The Hearl Papers

Trevor Hearl
His Background
His Biography

Articles by Subject
Arts & Crafts
Bibliography, Book, Film etc. Reviews
Crime & Behaviour
Flora & Fauna
Geology & Geographic
Images & Photography
Island Sites & Buildings
Philatelic & Numismatic
Ships & Shipping
Social/Political/Journalistic Commentary

Articles not included on this site

Trevor W. Hearl (by AHS)

Arts & Crafts

Bibliography & Book, Film etc. Reviews
  Commerce Crime & Behaviour
  Flora & Fauna Geology & Geographic
  History Images & Photography
  Island Sites & Buildings
  Philatelic & Numismatic
Social/Political/Journalistic Commentary Scientific
  Ships & Shipping

Trevor Hearl first visited St Helena in 1969 as an Educator Advisor accompanied by another colleague from St Mary's College, Cheltenham. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cheltenham - St Helena Link whereby advisors went to St Helena to support the island’s programme of teacher education and training and island teachers were trained at Cheltenham College. This soon developed into an official St Helena government-sponsored organisation known as the St Helena Link between St Helena’s Education Department and Cheltenham Colleges of St Mary and St Paul, together with the University of Bristol School of Education. The Link also helped the island acquire essential educational equipment.

Following his first visit, Hearl became absorbed in both the historic and present-day island, rapidly becoming the leading authority on the subject of St Helena, its people, history and present-day politics. Over a  four-decade period, he collected virtually every written, photographic, visual and other work produced on or about St Helena. He also contributed greatly to the island’s education system, personally contributing many of his books to the secondary school and public library. In recognition of this, the Library at Prince Andrew School was named ‘The Trevor Hearl Library’.

Beyond St Helena, he was interested in local history and also the historical impact of military education on the wider school curriculum, especially with respect to the East India Company’s schooling.

Regarding St Helena, he always approached the subject as an educationalist with the aim of extending knowledge about the historic and present-day island, not only to inform specialist scholars but also to raise awareness of the island amongst the general public. This was his primary motivation when in 1990 he personally funded the re-publication of the Philip Gosse "standard history" (St Helena, 1502-1938). This was already somewhat out of date and included considerable inaccuracies, but still, he believed the book provided a highly readable introduction to the island. He immersed himself in the subject of St Helena and impressed all who had contact with him at the depth of his encyclopaedic knowledge of the island, its people and its history, limited only by his reluctance to enter the world of modern technology such as the internet. 

In addition to writing a long series of articles on the subject of St Helena and the other mid-Atlantic islands, he generously devoted much of his time in helping others, not only specialist historians but many others, of whom the most common were those asking for help in tracing their St Helenian ancestors. He would talk and help anyone with even the most embryonic interest in the subject. His responses often arrived the next day by first class post, usually as a letter typed with his trusty typewriter and a bundle of photocopies of sections of his extensive library. He would review newly published books with an eagle eye and could sometimes be unforgiving of errors or misconceptions. Given his vast knowledge on the subject, many would-be authors forwarded their texts to him to verify the factual content and not only received a detailed expert response from him but also a critique of their English grammar and presentation - at heart, he was always the schoolmaster who marked homework with a red pen.

Together with Dr Terry Spens, he was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Friends of St Helena Society in 1988. A difference between these founders ultimately emerged over the question of the Society's mission to raise and send funds to the island. He was hostile towards the St Helena Government, believing the economy was run unproductively with funds badly spent. As such, he believed the funding of social projects merely encouraged the inadequacies of the island’s administration. He argued the main priority was to educate, improving the general level of knowledge about St Helena, especially in Britain. As such, he believed the Society should act as a publishing conduit to publicise the island’s unique history and its heritage through to the present day. In the long term, it can be seen that he won the argument because that has indeed largely been the approach followed by the Society in recent years. 

Trevor William Hearl was born on 22 October 1924 to William and Ida Hearl née Midlane in the Alverstoke registration district, Hampshire, his father being later employed as a superintendent at a life assurance company in Poole.

Hearl began his working life at the age of 17 as a junior reporter for the Poole and East Dorset Herald. When enlisted into wartime military service, he joined the 13th Air Formation Signals Regiment. This provided communications support to the First Canadian Army Holland as his regiment progressively moved forward through Normandy, Belgium, and Holland. Operating as a teleprinter operator he was trained in the use of Morse code. His regiment was integrated into the 11th Air Formation Signals Regiment, and Hearl was assigned to work in an administrative and educational capacity. He also co-edited an RAF newspaper during the last six months of the war.

Hearl met Elisabeth E. Bauermeister after the Armistice at Goodwood Barracks at Celle, near Hannover where they worked at adjoining offices, with Elisabeth supervising female civilians working with the regiment. They eventually married in early 1956 in London.
First entering the teaching profession as a secondary modern schoolteacher Hearl was appointed senior lecturer in the history of education at St Paul's College, Cheltenham. He first visited St Helena as an education advisor in 1969 and was instrumental in setting up the St Helena Link between St Helena’s Education Department and Cheltenham Colleges of St Mary and St Paul.

In 1966 he published a biographical study of William Barnes, the Schoolmaster and in the 1970s several papers relating to the impact of military education on the school curriculum. In 1985 he published a review of The Gentleman’s Magazine as a historical source in the 19th century.

Retiring in 1989, he devoted the rest of his life to academic studies. In 1990 he re-published, at his own expense, Philip Gosse’s history of the island (St Helena, 1502-1938).

He died aged 82 at his Cheltenham home on 24 January 2007. 

Prior to his death, he had ensured that all his collected research papers would be sent to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. A full list of these records can be found HERE.

Articles not Included on this Site
Trevor Hearl wrote many articles that are not listed as downloadable PDF files on this page. They fall into two categories - articles already published by the Friends of St Helena in the book St Helena Britannica and those published by St Helena Link.

Articles separately published by the Society in St Helena Britannica
St Helena Britannica: Studies in South Atlantic Island History, edited by A. H. Schulenburg (London: Society of Friends of St Helena, 2013) is available for purchase from Ian Mathieson MILES APART, Callender House, 90, Callender Street, Ramsbottom, Lancs BL0 9DU, UK. +44(0)1706 826467 Email: It contains the following articles:

  • The Age of Discovery and St Helena’s ‘Man in the Moon’ 
  • The Troubles of a 17th Century Surgeon: Francis Moore of St Helena 
  • St Helena’s Forgotten Frenchmen: The Huguenot Wine Project 
  • A Fortress Image: The Lambert-Scott Portrait and its Plagiarists 
  • East Indiamen via St Helena
  • St Helena’s Pioneer Telegraph System
  • The Southern Whale Fishery: St Helena Rendezvous, 1780-1930 
  • How Secure was St Helena in 1815?
  • Sir Hudson’s Headache: The Governor, The Admiral, and Supplies for St Helena 
  • ‘Derby Days’ at Deadwood: Highlights of Horse Racing at St Helena 
  • A Curious Coincidence?: Catherine Younghusband and the Obins Memorial 
  • Saving Napoleon’s Soul at St Helena: “What Happened at Mason’s Stock House” 
  • Saul Solomon of St Helena, 1776-1852
  • Richard Prince/Samuel Hopewell & Co., St Helena Merchants 
  • Darwin’s Island
  • St Helena’s Social Revolution, 1834-1869: The Evidence of the Brooke-Scott Letters 
  • The Melliss Family and the Oakbank Letters 
  • Consuls and Consular Agents at St Helena 
  • Longwood Observatory 
  • Commodore Perry at St Helena in 1853 
  • Baptist Pioneers of St Helena 
  • St Paul’s Cathedral, St Helena: An Architectural Footnote 
  • Some ‘Anglo-Indian’ and Other Memorials at St Helena 
  • Insects and Origins 
  • Forlorn Fortress 
  • St Helena’s Pioneer Photographer: John Isaac Lilley 
  • The Rise and Fall of James Francis Homagee, 1846-1919 
  • When Penal Reform was on Trial at St Helena 
  • St Helena as a Coaling Station: A Summary of Evidence 
  • In Search of the St Helena Magazine 
Articles separately published by St Helena Link
Excluding all articles separately published by Friends of St Helena (Wirebird magazine), St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society (St Helena Chronicle) and in the book St Helena Britannica, Trevor Hearl also published the following papers with St Helena Link:
  • Reference List of Material on St Helena [frequent issues 1984-91 as St Helena & S. Atlantic Books in Print) (February 1971). 
  • Local [St Helena] Record Resources for Local Study (October 1971). 
  • St James's Churchyard Memorial Stones (1971) [revised with Appendix Saul Solomon 1776-1852 (1987)]. 
  • A Week-end at St Helena in 1876: The Diary of Marion Gorrie (1985) [revised with additional notes (1987)]. 
  • The Royal Artillery in Defence of St Helena (November 1986). 
  • St Helena in 1937: Photographs by Philip Gosse (February 1987) [revised as Photographs by Philip Gosse: St Helena 50 Years Ago [catalogue] (March 1987)]. 
  • The Illustration in Jacksons St Helena (1903) (September 1987). 
  • St Helena Resources in UK Libraries (October 1988). 
  •  “My Dear Daughter …”: Selections from the St Helena Reminiscences of George Brooks Bennett, 1816-1851 (1989). 
  • St Helena Landowners in 1836 (June 1989). 
  • Selections from the St Helena Reminiscences of George Brooks Bennett, 1816-1851 [from the survey by G.W. Melliss] (June 1989). 
  • The Mysterious Melliss's (January 1990). 
  • St Helena Coffee Revives! (February 1990). 
  • St Helenas 16th Century Spaceman! (February 1990). 
  • St Helenas Historic Charters: A Cause for Concern (August 1990). 
  • The Secrets of Surgeon Moore: Some Early St Helena Letters, 1678-1703 (1990). 
  • St Helenas Literary Legacy to the Commonwealth: A Trial Survey (October 1990). 
  • The Laws and Constitutions for the Island of St Helena, 1682 (November 1991). 
  • Views in St Helena from 22 Lithographic Plates by J. Graham, c.1830 (August 1992). 
  • The Huguenots of St Helena (February 1993). 
  • A Whaling Surgeon at St Helena in 1836: The Botanical Collection of Frederick Debell Bennett, with an Account of St Helena in 1834 by Surgeon George Bennett (n.d., c.1993). 
  • St Helenas Mayflower: The Charles Indiaman (1966) and Commander Smiths Commission (St Helena Link, typescript leaflet, June 1994). 
  • St Helena as a Coaling Station: A Summary of Evidence (June 1995). 
  • St Helenas Early Baptists: A Sesquicentennial Survey (18 August 1995). 
  • Censorship St Helena Style (January 1996). 
  • St Pauls Cathedral, St Helena: An Architectural Footnote (June 1997). 
  • Maldivia: A Faded Legacy (31 October 1997). 
  • Richard Price/Samuel Hopwell & Co., St Helena Merchants (5 October 1998). 
  • Saving Napoleons Soul at St Helena: “What Happened at Masons Stock House” (March 2000). 
  •  “Plus Ça Change …”: Echoes of Governor Sterndale (3 March 2001). 
  • What's in a Name?: Why St Helena Needs a Family History Society (20 March 2001).