Obituary: Bruce Peirson, 86, Beccles auction house employee

01:32 PM April 27, 2022

One of the region’s longest-serving auction house employees, whose career spanned nearly six decades, has died aged 86.

Bruce Peirson, who was originally employed on a casual basis at Durrants Auction Rooms, Beccles, started working for the firm in 1964. He has remained there ever since, working as a porter on viewing days.

From horses in a paddock to prestigious war medals, it’s fair to say Mr Peirson has seen his fair share of nearly everything go under the hammer, including a tiny piece of collectible glass that sold for £8,000.

‘He will be missed’: Bruce Peirson, who worked at Durrants auction houses in Beccles since 1964, has died aged 86
– Credit: Nick Butcher

Anna Paulding, the auction house manager, said: ‘He had so many wonderful threads about the old days, auctions of cattle, farm machinery and anything and everything, in his day of ‘trolley’ collecting and delivering items to and from auction houses.

“In fact, sometimes it seemed like people came to see it as much as the antiques.”

As a young man, Mr Peirson left the countryside to spend time in London driving the famous red Routemaster buses through its centre. And while he was enjoying it, he discovered that city life was not for him and returned home to help the family on their small property.

He was well known as a local fountain of knowledge for the surrounding villages of Beccles and has seen many changes and faces in auction houses in his lifetime, including the introduction of online auctions.

Ms Paulding added: “But [he] took it all in his stride and always kept his offers literally under his cap.

“He was a kind, gentle man – ‘a good tof’ he might say – who recently told me that he had had a long and happy life and to me you can’t get any better than that.

“He had worked in auction houses for over 50 years and will be missed by so many.”

City man: Bruce Peirson was 'a fountain of knowledge' about Beccles and surrounding villages

City man: Bruce Peirson was ‘a fountain of knowledge’ about Beccles and surrounding villages
– Credit: Nick Butcher

Speaking to this newspaper in 2017, Mr Peirson said he had many fond memories of sales, adding that he had enjoyed his professional life and would not have altered it ‘even for the life of a king “.

Mr Peirson, of Ilketshall St Andrew, died suddenly at his home earlier this month.