Pearn Lane was named after a man named Sinclair Pearn.
Sinclair Pearn’s family had originally lived and worked in Devon on the South Coast. They were mariners, which means they worked on ships. Sinclair’s father, Richard Pearn moved away from Devon to London to learn a trade. He became a tailor – learning all about cotton and cloth. With his trade learnt and having married, he decided to move to Manchester to start a business and a family.
They had seven children and three of these became mechanical engineers – with the Industrial Revolution taking swing, this was a good, secure choice of career. Sinclair Pearn and his brother Frank set up a factory in Hulme where they created pumps. They even invented a new version of a pump named the ‘donkey pump’. It was called this because of the way it moves, bowing up and down like a nodding donkey.
There was a huge exhibition held in Manchester in 1887 called the Jubilee Exhibition. Hundreds of participants brought their products along to be judged. Frank and Sinclair Pearn’s Donkey Pump was voted the best in the world.
It carried on being manufactured for 100 years and during the Second World War, it was this donkey pump which was used to pump petrol under the channel to support those fighting in France!
Sinclair Pearn moved into Burnage House in later life and this road was named after him. Burnage House was not demolished during the building of the Corporation Estate and remained as a huge presence on the Lane. It was knocked down in the mid 1900s and the land was given to private housing.