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The Papers of Sir (James) Denning Pearson

Reference Code: GBR/0014/PRSN

Scope and Contents

Pearson's copies of papers relating to Rolls-Royce Ltd, especially concerning the development of the RB211 engine, and the subsequent voluntary liquidation of the company and its transfer to state ownership. Also some personal papers.


  • Creation: 1929 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Pearson joined Rolls Royce in 1932 becoming successively: Technical Production Engineer, Glasgow Factory, 1941; Chief Quality and Service Engineer, 1941-45; General Manager Sales and Service, 1946-49; Director, 1949; Director and General Manager, Aero-Engine Division, 1950; Managing Director, Aero-Engine Division, 1954-65; Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, 1957-68; and Chairman and Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Ltd, 1969-70.

In the 1960s Rolls Royce invested heavily in a new engine, the RB211, which it hoped would power a new generation of wide bodied jet aircraft. Initial problems with the financing of the engine led successively to Pearson's resignation as Chairman, the company being taken into state-ownership in 1971, and the subsequent flotation of the firm's motor car business in 1973 as a separate entity.

Pearson was a member of the National Economic Development Council 1964-1967, although note of the papers held by Churchill Archives Centre relate to this aspect of his activities. He was knighted in 1963.


10 archive box(es) : paper

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge and the National Register of Archives, London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Churchill Archives Centre by Mrs Buckland, daughter of Sir Denning Pearson, in September 1993.


This collection (fonds) level description and catalogue of the papers was compiled by Andrew Riley of Churchill Archives Centre in September 2002. Information obtained from Pearson's entry in Who Was Who 1897-1996 (A and C Black).


Pearson, Sir James Denning, 1908-92, Knight, Engineer

2002-05-28 08:36:35+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087