Ernie Harrison and His Fearless Crew of Lincoln Painters

Under the leadership of Ernie Harrison, the Arthur B. Wright decorating firm scaled new heights.

Men in decorator's overalls.
Ernest Edward Harrison (far right) and his core team of painters and decorators.

Most folks in the trade will have heard a passer-by or new acquaintance tell them that some relative of theirs was a sign painter. It's not often that they can then produce photos of that relative at work, their tools, and an account of their life on the brush. However, this is exactly what Adrian Harrison did recently, and here I'm delighted to share the story of his grandfather Ernest Edward Harrison.

Regular readers will be familiar with Adrian's work from the films When Better Letters Met Stan Wilkinson and Everyone Back to Joby's.

Ernie's Life & Signs

Ernest (Ernie) Edward Harrison, 1893–1974, spent his entire life in Lincoln, with the exception of his service in the Somme, Northern France, during the first world war. He earned the Military Medal for bravery in 1917 and, although only a handful survived, men from his regiment continued to meet up at reunions until their deaths in the 1970s.

Before the war Ernie worked for Arthur B. Wright, one of the city's two big building firms; the other was William Wright & Sons, and Arthur and William are believed to be related. When Arthur B. Wright ceased trading in the 1920s, Ernie took over the decorating and sign painting side of the business, and retained a number of the firm's staff in his new venture.