About this Site

This site started because, quite simply, I couldn’t believe that someone who had written hundreds of stories could disappear so completely from history that no one could say anything about him other than the date of his death, which had appeared, with very little other information, in Who’s Who.

Well … that isn’t quite the whole story. Here’s more than you’ll ever need to know about my “honey bee brain.”

When I got married and we decided to honeymoon in Antigua, my wife bought me Brian Dyde’s History of Antigua which I found quite dull. So I found some scans of Antigua and the Antiguans online, which was a much better read. Then I noticed that one of the subscribers to this book was a lady who lived at Byam House, in Brighton. We live in Brighton so … off to find out about Byam House.

It turns out that Byam House no longer exists and old newspapers seemed to say that the only interesting thing that ever happened was that it was regularly visited by the “richest widow in England,” one Harriot Mellon. Who? Well, that question was answered by another old book called The Jolly Duchess, by a Charles E. Pearce. This was a cracking good read, rolling up a biography with a comprehensive history of the theatre over the 60 years of Harriot’s life.

I tried to find other books by Pearce, came across his Who’s Who entry and found that there was almost nothing known about the man himself. When Oxford University Press reissued Love Besieged in 2003, the only biographical information they could find was that Who’s Who entry, and they printed his list of works in almost random order.

So I set out on a mission to discover who Pearce was and to place as many of his works online as I could. (I’d got the bug of transcribing books while reading Antigua and the Antiguans, which I passed to Project Gutenberg.) I have set myself a goal of completing this by the centenary of his death, which will be 2024.

Two things may hamper me in completing this. Firstly, I don’t know how many stories Pearce wrote. I think I know how many books were published, but he wrote many serials for newspapers and magazines.

Secondly, I see a flower. I fly to it, go to work and investigate it. While doing that, I spot another flower and go “Ooh!” And so we go.

These flowers tend to be other lost souls who produced a body of work that I find interesting but has been forgotten. So, if you come across this site from a search engine and wonder why it includes a biography of A. C. Michael, who produced a single illustration in a magazine that also featured stories by Pearce’s son, St John, or a biography of Henry Evison, who illustrated a single edition of Pearce’s Ball of Fortune, now you know.