Six siblings (four brothers and two sisters) of this Shropshire family emigrated to New Zealand in the 1880s. Three of the brothers settled at Christchurch (South Island), but the other, Charles William, a mariner, was lost at sea off the south-east coast of South Island. One of the sisters married Richard Bestall and they owned a departmental store in Napier (North Island) which was destroyed in the 1931 earthquake.
James Delabere Pidgeon was probably the first of the brothers to arrive in New Zealand, where he started a tinker business. After he died at the age of 33, the business was taken over by his brother Edward who developed it into the general merchant business of E W Pidgeon & Co, with a store in Christchurch.