Was mystery Sidcup children's home resident abused?

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News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A Bexleyheath pensioner is unraveling the dark past of his late brother - a victim of abuse at Sidcup children's home, The Hollies.

Frederick John Pearce was sent from his happy family home in Tottenham to The Hollies on Burnt Oak Lane in the 1940s.

His brother, 77-year-old Peter Pearce of Martin Dene, Bexleyheath has no idea why his brother was put into care.

Peter was not taken in to care himself and remembers a 'very happy childhood' where his father's life 'evolved around his children.'

When the confused sibling read News Shopper's article on investigations into historical allegations of abuse at the home, which closed in 1989, it became clear to him why his brother had 'blanked his time there out of his memory.'

Peter said: "He came to visit and there was a Hollies reunion. We just drove into the gates and he started shaking uncontrollably and burst into tears, when we asked what was going on he said, 'I just cant talk about it.'

"What he couldn't understand was why so many people were praising their time at the Hollies.

"We thought that times must have changed since he'd been there but he read one book by a woman that talked about the abuse and it upset him so much he said he just couldn't finish it and he burnt it."

The truth became more obscured when Peter and his wife Jean attempted to get hold of Frederick's records from Southwark Council.

News Shopper:

Mr Pearce said: "It's like he was never there but he could describe the building, he could describe the cinema that was across the road and when we went to the reunion he pointed out the houses and said, 'there's a swimming pool just around that corner."

Frederick was later sent to live with a family in Wales before moving to Manchester where he lived until his death in 2011.

A spokesman from Southwark Council said: "We have records from the Hollies from 1975 when we took over, before then it was run by London County Council."

At the time of going to press News Shopper had contacted the London Metropolitan Archives in attempt to track down Frederick's records.

Former Hollies' residents can call a helpline set up by the NSPCC on 0808 800 500 or e-mail help@nspcc.org.uk

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