Karl Pearson’s Hampstead Home




         KP in the study 1933

From 1892 until his death Karl Pearson (1857-1936) applied mathematician, philosopher of science, biometrician, statistician, eugenist, contributor to “the woman’s question” and professor at University College London lived at 7, Well Road Hampstead.


Karl Pearson’s son, Egon Sharpe Pearson (1895-1980), described the move in his biography of his father:

Pearson had moved from the Temple to Christchurch Cottage, Hampstead, some little time before his marriage [to Maria Sharpe in 1890]. This small but attractive house stands by the church of that name not far from the Heath. With an increasing family, the Pearsons moved to a larger house nearby, No. 7, Well Road in 1892.  (Egon S. Pearson (1936, p. 212)


At the time of the move Maria and Karl had one child, Sigrid Loetitia.  A second child, Egon Sharpe, was born three years later and a third, Helga Sharpe, three years later again.



The UCL Special Collections digital archive has some nice family photographs on the page Pearson Papers: Maria and baby Egon in pictures 18 and 19 and Karl and Maria with pram and with grown-up children in pictures 24 and 25.





In 1983 the Borough of Camden put a blue plaque (now managed by English Heritage) on the house: Karl Pearson (1857-1936) pioneer statistician lived here.













A short walk away in North End Way there is a blue plaque commemorating Ronald Fisher, Pearson’s great antagonist and his successor as Professor of Eugenics at University College. See Ronald Fisher’s childhood home.


References and further information

  • Egon S. Pearson (1936/8) Karl Pearson: An Appreciation of Some Aspects of his Life and Work, In Two Parts, Biometrika, 28, 193-257, 29, 161-247. JSTOR, JSTOR (This appeared as a book with the same title, published by Cambridge University Press, in 1938.)


  • T. M. Porter (2004) Karl Pearson: the Scientific Life in a Statistical Age. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. (Gives a very full picture of Karl Pearson as a young man.)


  • L. Bland (1995) Banishing the Beast: English Feminism and Sexual Morality 1885-1914, London: Penguin. (Discusses Pearson’s courtship of Maria Sharpe in the context of a history of the Men & Women’s Club which Pearson founded and of which they were both members.)


  • T. F. T. Baker (Editor) (1989) A History of the County of Middlesex, volume IX, Hampstead and Paddington, pp. 15-33, London: Victoria County History of the Counties of England. (A history of the area.)


  • For Pearson and his manifold activities as applied mathematician, philosopher of science, biometrician, statistician, eugenist and contributor to “the woman’s question” see John Aldrich  Karl Pearson: A Reader's Guide.





I am grateful to A. W. F. Edwards for the photograph of the plaque and to A. N. Banerjee for technical assistance.


John Aldrich, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK. (home) March 2005. Latest changes June 2015.