Weetman Pearson went into business and by 1900 was the owner of S. Pearson & Son, a company employing 20,000 men building railways, docks, harbours, waterworks and drainage systems in Britain, Ireland, Mexico and China. The company was responsible for several very large projects including Dover Harbour and Blackwell Tunnel.
Pearson was elected Liberal M.P. for Colchester in 1895 and held the seat until 1910. Pearson owned Paddockhurst Estate in Worth and was a strong supporter of Charles Corbett, the M.P. for East Grinstead between 1906 and 1910.
Pearson, a close friend of the new prime minister, David Lloyd George, was granted the title Viscount Cowdray in December 1916. The following month he was appointed President of the Air Board. Cowdray worked hard to improve the output of aircraft and predicted that Britain would soon have more than was needed to defend Britain.
By the summer of 1917 the Royal Flying Corps was still short of aircraft. On May 25th 24 German bombers killed nearly 100 people in south-east England, a quarter of them children. Three weeks later on 13th June over 600 civilians were killed or injured after a squadron of twin-engined Gothas dropped bombs on London. This was followed by other German raids on Britain and Cowdray was criticised for not doing enough to protect Britain from these attacks. As a result of this criticism, Cowdray resigned in November 1917.
Lord Cowdray died on 1st May, 1927.