Joseph Whitwell Pease, MP

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Joseph Whitwell Pease, MP

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
Death: January 8, 1872 (72)
Darlington, Durham, UK
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward Pease of Darlington and Rachel Pease of Darlington
Husband of Emma Pease
Father of Jane Gurney Pease; Sir Joseph Pease, 1st Bt. Hutton Lowcross; Emma Gurney Pease; Rachel Fowler; Elizabeth Lucy Fowler and 7 others
Brother of John Pease of Darlington; Henry Pease; Rachel Pease; Edward Pease; Mary Pease and 2 others

Occupation: railway pioneer, Member of Parliament, "Father of the Railways", Quaker railway company promoter and industrialist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Whitwell Pease, MP

ID: I00726

Name: Joseph Pease

Sex: M

Birth: 22 JUN 1799 in Darlington, Co. Durham

Death: 8 FEB 1872 in "Southend", Darlington, Co. Durham of Heart disease

Occupation: Merchant

Occupation: First Quaker Member of Parliament

Occupation: MP for South Durham

Occupation: Quaker railway company promoter and industrialist


Quaker railway company promoter and industrialist, was born at Darlington on 22 June 1799. Educated at Tatham's academy, Leeds, and Josiah Forster's academy, London, he subsequently aided his father in the projection of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, in 1819 and 1820 by preparing the company's first prospectus. He emerged as an influential voice in the management of the railway in 1828, when he took the lead in projecting an extension of the line from Stockton to the hamlet of Middlesbrough further down the Tees estuary. The effect of this development was twofold: first, to undermine the dominance of Tyne and Wear exporters in the London coastal market for coal; and, second, to lay the foundations for the emergence of Teesside as an outstanding centre for the production of iron. The latter was facilitated by Pease's in numerous railway projections in the north-east of England, all of them designed to open up the heavy mineral wealth of the region.

After the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, Joseph Pease was elected MP for South Durham, and retained the seat until his retirement in 1841. He was the first Quaker member to sit in the House of Commons, and on presenting himself on 8 February 1833 he refused to take the usual oath. A select committee was appointed to inquire into precedents, and on 14 February he was allowed to affirm (Hansard 3, 15, 1833, 387, 639). As a ‘worldly’ Quaker, Joseph Pease was a frequent speaker on matters of social and political reform, always avoiding the use of titles when addressing the house, and retaining his Quaker dress.

Joseph Pease married, on 20 March 1826, Emma (d. 1860), daughter of Joseph Gurney of Norwich, and their surviving children comprised five sons and four daughters. Joseph Whitwell Pease (1828-1903), the eldest son, who was created a baronet on 18 May 1882, was MP for South Durham from 1865 to 1885, and subsequently for Barnard Castle. Arthur Pease (d. 1898), the third son, was MP for Whitby from 1880 to 1885, and for Darlington from 1895.

In addition to commercial and industrial issues, Joseph Pease devoted himself to philanthropic and educational work, aiding Joseph Lancaster, and acting as president of the Peace Society from 1860. Before 1865 he became totally blind, but, with the aid of his secretary, republished and distributed many Friends' books; and in 1870 he had the Essays on the Principles of Morality of Jonathan Dymond translated into Spanish, for which service the government of Spain conferred on him (2 January 1872) the grand cross of Charles III.

Joseph Pease died on 8 February 1872 at his Darlington home, Southend, from heart disease. He was buried in the Quaker burial-ground in Darlington on 10 February. At the time of his death Pease's industrial concerns employed nearly ten thousand men in collieries, quarries, and ironstone mines. In addition he owned and directed woollen manufactories and was a leading shareholder in Robert Stephenson & Co., of Newcastle upon Tyne, numerous Teesside ironmaking concerns, and in the Middlesbrough estate.

Ancestry Hints for Joseph Pease

   2 possible matches found on  

Father: Edward Pease b: 31 MAY 1767 in Darlington, Co. Durham

Mother: Rachel Whitwell b: JUL 1774

Marriage 1 Emma Gurney b: 27 SEP 1800 in of Lakenham, Norwich, Norfolk

Married: 30 MAR 1826 in Norwich, Norfolk


Jane Gurney Pease b: 10 JAN 1827 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Joseph Whitwell Pease b: 23 JUN 1828 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Emma Gurney Pease b: 17 DEC 1829 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Rachel Pease b: 15 JUN 1831 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Elizabeth Lucy Pease b: 21 JAN 1833 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Edward Pease b: 24 JUN 1834 in Darlington, Co. Durham
John Henry Pease b: 2 FEB 1836 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Arthur Pease b: 12 SEP 1837 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Gurney Pease b: 28 FEB 1839 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Alfred Pease b: 16 JUN 1841 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Charles Pease b: 7 APR 1843 in Darlington, Co. Durham
Francis Richard Pease b: 6 DEC 1845 in Darlington, Co. Durham


Joseph Pease (railway pioneer)

Joseph PeaseJoseph Pease (22 June 1799 – 8 February 1872) was involved in the early railway system in England and was the first Quaker elected to Parliament.

Pease joined his father Edward and other members of the Pease family in starting the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company. Pease was married to Emma Gurney, daughter of Joseph Gurney of Norwich in 1826. They had sixteen children, amongst them was Arthur Pease (1837-1898). Pease's ninth child, Elizabeth Lucy married the agricultural engineer and inventor, John Fowler. Fowler was a pioneer in the application of steam power to agriculture.

In 1829 Pease was managing the Stockton and Darlington Railway in place of his father. In 1830 he bought so many of the collieries in his area that he became the largest owner of collieries in South Durham. That same year Pease, Joseph Gurney, and some other Quaker businessmen bought a large tract of land at Middlesbrough. They turned it into a port for exporting coal. In December 1830 a new railway line was opened on the Stockton and Darlington to Middlesbrough to get Pease's coal there.

In 1832 Pease was elected as a Member of Parliament for South Durham. As a Quaker, he was not immediately allowed to take his seat, because he would not take the oath of office. A special committee considered the question and decided that Pease could affirm, rather than swear, and he was accepted into the membership of the Parliament. He was also unusual in that, like most Quakers of the day, he refused to remove his hat as he entered the House of Commons.

Pease supported the Whig governments of Earl Grey and Lord Melbourne. He joined Thomas Fowell Buxton in the anti-slavery movement. He supported the removal of bishops from the House of Lords. He was also in favour of shorter Parliaments and the secret ballot. He retired from politics in 1841.

In 1860 Pease became the president of the Peace Society, a post he held until his death.

He lays at rest in the burial ground behind the Society of Friends Meeting House in Skinnergate, Darlington, County Durham.

A statue to Joseph Pease stands at the junction of High Row and Bondgate in the centre of Darlington. It was unveiled in 1875 to mark the Golden Jubilee of the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

[edit] External links

Joseph Pease Statue, High Row, Darlington

Statue of Joseph Pease

Darlington Quaker Photographs

[edit] See also

List of political families in the United Kingdom


FamilySearch™ International Genealogical Index v5.0 British Isles Family Group Record



Joseph Pease Pedigree  
 Birth:  22 JUN 1799  Darlington, Durham, England     

Marriage: 30 MAR 1826

Father:   Edward Pease Family 

Mother: Rachel Whitwell



Emma Gurney Pedigree   
 Birth:  About 1805  Of Lakenham Grove, Norwich, Norfolk, England     

Marriage: 30 MAR 1826

Death: 11 APR 1860

Father:   Joseph Gurney Family 





1. Jane Gurney Pease Pedigree Female

  Birth:  10 JAN 1827  Of, Darlington, Durham, England  

Death: 05 APR 1894


2. Joseph Whitwell Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  23 JUN 1828  Of, Darlington, Durham, England 


3. Emma Gurney Pease Pedigree Female

  Birth:  17 DEC 1829  Of, Darlington, Durham, England 

Death: 1895


4. Rachel Pease Pedigree Female

  Birth:  15 JUN 1831  Of, Darlington, Durham, ngland   

Death: 1912


5. Edward Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  24 JUN 1834  Of, Darlington, Durham, England 

Death: 13 JUN 1880


6. John Henry Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  02 FEB 1836  Of, Darlington, Durham, ngland   

Death: 17 APR 1754


7. Arthur Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  12 SEP 1837  Of, Darlington, Durham, England 


8. Gurney Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  28 FEB 1839  Of, Darlington, Durham, ngland     

Death: 10 JUN 1872


9. Alfred Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  16 JUN 1841  Of, Darlington,Durham,England     

Death: 20 DEC 1852


10. Charles Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  07 APR 1843  Of, ,Durham,ENgland      

Death: 09 JUL 1873


11. Francis Richard Pease Pedigree Male

  Birth:  06 DEC 1844  Of, Darlington,DurhamEngland     

Death: 05 JUN 1865


12. Elizabeth Lucy Pease Pedigree Female

  Birth:  21 JAN 1833  Of, Darlington, Durham, England

Death: 02 SEP 1881


view all 16

Joseph Whitwell Pease, MP's Timeline

June 22, 1799
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
January 10, 1827
Age 27
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
June 23, 1828
Age 29
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
December 17, 1829
Age 30
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
June 15, 1831
Age 31
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
January 21, 1833
Age 33
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
January 24, 1834
Age 34
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
February 2, 1836
Age 36
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)
September 12, 1837
Age 38
England (Co. Durham, Darlington)