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British Industrial History

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Edward Perry

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Edward Perry (1800-1869)

c.1740 Messrs Perry set up a japanning business [1]

1800 Edward was born in Wolverhampton, son of Richard and Sara Perry. Godparents: Edward Perry and Mary Loyd.[2]

Attended Wolverhampton Grammar School (and later in life became one of its trustees).

He started work as a japanner at the Old Hall works in Wolverhampton and then started his own small firm in Queen Street.

1828 Japanner (paper, tin and iron) of Queen St[3]

He moved to much larger premises in Paul Street.

1835 Japanner (and fancy Pontipool work, etc) of St Paul's row[4]

1839 Dissolution of the partnership with William Shoolbred of Wolverhampton, as Japanners and Tin -Plate Workers[5]

1841 Edward and Sophia Perry lived in Wolverhampton; Edward was a japanner and tinman[6]

1842 Edward Perry, tinplate worker, of Paul St[7]

When the workers in these trades decided to produce a rate book and impose it on the employers, Loveridge and others accepted it but Perry was one of those who refused, arguing that the rates were based on hand work and could not possibly apply to his highly mechanised works. The strike was long and bitter, with Perry resorting to importing foreign labour from France and Germany and eventually prosecuting the strike leaders and having them imprisoned.

1851 On behalf of his brother and his father's firm R. and G. H. Perry and himself, Edward Perry wrote to The Times concerning the indicting of 5 workmen[8]

1851 Manufacturer of japan and tinware, employing 101 men, 3 women, 30 boys and 36 girls, living in Wolverhampton with his wife Sophia[9]

1855 Perry entered local politics and was elected Mayor for Walsall in 1855 [10], during which time he, with considerable courage and determination, settled a dispute about the waterworks which had brought local government in Wolverhampton to a farcical, bankrupt halt. He was re-elected mayor for another year.

Perry took the initiative in forming the Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce, calling its inaugural meeting at the Town Hall on the 12th March 1856. He was elected its President on 9th May 1856 and remained its President for its first eight years. He was also a shareholder in the Mechanics Institute in Queen Street.

He built himself a large house, Danescourt in Tettenhall. This house was designed by Joseph Hanson (of London cab and Birmingham Town Hall fame). But as soon as it was finished, Perry died. His burial (and that of his brother, Richard) is recorded in the registers of St. Michael's, Tettenhall but neither his grave nor Richard's can now be found.

1861 Tinplate worker, master, employing 250 men, women and boys[11]

1869 Edward Perry and Sophia had no children so there was no one to carry on the business after his death. Jones[12] concludes: "His trade, after his death, was transferred to his nephews, Messrs. Lees, who at that period were carrying on the business of Richard Perry & Sons, in Temple Street. At the present time [sc.1899] the same concern is being carried on by William Lees, under the title Richard Perry, Sons and Co.". The Jeddo Works themselves were sold to John Marston, a former apprentice, eventually becoming part of the Sunbeam works.

Note: Edward Perry had a brother William, who seems also to have been a japanner. William had three sons: Henry (whose trade is not known); Edward (who was also a japanner in Wolverhampton but who later moved to Manchester as an artist); and Theodore (also a japanner; his son Charles was a tin plate worker).



Richard Perry, Sons and Co, set up by Richard Perry and his son George, was in Brick-kiln Street. Father and son had both been japanners in the Old Hall works and struck out on their own. Jones gives no further information about this firm until we find his reference to Edward Perry's nephews, the Lees Brothers, carrying on the firm of Richard Perry & Sons.

On Edward Perry's death they acquired his business, possibly by inheritance. It was, almost certainly, a much larger concern. It therefore seems that the company known as Richard Perry, Sons & Co, was a direct continuation of Richard Perry and George Perry's firm and incorporated Edward Perry's business.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. IMI archives at Birmingham [1]
  2. Staffordshire: - Roman Catholic Registers, 1720-1830
  3. 1828 Pigot's Directory
  4. 1835 Pigot's Directory
  5. London Gazette 21 April 1840
  6. 1841 census
  7. 1842 Pigot's Directory
  8. The Times, Aug 12, 1851
  9. 1851 census
  10. The Times, Monday, Nov 12, 1855
  11. 1861 census
  12. W. H. Jones's book "The Story of Japan, Tin-Plate Working and Bicycle and Galvanising Trades in Wolverhampton" (1900)
  • History website [2]
  • National Probate Calendar