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Leonard 'Lennie' David Pearce (1891-1962)


Lennie Pearce was born in Woodbridge in 1891. His father had been a wood sawyer and then became a dealer, first in potatoes, then in furniture and old iron. By 1911, Lennie had joined the family business – temporarily relocated to Wickham Market. He married in 1915 and by 1925, he and his wife Beatrice had moved back to the Quayside in Woodbridge, where he was an antique dealer, which he continued for the rest of his life from the same address, until his death in 1962.

Lennie Pearce was mostly remembered as part of the ‘Crane and Pearce’ band which used to travel around the nearby villages playing for socials. These memories aren’t clearly dated, and maybe any time from 1920s to 1950s. The other members of the band were Geoff Crane on banjo-mandolin, Fred ‘Eely’ Whent on fiddle and a Mr. Heffer on piano. Lennie Pearce played dulcimer or drums. Singer and stepdancer Geoff Ling of Blaxhall recalled that his brother-in-law Reg Grant often used to drive the band round in his taxi, but it wasn’t available one night so he borrowed a fire-engine (which he also drove) with them all clinging onto the sides! Eely Whent recalled that they played ‘all them old time dances, veletas, waltzes, two steps, quicksteps’ that were in demand at the time.

Eely also stated that Lennie had made his own dulcimer – ‘when he was eleven or twelve’ which would put its construction in the first decade of the 20th century. In 1955 Lennie’s playing was featured on a national radio show ‘Have a Go’ presented by Wilfred Pickles, when an edition was broadcast from Woodbridge. His dulcimer case had ‘Mr L. Pearce – radio and TV artist’ inscribed on it, and it seems he also travelled to the BBC studios at Lime Grove to record for another Wilfred Pickles show- ‘On Pickles’.

In 1994, his dulcimer was given by his nephew Eric Pearce, to Woodbridge Museum, however its current whereabouts are unknown.






Article from the East Anglian Daily Times 24.3.1994









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Photo descriptions & sources

Main photo:

Lennie Pearce (from Keith Summers)





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