Born in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, England, Brearley represented Yorkshire for a solitary County Championship appearance as a right-handed batsman in 1937, and played for Middlesex in 1949. His appearance with Yorkshire yielded seventeen runs from two innings. He also played for Yorkshire Men's Hockey team whilst in Sheffield.
After obtaining a B.Sc. from the University of Leeds, he was a teacher at King Edward VII School in Sheffield from 1937 to 1946, interrupted by wartime service as Instructor Lieutenant in the R.N.V.R. He left Sheffield in 1946, to take up a teaching post at the City of London School. He suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his last years.
- Horace Brearley at ESPNcricinfo
- Yorkshire County Cricket Club website Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Warner, David (2011). The Yorkshire County Cricket Club: 2011 Yearbook (113th ed.). Ilkley, Yorkshire: Great Northern Books. p. 364. ISBN 978-1-905080-85-4.
- KES Magazine, March 1939
- KES Magazine, Dec 1937
- KES Magazine, March 1941
- List of masters in KES Magazine, Summer 1955