Joseph Parrott was a man who had a thirst for knowledge. He had trained as a hairdresser from a young age in the 1850s, and his interests lay in the growth of human hair and skin at a microscopic level. While he applied this knowledge in how to dress hair professionally, he also turned his attention to educating others.
He went out of his way to learn more about any subject that caught his interest and delighted in sharing his knowledge through public lectures. He would write all his lectures by hand and present them in Middlesbrough, Stockton, and even further afield in Newcastle. Subjects included the history of Stockton, European countries, the lives of poets like Wordsworth and Dante, and Greek and Roman art.
A lecture written on Stockton by Joseph Parrott. Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum and Grounds.
One of his many interests was art, and he often tried his hand at painting in oils and watercolour. It was in pen and ink drawings which he excelled, and around 1891 he published a small series of detailed ink sketches of Stockton.