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NOTES ON THE BEARMAN FAMILY
PAGE 1 of 3
Revised June 2008
Written in the first person by Dr. Middlemiss.
Hilda's elder sister Irma Spicer was at one time a particular friend of Edward Thomas Middlemiss.
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Thomas Bearman 1 was a coach builder. Thomas Bearman 11 (1812-1868) was a baker. His shop was at
101, Mare Street,
On the 31st August 1845, in Ramsgate, he married Catherine Boyd (1815 - 1888), daughter of Thomas Boyd. When Catherine died in 1888 the Hackney and Kingsland Gazette (25/5/88) stated that she had lived at 101, Mare Street for 54 years, i.e. from 1834.
Thomas Bearman 111 (11th Aug. 1846-16th Dec. 1921) was brought up as heir to his father's business and took it over when he was only 22. His father had taken a lot of care over his education and used to take him travelling, including a tour of Ireland during which he actually kissed the Blarney Stone.
Under Thomas Bearman III the shop prospered as a high class bakery and confectionary. Hackney had many wealthy inhabitants at that time and Bearmans catered for what was called "the carriage trade". It was also his practice to serve lunch daily to a select group of customers in the back room of the shop. Some blue-rimmed Wedgwood soup plates from this room have been passed down in both my family and Kate;s family.
He married Keturah Sandell on 3rd June 1873 and for the first five years of their married life they lived in rooms at
By 1878 he was able to buy a fine big house,
His mother continued to live over the shop until her death in 1888. By about 1894 he was able to sell the shop and retire and during the next few years came to acquire property all over London, as well as "Beach Crest" (bought in 1897) and "The Moorings" both at Deal and a house in Sandwich Market Place. A photograph of Beach Crest, as it is now, is at the top of the Contents page of this website.
He was a noted numismatist, specialising in mediaeval English and Scottish coins. Bernard Roth's book "Ancient Gaulish Coins" was dedicated to him. When he died, his collection was sold for £600, a considerable sum in those days.
His whole estate was left to a family trust, the Bearman Trust. The original trustees were his sons-in-law, Tom Stutchbury, Charlie Carrington and Edward Middlemiss, with Tom as Secretary. On Tom's death in 1941 his son Tom became Secretary. Among many other things, the Trust administered Beach Crest as a holiday home for the family until 1975, when they sold it to Frank and Florence Middlemiss. Also in 1975 Donald Bearman, the last Tenant for Life of the Trust, died and the Trust was then broken up and the assets distributed among the family.
Keturah Sandell (4th February 1851-19th Feb. 1930) was an energetic, determined woman of incisive personality. After her husband's death she remained at 8, Tudor Road for two years until Donald was married, but in 1923 moved to
8, Tudor Road,
immediately opposite Kate and Tom. I stayed with her there for some time in 1926 while my mother was in hospital. She later paid for my music lessons at the Metropolitan Academy of Music in Leytonstone. She continued right up to 1928 to spend most of the summer at Beach Crest, as she and her husband had done. During 1929 she was too ill to travel and Beach Crest was hardly used by anybody that year. She usually had a maid at Beach Crest. A notable one during the 20s was Hilda Spicer, who also came back with her to Leyton. The Spicers were a big family of fisher folk who lived at
17, Sandringham Road,
11, Golden Street,
even though this involved sleeping in the coal cellar during the Blitz of the 2nd World War. Before her marriage she had been a rather reserved person; afterwards, when she was stuck out at Leyton with nobody to talk to, her sisters were astonished at her flood of conversation when she visited the family home in Hackney. However, in 1911 her sister Hilda also moved to Leyton.
Thomas Stutchbury Snr. ( 21st Jan. 1876-30th March 1941) worked all his life for the Civil Service in the Post Office Secretarial Department. He was a Fabian soci
alist, a supporter of the Labour Party, and a keen chess player. He also took an active interest in the League of Nations Union and spent much time in literary pursuits. He regularly played chess in Essex teams and was secretary of the Leyton Chess Club. When Donald Bearman was in prison during the 1st World War Tom wrote out books for him in longhand and sent them to him as letters, since Don was not allowed access to books. He suffered a stroke in late March 1941 and died within a few days.
Thomas Stutchbury Jnr. (13th Sept. 1911-3rd Dec. 1995) was known as Stutch until the death of his father. He was educated at Mrs. Press's Oxford House School in Leytonstone and then at Bancroft's School, Woodford Wells. He gained the B.Sc. in Chemistry of London University at Sir John Cass College, London. He was the first person in the direct line of descent of the family to take a university degree. He spent his life as a professional chemist, first working for Siemen (electrical) but later became Chief Chemist at the Royal Institute of Public Health and Hygiene in London. Actually he used to say to us that he would rather have been an accountant- he was very good at figures and used to try to coach me in mathematics when I was a boy (without much success I am afraid).
He was also very good at electrical and radio matters. He collected stamps and in later years also had a large collection of cacti and became quite an expert on them. He was also very interested in photography and was rarely without his bag containing camera and lenses. Before colour photography became widespread he would develop and enlarge his black and white photos in the cellar at Sandringham Road. For many years until 1975 he was Secretary of the Bearman Trust.
In the summer of 1947 my future wife Florence Fozzard stayed with us at "Beach Crest" for the first time. Tom and his mother were also there and his mother, referring to Florence, remarked
16, Sandringham Road,
"I wish Tom could find a nice girl like that!".
Thus inspired he went out as soon as they were home and found Eileen Smith. They were both keen tennis players and they met at the Tennis Club. They were married that same autumn. Tom lived at
16, Sandringham Road,
all his life until he and Eileen moved to Sidmouth in 1993 to be near their daughter. The family had lived in that house for nearly ninety years; it was newly built when Tom and Kate bought it in 1904. Eileen died on the 29th February 2008, at the great age of 96.
Barbara Stutchbury (9th Feb. 1954- ) took a degree in Microbiology at Reading University. She married Robert Merkin in spite of opposition from his parents, who were Jews and objected to his marrying a non-Jew. Robert was at one time on the staff of the Law Department at Queen Mary College, London. Eventually he became Professor of Law at Exeter University and they bought a big house at Aylesbeare but later moved to Sidmouth. He later worked part-time at Cardiff University and spent most of his time writing books on Insurance Law at home. Our solicitor in Leytonstone said he was familiar with Robert's books. Their children Eleanor, Lucy and Sophie became friends of the Ridgway children.
Edith Bearman (24th June 1878-13th Nov. 1945) was the intellectual one among the Bearman girls. She was an impressive person to meet with her level gaze, deep well-modulated voice and beautiful articulation. Charles Carrington (12th Dec. 1877-30th April 1946) was an accountant. Charles and Edith married on the 22nd August, 1903 and from about 1911 they lived in an elegant house at
11, Willifield Way,
They had been medically advised to move there from Clapton for the sake of Edith's health, which had never been very good. Charles lost his job early in the great depression (about 1929) and they invested in a book shop,
Hampstead Garden Suburb,
The Temple Fortune Book Shop,
1071, Finchley Road,
which they ran successfully until Edith died. Several of the books in our collection were bought there. They had to leave Willifield Way for two months, September-November 1940, as there was an unexploded German bomb in the ground just behind the house. The very day after they had arrived back home the house in which they had been staying temporarily was flattened by a bomb. When Elsie Bearman was admitted to a mental hospital in 1922 Charlie took on the thankless job of Receiver of her property under the Court of Protection. When Charlie died I took on this job until Elsie died in 1970. Edith died in November 1945, of pneumonia after getting soaked in a rain storm. I met Charlie that Christmas, when he seemed quite lost without his wife, and he died only four months later. Hilda Bearman (14th June 1880- 16th July 1970) was educated at the Misses Pitman's school in Hackney until 1890, then at Lady Eleanor Holles' School, which she left in 1895. In 1894, 1895 and 1896 the family went on holiday to Margate (by "Eagle" steamer from Tower Bridge). These were the first family holidays they had had, which suggests that Thomas Bearman probably retired from the shop in 1894. About 1900 Hilda met Edward Middlemiss, as the Middlemiss family was at that time living next door at 10. Tudor Road. They became engaged in 1901 and married in 1907. Hilda, having a clear soprano voice, was in the choir at Mare Street Baptist Church, took part regularly in the Nonconformist Union Choir Festivals at the Crystal Palace, and sang in several Handel and other oratorios. This was with her fiance, who had a good baritone voice. In addition she was a fairly competent pianist. She was also an excellent draughtswoman and was often employed by her father to make detailed drawings of his coins. She was a keen tennis player and, in the winter, a skater on the lake in Victoria Park. After their marriage, Hilda and Edward lived for 31/2 years in rooms at
32, Poole Road,
and here their first child, Edward Thomas Middlemiss, was born. They moved to
38, Canterbury Road,
on the 11th March 1911. Here Edward was able to indulge his interests in gardening, carpentry, photography and in having a dog - the Airedale Bob was the first.
Hilda was a less assertive person than her sisters Kate and Edith but was a woman of strong principles and knew her own mind. She was more concerned with fundamentals than with more trivial matters; she was not worried if the house was a bit untidy or about such details as the precise time of meals as long as her children grew up with the right principles in life. Like her husband and like her sister Kate, she was very fond of animals and we grew up in close contact with dogs, cats, tortoises, etc. Many of her letters from the time of the second World War have been preserved and shed a vivid light on what housekeeping, shopping and travelling were like in the dark days of the Blitz. On reading them, the word "indomitable" comes to mind as descript
ive of her.
Elsie Nora Bearman (14th July 1882-2nd Feb. 1970) was also educated at Lady Holles' School. She was the artistic one among the Bearman girls. She had a thorough training, including a painting tour of Holland, and was excellent at both drawing and painting. Several of her pictures have been handed down through the family, although one of the best, a still life with oranges, was destroyed when 38, Canterbury Road was bombed in 1940. When the Middlemiss family were living next door, about 1900, and Hilda and Edward became engaged,
Elsie and Edward's younger brother, Alec , were very interested in each other; this was during 1900 - there was no mention of it in 1901. It is said that an engagement was vetoed by Mrs. Bearman. Elsie never did marry, but continued to live at Tudor Road. In 1921 she suffered the unpleasant shock of finding her father dead. About that time she was becoming progressively more withdrawn and peculiar and at the beginning of 1922 she was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and committed to Horton Hospital, Epsom. She remained in hospital for the rest of her life, for many years in
but during the 2nd World War she was transferred to West Park Hospital, where she eventually died. She was not an unreasonable patient; she was always helping with the chores at the hospital and in the 1940s took up drawing and painting again quite successfully. Under modern ideas she would never have been kept in hospital all her life.
Donald Boyd Bearman (24th May 1890- Aug. 1975) was educated at the Parmiters' School, Bethnal Green, and became a Chartered Accountant, although he once said that he would rather have done something literary with his life, like Charlie Carrington in his latter years (and cf. Tom Stutchbury Jnr.). Don was a keen Quaker and, like Tom Stutchbury Snr., a Fabian socialist.
During the 1st World War he was an absolute conscientious objector and spent much time in prison. In prison (1916-1919) the regime was very tough and he disliked recalling such unhappy memories in later life. He was severely restricted in how often he could write home, what he could write and how much. The letters survive and are written in minute writing to get more on a page. They say nothing about life in prison and consist entirely of his own philosophical thoughts.
Quakers hold meetings rather than services, so on a Sunday he was always off to meeting, where he would take his little notebook to remind him of the thoughts that had come to him during the week, which he would then share with others at the meeting. He was a colourful figure - six feet five inches tall and slim, quite a health fanatic and a strong believer in homeopathy. Most days, right up until his late seventies, he could be seen high up on his specially designed two-barred bicycle cycling down to the River Lea at Broxbourne, summer and winter, to swim. (It is only fair to add that the water was warmed by discharge from the power station upstream). He was keen on nudism - perhaps as a reaction against Victorian stuffiness towards sexual matters. The large extended garden and pool at Noonsun enabled him and his children (not his wife) to swim and sunbathe in the nude, and later in life he liked to visit nudist camps.
He had a tendency to have his head in the clouds - a trait which could be infuriating when practical family matters needed attention. His wife was the extreme opposite in this respect - very down-to-earth. As a young man after the War he travelled much in Europe and met Ethel Webb in Paris.
Ethel Carrie Webb (7th Oct. 1894-Oct.1971) was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren and was a Sunday School teacher before going to university. She graduated with 1st Class Honours in French at Somerville College, Oxford, in 1916. While on a travelling scholarship to Paris she met Don at the "Rue de Sevres Meeting" in January 1920 and they were married in September 1922. We have been told that Don first spotted Ethel on a bus in Paris and was so attracted by her that he followed the bus on his own bicycle. In 1924 they had their house
Garden Villa 3,
built to their own designs. Here their three children, Eirene, Rosalind and Peter were born. Ethel later obtained her Oxford M.A. and was an active academic all her life, mainly at the London University Institute of Education and as G.C.E. Chief Examiner. One person who has particularly made a point of telling me that he studied under her at the Institute is Mr. Southey, organiser of the Spring and Autumn concert seasons at Deal. Her nickname at the Institute of Education was Prudence, and her character in later life probably reflected the influence of the Plymouth Brethren in her childhood. Like her husband, she was an ardent pacifist. Eirene Myra Bearman (Feb. 1926-Oct. 1982) was always called "Pippa" , because her father was so fond of Browning's poem Pippa Passes. She trained as a nurse, working in London hospitals until she emigrated on a £10 ticket to New Zealand in about 1949. She met Stan Cave in the summer of 1953 on her return voyage from New Zealand, announcing her engagement on her arrival. After their marriage they both emigrated to Tasmania, where their three children, Christopher, Elizabeth and Nigel, were born. They returned to England for the sake of their children?s education in 1961. They lived at
although after Pippa's death Stan moved to Hertford. Stan was a chain smoker and suffered badly from emphysema. He died on Christmas Day, 1996.
Christopher F. Cave (April 1955- ) married a Welsh girl who already had a child. They produced Pippa's first grandchild just a few months before she died. They live at Harlow.
Elizabeth Ann Cave (Feb. 1957- ) (her grandfather always called her "Bunty") married Andrew Walmsley who was a diabetic and died of the disease, after first going blind and having a leg amputated. They had no children. In the early 1990s Liz had a house in Dolphin Street, Deal. Her husband by that time had died. In the autumn of 1992 she set off to travel the world.
Nigel Robert Cave (Dec. 1959- ) married Jessica, who had suffered from cystic fibrosis from birth. They lived in Hertford and he is a postal worker. They had no children. Jessica died in 1998.
52, Hertford Road,
Hilda's elder sister Irma Spicer was at one time a particular friend of Edward Thomas Middlemiss.Thomas Bearman 1V (21st Nov. 1873-24th June 1878) died shortly after the move from Fremont Street to Tudor Road and on the very day of the birth of his sister Edith, who was said to have been born "sobbing and sighing" as a result. Kate Bearman (3rd Aug. 1876-1st April 1958) was in many ways a daintier version of her mother, from whom she inherited her flaming red hair. As a child she hated her red hair because the rude urchins used to shout "carrots" after her, but her husband later particularly admired it. Kate was educated at Lady Eleanor Holles' School, which was at that time situated in Mare Street, Hackney. She loved music and played both piano and violin. Her husband Tom bought her a piano when they married (8th October 1904) and this same piano was still very much in use by Kate's Merkin great-grandchildren ninety-four years later. She also loved animals, especially cats, of which she nearly always had one. In 1934 the family got a Chow dog called Ruff, which can be seen in many photos taken in the 1930s. Ruff was a splendid big dog, very strong; unfortunately he pulled Kate over, causing her to break her hip in 1938. Like her mother, Kate was a woman of strong opinions and precise and proper ways. She lived all her life after her marriage at
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