Captain George Peacock (1805-1883) came to Southampton in 1848 and served for the next ten years as docks master and superintendent. After a career in the Royal Navy, he spent eight years pioneering steam navigation on the west coast of South America. He was a keen engineer and inventor working in the fields of steam propulsion, screw propellers and submarine telegraph cables.
In 1848 he went into partnership with Henry Joseph Buchan (1814-1891) to produce anti-fouling compositions for ships’ hulls and other preservative paints. The firm of Peacock and Buchan set up works at Mousehole Lane in Millbrook.
As a young man Buchan helped his father Henry Buchan in his multifarious business activities which included a High Street shop selling glassware and picture frames, and an exclusive house-decorating business. They were also involved in the Southampton Dock Company, the Itchen Bridge Company and the Hampshire Bank. Henry Joseph Buchan also followed his father into politics, becoming a councillor in 1865 and mayor in 1871. Father and son lived at Wilton House in Bedford Place. Henry Joseph expanded his father’s businesses and became one of the town’s largest employers. His partnership with Peacock was possibly his most successful venture. The enterprise survived into the 1960s when members of both the Buchan and Peacock families were still linked with the firm. The factory later became the Atlantic Works of Sealocrete Products Limited.

George Peacock

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Undated portrait

Henry Joseph Buchan

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Oil painting by Frank Burcher, c.1871

see also

Further reading:
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p32-33. (HS/h)
Captain George Peacock, by L. A. Palmer in Tales and Gleanings of Old Southampton, PE1-2. (HS/h)
Millbrook: The Hidden Past, by Rosaleen Wilkinson, p50. (HS/h)
The Genius of George Peacock, by Peacock and Buchan Ltd. (HS/ps)
Captain George Peacock F.R.G.S., by Peacock and Buchan Ltd. (HS/ps)


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