George Stebbing was an optician and instrument maker, specalising in nautical instruments. He trained in London, but when qualified in 1800 moved to Portsmough, where he was based for the most part at his shop at 66 High Street. Stebbing was recognised by the Admiralty as being a high quality nautical instrument maker. In 1834 Royal Navy Captain of HMS Aetna, a survey vessel, reportedly refused to go to sea without Stebbing repairing the ship's nautical intruments. Stebbing patented several modifications to compasses and binoculars, and accepted a royal appointment as Optician to the Duchess of Kent. His four eldest sons (George, Rchard, Frederick and Joseph) followed him into the profession. Following his death, the Portsmouth shop was taken over by Browning & Co. His eldest son, George James Stebbing, sailed on the Beagle with Darwin, serving as 'instrument maker' to the ship.
c. 1840-1850 - One of Stebbings' sons - Joseph Rankin, opens an optician and nautical instrument maker/ supplier's business in Southampton.