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Husband of Sybil, father of Sheila and Eric. Priestley describes him as a "heavy-looking man" in his mid-fifties, with easy manners but "rather provincial in his speech." He is the owner of Birling and Company, some sort of factory business which employs several girls to work on (presumably sewing) machines. He is a Magistrate and, two years ago, was Lord Mayor of Brumley. He thus is a man of some standing in the town. He describes himself as a "hard-headed practical man of business," and he is firmly capitalist, even right-wing, in his political views.