Sidney Thomas Harris (1881 – 1956)

Sidney’s father William Harris died in 1892. William was an Inland Revenue officer, working for Customs & Excise, and in some way was linked to Cain’s brewery in Liverpool.

At the time of Sidney’s admission to the Blue Coat on October 3rd, 1893, his admission was supported by Robert Cain (of Cain’s brewery) and F. Norton of the Inland Revenue. Prior to his admission, Sidney had to be baptised at St. Peter’s church in Liverpool. At this time his mother Esther was managing a Spirits and Wine Bar at 21 Parr Street.

Sidney was expelled from the Blue Coat School on March 11th, 1895. On June 24th of the same year he was admitted onto HMS Indefatigable, a training ship for orphans whose fathers had been in the Merchant Navy. At this time his mother Esther was managing the Munro pub at 92 Duke St, Liverpool (which is still open today). Sidney was signed up to be on board for 3 years and his application was supported by the headmaster, a Mr Arthur Mercer, of the Blue Coat.

Sidney left the HMS Indefatigable on February 2nd 1898 to join a ship named Allerton, bound for Cape Town. After a number of voyages Sidney stopped working as a merchant seaman. Robert Cain supported Sidney while he educated himself to take the Civil Service entrance exams. Sidney passed them and became a Customes & Excise officer working in the port of Liverpool. Mu family believe that Robert Cain was instrumental in ensuring that Sidney’s Mother Esther was given employment to support her family after the death of Sidney’s father.

Story by Sandra Harris (Sidney’s Grand-daughter)


Photograph showing Blue Coat boys circa 1894. Sidney is front centre holding a cane, the Head Boy is also pictured on the farthest left with no top hat

Sidney Harris

Sidney’s admission paper onto the HMS Indefatigable

Admission paper to HMS Indefatigable