer. By 1800 the Deptford works included 'three pieces of land, garden and wharf' as well as 'tenements, manufactory and cottages'. In Greenwich there were 'two coach houses, settling stills, warehouse, cranehouse, wharf, as well as 'a large chemical works, there since the end of the 17th century'. In 1797, Ravensbourne House was destroyed in a fire and then rebuilt - despite the fact that insurance documents had not been completed. Elizabeth recorded replacement of the 'eagles' and 'old fashioned glass' despite 'great opposition'. Later, as noted earlier, Charles Jnr. experimented on the woodwork with Mr. Kyan's, highly poisonous, sublimate preservative.

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