Tom Hatherley Pear

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Tom Hatherley Pear
Born(1886-03-22)22 March 1886
Walpole, Norfolk
Died14 May 1972(1972-05-14) (aged 86)
Nationality British
Occupation Psychologist
Children4, including:
Richard Pear

Tom Hatherley Pear (22 March 1886 – 14 May 1972) was a British psychologist. He was the first professor of psychology in England. He was president of the British Psychological Society. [1]



Tom Hatherley Pear was born in Walpole, Norfolk, 22 March 1886 the oldest son of Alfred John and Mary Ann Pear. He undertook tertiary education and gained an M.A and B.Sc.


Pear became Professor of Psychology in the University of Manchester, Fellow of King's College London and president of the British Psychological Society. He was the author of several books on psychology including studies of human conversation, and the development of memory and skills. He was also Secretary of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society from 1920 to 1922.

Pear was actively involved in the system of assisting refugees and the family home became a safe house during the Kindertransport. Many of those who passed through on their way to the US or who stayed in the UK became long term family friends. A professor from Utrecht was found a lecturing post at Manchester University, before he too went to the US.

During WWI Pear, who had just returned from studying in Würzburg, became a Conscientious Objector, and served at Maghull Hospital, examining and then treating what was then known as 'Shell Shock', then 'Battle Psychosis', and is now acknowledged as PTSD. He was in regular correspondence with, and visited W. H. R. Rivers at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, where Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were patients. [2]

In 1917 Pear and co-author the Australian-born anatomist Grafton Elliot Smith show had worked with Ronald Rows at Maghull Military Hospita, proposed in Shell-Shock and its Lessons the idea that ordinary people could benefit from techniques used in treating the soldiers: 'If the lessons of war are to be truly beneficial, much more extensive application must be made of these methods, not only for our soldiers now, but also for our civilian population for all time.' [3]

Personal life

Pear was married to Catherine, who had a special interest in working-class housing in Manchester where they lived with their young family [4] They had two daughters and two sons; Richard, born 1916, political scientist and [4] Professor of American Politics at Nottingham University; and Brian, who was killed in the Second World War [5] when as a flail tank commander, he led the attack on his sector of the beach on D-Day and was killed in action later that year on the Meuse, when he interposed his tank between a damaged one and enemy fire to permit the crew of the former to escape. Daughters were Marjorie who was a very talented pianist and harpsichord player and married a barrister who rose to High Court Judge, and Stella, who married a GP, and served for several decades as a Magistrate on the Bench Adult and Juvenile, in Grimsby and latterly in Bradford.

Prof. Emeritus Pear died on 14 May 1972.




Lectures and broadcasts

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  1. PEAR, Prof. Tom Hatherley, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2008; online ed., Oxford University Press, Dec 2007, accessed 29 Jan 2012
  2. Pear, T.H. “Reminiscences” (1959). Mimeo. Archives of the British Psychological Society. University of Liverpool.
  3. Grafton Elliot Smith; Pear, Tom Hatherley, 1886- (1917), Shell shock and its lessons (2d ed.), Manchester University Press{{citation}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. 1 2 David Childs, Obiturary, The Independent, Wednesday 4 March 1998
  5. "Casualty Details: Brian Hatherley Pear". Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  6. "Book Reviews". West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954). 1934-03-03. p. 4. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the British Psychological Society
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Hubert Frank Coward
Secretary of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society
Succeeded by
Hubert Frank Coward