Within days of losing his battle for The Times, Pearson, on 18 March 1908, was operated on for glaucoma. Since childhood, he had suffered with his eyesight, and had invariably worn glasses. There was little doubt that the long hours of travelling while he had been building up his publishing empire — reading constantly in poorly-lit railway carriages — had now taken their toll. Unfortunately, following the operation, he was never again able to see well enough to read or write. His doctors advised him to rest completely for six months, and he went to Frensham Place, his country home. There, neither his large aviary nor golf could excite him, and walking was to become his chief pleasure, often up to twenty miles a day.1 Towards the end of the year, he had recovered enough to enable him to travel up to Shoe Lane each morning to supervise his newspapers and to attend board meetings. However, within three months, the strain was to prove too much, and Pearson realised that there was no hope of his sight improving.
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