A short history



                         Researched, written and  prepared
                         by F J Ferris for the
                         Heritage Group of the CIBSE
                         July  2018
                          with acknowledgements to the

                          Heritage Group Archive - Brian Roberts Archivist
                          Paul Yunnie Heritage Group Australia
                          Graces Engineering Guide

                          for their assistance and information.

The majority of the early heating industry dates back to the creation of horticulture in Britain and the buildings needed to keep the exotic plants brought back from the tropics, alive through a British winter. Thus the erection of hothouses, glasshouses and conservatories created and brought into existence a new industry.

John Royston Pearson came from a family of nurserymen and is probably the family member who expanded their interest into Horticultural buildings and the necessity of heating these buildings.

During this same time period Robert Foster was starting out in business and developing the ironwork construction of Horticultural buildings. He was applying for patents for his new types and method of construction for the cast iron structural frames of the hothouses.  

Therefore it wasn’t long before these two men joined forces and set up the company Foster and Pearson in 1893.

The origins for the manufacture of Cast Iron sectional heating boilers in Britain can be traced back to the latter part of the Victorian period, and one of the founding firms that appeared was The Beeston Foundry Company which was incorporated on 21st March 1893.

The Beeston Foundry Company Ltd was set up to manufacture cast iron sectional boilers and sectional radiators for a rapidly expanding market, but they also continued to produce heating equipment for horticultural buildings.


Another smaller firm with the name The National Heating Company was associated with Beeston and continued to trade but became a separate company when the Beeston Foundry Company was incorporated, The National Heating company eventually went into Liquidation in November 1928, with the Beeston Boiler Company given power of attorney over the closing down of the company.

This was a smaller side to the firm with the name The National Heating Company that was involved with the manufacture and erection of horticultural buildings together with its heating apparatus for greenhouses and conservatories.

The Beeston Company was also very aware of its locality, naming their boilers  BEESTON ROBIN HOOD BOILERS to associate the closeness of the town of Beeston to the infamous Highwayman from Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

It also named one boiler series Mona after the road that fronted the factory.

When giving names to its ranges of heating equipment it used both Royal and Military titles. Early radiators were called ‘Duchess’ which later became the ‘Princess’ and ‘Royal’ patterns. Sectional boilers followed suit with ranges being named General, Major, Colonel and Brigadier. The grander theIr title the larger the output of the boiler series.




(note the word asbestos for use with the insulating jacket)

Henry John Pearson a horticultural builder, engineer and Iron Founder in conjunction with his younger brother Louis Frederick Pearson founded the company.  Henry became the first Company Chairman that continued until his death in 1913, when the Chairmanship passed to his younger brother Louis who guided the company through WWI when they manufactured munitions supporting the war effort. 

Sir Louis Pearson 1863 - 1943

For this war work Louis was awarded the CBE in 1919 and knighted in 1923 to become Sir Louis Pearson. He was active in the emerging H&V industry and became President of the IHVE in 1903, giving as the subject of his Presidential address ‘Review of Activities, notes on dust, technical education for heating and ventilating engineers, trade papers and railway transit’.

The company manufactured the full range of heating equipment from its own factory buildings and iron foundry occupying a 28acre site, 11 of these were for buildings, the remaining 17 acres being available for expansion.

In 1923 the company changed its name to The Beeston Boiler Company by which time the firm was manufacturing the full range of heating products. This included every type of equipment for every type of building, within the built environment.

Sir Louis Pearson died in 1943 at the age of 80. He was a great benefactor of several local causes.  He left one son and two daughters. Tragically his only son Thomas Royston Pearson was killed in a tractor farm accident in Ashbourne Derbyshire just two weeks after his father’s death.  His death lead to Louis’s nephew Lieut-Gen Noel Gervis Pearson D.S.O. M.C. the son of Henry John Pearson becoming company Chairman after Sir Louis’s death. In the same year 1943 Beeston became a public limited company   

Other than the WWII years the company traded successfully taking a substantial share of the heating market as part of the rapidly expanding rebuilding programme following the War years.


The company during the 1960’s and 1970’s were still developing new ranges of heating products including industrial boilers such as the ‘Trent’ and the ‘Blythe’ to keep pace with their competitors.  One such example occurred in 1963 when Beeston used the Ford Motor Co to produce pressed steel panel radiators for their product range, as the heating industry was moving away from manufacturing the many different patterns of the more expensive cast iron sectional radiators.

In 1970 a new modern automated cast iron foundry was installed to speed up production times and improve quality, but sadly it soon became apparent that problems were happening with the quality control resulting in too much scrap material.    


The economic depression of the 1970’s saw the Company suffering a fall in orders with the then chairman Mark Pearson stating “orders had fallen more sharply than usual at this time of year”. This then lead to the company making 80 production workers redundant.

This downturn in orders led eventually circa 1975 to the Company being placed into receivership with the company in 1977 being acquired by Ley’s Foundries and Engineering Ltd. The firm’s name was changed to The Beeston Boiler Company (Successors) Limited. Leys struggled on for four years to turn the company into profit, but the losses continued, that eventually saw both Beeston and Leys being taken over by William Holdings a company from Derby.


Applications were made to wind up the company, and it was formally dissolved in October 2000. However, later an application was made to resurrect the company name The Beeston Boiler Company.


Sadly The Beeston Boiler Company followed the same fate as other similar size British boiler firms created in the late Victorian period, Hartley & Sugden, Lumby’s, Binns & Speight, Jones & Attwood who all succumbed to the increasing global competition.


The quality of the Beeston Robin Hood boiler have been proved by their long levity and reliability, as many installed during the 1930’s are still in use in the 21st century.

JULY  2018