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British Industrial History

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Percy Wilton Lee

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Percy Wilton Lee (C1874-1949) of Arthur Lee and Sons

c1874 Born the son of Arthur Lee

1949 Obituary [1]

It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Mr. Percy Wilton Lee, which occurred suddenly on June 8th, at his home, Tapton Holt, Manchester Road, Sheffield. Throughout a long and distinguished career he occupied a prominent position in the Sheffield steel and wire industry and was a former Master of the Cutlers' Company of Hallamshire.

Percy Lee was one of the two sons of the late Mr. Arthur Lee, and was born at Sheffield in 1874. He was educated at St. George's College, Harrogate, and at the Bedford Modern School, and at the age of eighteen joined the business which his father was carrying on at the Crown Steel and Wire Works, Attercliffe. That business had its origin in a small wire-drawing mill, owned by James Fairbrother, which was run by water power supplied by one of the many streams flowing into Sheffield. A second mill established by Fairbrother on the hanks of the River Don, was literally washed out by the great Sheffield flood in 1864, and the business was subsequently transferred to Attercliffe.

Percy Lee's father bought out the Fairbrother interest in 1874, and became the sole proprietor.

The present company, Arthur Lee and Sons Ltd,. was incorporated in 1893, and since his father's retirement in 1903, Percy Lee had taken an active part in its expansion.

He was appointed joint managing director with his brother, Mr. Arthur S. Lee, and after the latter's death, remained as managing director until 1945, when he relinquished the office. He continued his active interest in the firm's affairs, however, and at the time of his death was chairman of the company.

Mr. Lee was a member of the Iron and Steel Institute for over fifty years, was a vice-president of the British Iron and Steel Federation, and a vice-president of the British 8teel Wire Industries Association.

He was also a vice-president of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce. It was in 1927 that Mr. Lee was elected Master Cutler.

An out standing event during his year of office was the promotion of a scheme for the study of the cold working of metals at Sheffield University. In taking a large share of the responsibility for that scheme, Mr. Lee gained the assistance of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers, which founded a research fellowship and two research scholarships.

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