Brian Robert Pearce
A Pearce Family Genealogy

From Romford to Bishop's Stortford

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Brian Pearce busked the streets and bars of Europe between the years 1994 and 2000. In addition he busked in New York while participating in the TIGHTROPE musical, a play written by Ken Post [ with Bonnie Burns].
The journal exists, at present, as approx. 750,000 hand written words formatted in about 55 segments.
Some of my sites:
Contact me
Music and photos
Music and lyrics
Other buskers
Virtual High Street
Basic Site Plan
Universe Theories
Blog (Blogspot)
Blog (Tripod)
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Lone Wolf
Green Busker
Tortoise & Hare
New Clear Winter
Monster in NY
Things we must do

The online Labyrinth Busker Journal consists of hundreds of pages  ranging from busking  to a wide variety of topics and articles.
If you have a clear idea of what you are looking for, then use the search box (above) to find it.
My 'flash' sites are unlikely to be included in results from the search, so it is best to visit them directly.
My flash sites are:

I hope you enjoy the experience of the Labyrinth Busker Journal
1) William Pearce born in 1806, Romford, Essex, died in 1887, married Rebecca, born in 1801. Occupation Agricultural Labourer. It was during the Napoleonic wars which started in 1793, and ended with Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 and during the reign of king George the third that both William and Rebecca Pearce were born in Romford, Essex. They both lived and worked in the Romford area throughout their lives. By 1841, they had four children: 3 sons, William, Henry and Robert, and 1 daughter Rebecca. William’s meagre wages as a farm labourer would have been about £20 or £25 a year. When William and Rebecca got married, they moved in to a cottage owned by the farmer which he worked for as a farm labourer. Typically the cottage was free or leased at a small rent to the labourer. The cottage they lived in would have had a thatched roof and would have consisted of two or four rooms, which were very basic with no facilities such as  running water, toilets, and probably the roof leaked; the walls and floors were damp. Once settled they became parents to four children, the first one was William born in 1828, followed by Henry in 1830, Robert in 1835 and Rebecca in 1838. The diet of the average farm labourer and his family was vegetables, which they would grow in the small cottage garden. They also would have bread, milk, cheese, eggs, and beer which were the main staple foods. They rarely had meat on the table or sugar and tea. Most cottagers did not have ovens, so when cooking they would boil the food in a pot over a fire. Drinking water was obtained from a well or water pump, and was often contaminated so they would boil the water before drinking or drink beer instead.    

(2) William Pearce: born in 1828, Romford, Essex, died Mar 1898, married Caroline, born in 1837, died Mar 1880. Occupation Agricultural Labourer. Soon after they were married they became parents to two sons, Philip and William. As the industrial revolution swept through the country big changes took place in Romford during William and Caroline’s life time. First Queen Victoria ascended to the throne on the 30th of June, 1837. Then, on the 20th June 1839, the Railway arrived when the Eastern Counties Railway Company began operating train services between London and Romford. The following year the line then was extended to Colchester. This had a profound effect on the local economy enabling people to commute into London to get better jobs and also the fortunes of the Pearce family when William's son, Philip, joined the Railway Company as a station porter. Later, his grandson William was to become a train driver. With the Railways established, Romford started to expand with the development of new housing estates about a mile or so from the town centre and railway station. The Ind Coope brewery, which had become one of the main industries in Romford because of the railway, was also able to expand.

(3) Philip Pearce: born in 1859, Barking Essex, died 15. Aug. 1934. Hornchurch. Married his cousin Eliza Pearce, born 1868, in Romford Essex, died. in 1937, the daughter of his uncle Henry.  Occupation: railway porter. Philip enjoyed better wages and conditions as a porter at Hornchurch Station  compared to what his father William would have had as a farm labourer. Philip and his wife Eliza, along with Ernest Byford, moved in to a house at number 23, Claremont road, Hornchurch. This house would have been luxury compared to the old farm labourers cottage’s, it would have had running water, a toilet, and gas lamps for lighting. Together they went on to have three children: one son William, who followed his father on to the railways and became a main line train driver, and two daughters Phyllis and Elizabeth. His daughter Elizabeth met Jim Thornton who is from Sheffield, and was serving in the Royal navy during the First World War. They fell in love with each other, then got married and soon after they became parents to their first daughter. After World War One, in 1920, Jim left the Royal navy and joined the Australian navy, then in 1921, they emigrated to Sydney Australia, where they settled and soon afterwards they became parents to their second daughter, later they had a third daughter.

(4) William Henry Pearce, born 18. Mar. 1892, at 23 Claremont road Hornchurch Essex, died 30. July. 1972. Bishops Stortford Herts. Married on the 2. April 1918, Nellie Law, born 24. July. 1896, Rickling Green Essex, died 31. Dec 1980. Bishops Stortford Herts. William’s occupation on the Railways was a Fireman, then later an Engine Driver. In 1917 during World War 1, he was transferred by the Great Eastern Railway Company from Romford in Essex to Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire. Soon after moving to Bishops Stortford he met Nellie Law from Rickling Green, and they were married on the 2. April. 1918, moving into a house in Castle Street. While living there they became parents to three sons, the first one was my father Philip, born in 1918, he served in the R.A.F. during the 2nd World war, then on the buses. Second son Lesley born in 1920, he worked all his life in engineering, he is now retired, and living with his wife and son in Letchworth. The third son Kenneth born in 1921, served in the R.A.F. signals, during the 2nd World War, and in 1942 he was sent to Egypt to a secret base in the desert near Cairo. It was here that Ken and his colleagues would send top secret coded messages to and from Britain. After the war he married Julia, a nurse who was from Galway Ireland and worked at the Herts & Essex Hospital. Ken then got a job in the financial dept at Millers machinery, later he worked at S.T.L. communications in Harlow.
In 1930 William and his family moved from Castle Street to 38 Newtown road, and it was here in 1936 their fourth son Derrick was born. Derrick had several jobs during his working life, he married Janet Osborne, from Little Hallingbury in Essex. Together they became parents to three daughters. During the winter of 1927,  heavy snow blocked the line near Elsenham while William was driving his train. He stopped the train and with the crew they cleared the snow off the railway lines. Afterwards he fell ill and was treated in Rye Street Hospital for Pneumonia.  
One of his most famous passengers that he personally knew was the Countess of Warwick of Eastern Lodge. She was well known as one of King Edward the 7th mistresses. One night the Countess arrived in Bishops Stortford from London too late for her connecting train to Eastern Lodge. After an agreement with the Station Master she hired a train with William as driver to take her home. William was paid £5 for the job, which was more than a week's wages back then.  He continued driving steam trains through out World War 2 and so on until he retired in 1957. William was a supporter of West Ham F.C. I think he would have approved of the Icelandic takeover of West Ham F.C. providing the club benefited from it.

Grandmothers ancestral line, begins with my Great Great Grandfather James Law.

(1) James Law, born in 1815, in Rickling Green, Essex. Mrried Rebecca, born in 1817, in Debden Essex. Occupation Agricultural Labourer. The village of Rickling Green is situated about half way between Bishops Stortford and Saffron Walden. It has a beautifully kept village green and overlooking this green is the Cricketers Arms Inn. And during the summer months you can sit out side the pub with a pint of beer and watch the cricket. On the out skirts of the village is Rickling Hall and the Rickling Green parish church.
(2) John Law, born in 1847, in Rickling Green, Essex, died in 1923. Married Elizabeth, born in 1853, in Much Hadham Hertfordshire. Occupation Roadman. John and his wife Elizabeth together had 16 children and the youngest was Nellie, my Grandmother. The cottage that John and his family lived in would have very similar to the farm labourers cottages of my Great Grandfather's.
(3) Nellie Law, born 24. July 1896, in Rickling Green, Essex, died 31. Dec 1980, in Bishops Stortford. On the 2nd of April, 1918, at Rickling parish church Rickling Green, Essex, married William Henry Pearce, born 18. Mar 1892, died 30. July 1972. After Nellie left school, she found employment as a house keeper in Grange Road, Bishops Stortford. It was when she was working in Bishops Stortford that she met her future husband William, a fireman on the railways, who recently was transferred from Romford Railway Station to Bishops Stortford by the railway company he worked for.    

(5) Philip William Pearce, born. 26. Nov. 1918. Bishops Stortford Hertfordshire, died 25. Jan. 1993. Harlow Essex. Married Asa Byron Gudmundsdottir, born. 27. Oct. 1917. Rekavik bak Latur Hornstandir Iceland, daughter of Gudmundur Palmason, Lighthouse keeper and farmer, died 24. Jan. 1994. Bishops Stortford Herts. Philip attended Saint Michael’s School in Apton Road, Bishops Stortford, until the age of 14 years. After he left school in about 1933 he got a job working in a butchers shop. Then on the 3rd of Sept 1939, the Second World war broke out, and it was during the war in 1942 that Philip was called up for military service, to serve in the R.A.F. He first served at a R.A.F. base near Didcot in Oxfordshire, then later went on some training courses in Blackpool. Shortly after the war in October 1945, he was posted to R.A.F. Reykjavik Iceland, where he served for 10 mouths preparing for the R.A.F. withdrawal from Reykjavik. At a dance in Dec. 1945, he met Asa Gudmundsdottir, they fell in love and were married in June 1946 in Reykjavik. Two months later, in August 1946, they left Iceland for England and settled in an apartment in Portland road Bishops Stortford. Philip left the R.A.F. in the spring of 1947 and found employment as a bus conductor.Later, he took his H.G.V. driving test and passed it. Having got his licence he became a bus driver for Eastern National Bus Company. Then in about 1949, before the first of their three children was born, they moved into a house in Castle street. The house in Castle Street did not have any electricity, only gas lighting. There was no bathroom and the toilet was at the bottom of the garden. In 1950 their first son Michael was born, and two years later in 1952 their daughter Diana was born. A year later in 1953 they moved to a three bedroom terrace house in Coronation Road, which had all the modern facilities - and it was here, a year later in 1954, their third child Brian was born. During his working life on the buses, as well as driving buses on local services, he took people by coach on day trips to the seaside, such as Clacton, Walton on the Naze, Southend, Dover and Folkestone, Norfolk Broads, Woburn Abbey and other places of interest. In 1968 Eastern National bus company started operating day trips to France, so Philip, along with another driver, would take coach loads of passengers on day trips to Calais, Boulogne & La Touquet in France. During the Fifties and Sixties he took Horse Racing punters by coach to the Goodwood Races near Chichester in Sussex. Then in 1971 he was appointed as a bus Inspector and held that postion until he retired in Nov 1983, having completed 36 years service with the Eastern National Bus Company. During his leisure time he enjoyed dancing and watching horse racing at meetings or on T.V, Bingo and he also liked popping down to the pub for a pint.. Occasionally he would go and watch Bishops Stortford F.C. play.

(6) Michael Philip Pearce born. 20. July. 1950. Bishops Stortford Herts. Occupation a Painter & Decorator. He attended Great Havers primary school from Sept 1955, until 1961, then Bishops Stortford Boys High School until 1965. He left school aged 15, and found employment as a Painter & decorator for Builders H.J. Moss Ltd, Sawbridgeworth. During the time he was working for H.J. Moss Ltd, he completed his Apprenticeship and gained City and Guilds Qualifications while attending the Mid-Essex Technical College and School of Art. In February 1971, he left H.J. Moss Ltd to work for builders, F Cannons & sons, in Bishops Stortford. Four years later in 1975, he left Cannons to work at the Herts & Essex Hospital Bishops Stortford, and from 1993 for P.A. Hospital N.H.S Trust Estates dept, Harlow Essex. My leisure Interests are Rambling, Historical walks, History, Travel, Real Ale, Football, and the Bible.                                             

Diana Asa Suava Pearce, born. 7. July. 1952, Bishops Stortford Hertfordshire d. 17. June. 1997 Harlow Essex. Married in Aug 1987, John Wheeler, born. 16. April. 1947 Southwark London. Diana attended Great Havers Primary School from Sept 1957 to 1963, then Margaret Dane School for girls until 1967. She left school aged 15, after she had several jobs, she then settled down for many years as an Electronics assembler. But sadly she died of cancer in 1997
aged 44 years.      

Brian Robert Pearce, born 9 May, 1954. Bishop's Stortford, Herts.