The Peek Family

 Stephen George Peek b 1873 - d 23 January 1915

Wife - Isabella Son - Emmanuel Daughter - Hilda Daughter - Gladys Son - John Son - Walter Daughter - Dorothy
Census Year Copy Found Certificate Type Copy Found Associated Locations  
1881 Yes



Place of birth (No map yet)
1891 No



Place of marriage
1901 Yes





Extract from the Fishing Boat Agreement Register

The Sinking

The Sinking of the Labrador





Research Dates
23 Mar 06

23 March 2006
At the outset of this project, I was determined to try and remain as emotionless as possible, and just try to tell the family story as I saw it, warts and all where necessary.   The first member of the family who made me re-think that stance was my paternal great-grandmother, and now Stephen has done the same.    This is somewhat strange, as very little is known about him at this time, but what little facts there are fascinate me.   He belongs to those mysterious members of my mother's family, the sea-faring Peeks, of which there are a considerable number.   As a child my mum often told stories of uncles lost at sea whilst on fishing trips, but there were never any names.   At long last, my research has started to reveal those names, one of which is Stephen's.

The only event I have been able to find with any certainty relates to Stephen's death.   It was incredibly sad, and occurred fairly early on during the First World War.   The newspaper report, reproduced below with the kind permission of Paul Mantripp, indicates that the trawler Labrador was sunk by a mine, though later investigations that have been carried out indicate that the vessel may have been lost through enemy U-boat action.   There is a record at Kew that may give an account of the loss, its reference is MT 25/83, and at some stage in the future I hope to exam it to find out the facts behind the sinking.

Stephen's death was not the only loss the family suffered that day, for onboard, amongst the crew who are detailed below, was Stephen's own son, Emmanuel Stephen George Peek, working as a Trimmer.   Losing a husband must have been bad enough for wife Isabella, but losing a son too must have made the grief so much worse and it can only be imagined how Isabella must have felt. Towards the end of the year, in November, she was also to lose her father-in-law, also Emmanuel, so the year must have been thoroughly miserable for her.

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1881 Census
This census finds both Stephen and elder sister Mary Ann away from parents Emmanuel and Mary Ann.   They were staying with their widowed grandmother Naomi at 9 Barn Lane, Pakefield.

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1901 Census

In the 1901 census, Stephen is aged 28 and married to Isabella, who is aged 27.   The surname has been changed to Peak, possibly through an error made by the census enumerator.   Stephen is shown as a fisherman, and is the only person in the house with an occupation, other than their servant Alice Fulcher, aged 29, from Lowestoft.   In the house with them were children Emanuel aged 3, Hilda 1, and Ernest, 5 months.

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Fishing Boat Agreement Register
Shown below is an extract from the Fishing Boat Agreement Register held in the County Record Office, Lowestoft.   The Register details Stephen's career and the boats upon which he served.

At the age of 15 years, Stephen served as the Cook on the Damatia, for the period 1890-91. The following season, 1891-92, aged 17, Stephen moved on to the Sir A Gooch as 4th Hand. The next season, 1892-93, saw him as a Deckhand on the Renovation at age 18. At age 20, he moved on to the Searcher as 3rd Hand for the season of 1893-94. He then moved on to the Excelsior as 3rd Hand for the season 1894-95. There appears to be no information concerning the 1895-96 season, but 1896-97 sees him back on the Excelsior, this time as Mate. Stephen keeps the rank of Mate for the period 1897-1900 on the Welcome, 1900-01 on the May Queen and 1902 on the Billie and Ethel. At the age of 28 Stephen becomes Skipper, firstly on the Excel for the season of 1903-04, then the Narcissus fror 1905, and the Young Bert for the years 1905-13, although it appears he also skippered the Hope in the 1910-11 season.

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The sinking of the Steam Trawler Labrador.
The picture of the Labrador, and all of the related information including the newspaper report, has been reproduced with the very kind permission of Paul Mantripp, webmaster of the Pakefield website at   I am extremely grateful for his permission to use this information.

Vessel Details

Crew Details

Date: 1912-1915
Built in:
1894, Cook, Welton or Gemmell, Hull
Ship Type:
Iron Steam Trawler
57.22 Tons (139.20), Dimensions 99.0 x 30.5 x 11.0
35 HP (300 I.H.P.) engine by Amos & Smith, Hull
1912 Owned by N. Robbens
1914 January, tonnage increased to 58.88 (139.20)
1914 March, tonnage increased to 62.02 (132.80)
1915 Owned by W.M. Robbens & Sons Ltd.
Stephen PEEK Skipper
Henry George ADAMS
.   Age 34, Mate.   Son of Henry George Adams and the late Mrs. Adams; husband of Ruth Maria Scott (formerly Adams), of 9, St. George's Rd., South Lowestoft. Born at Pakefield
Chief Engineer
Third Hand
Deck Hand
Samuel James. MARTIN
Age 53, Cook/Steward, Born at Pakefield, Husband of Alice Sophia MARTIN, and father of 8 children.
Stephen PEEK
(Son of the Skipper) Trimmer ( full name Emmanuel Stephen George PEEK)

Newspaper Article taken from the front page of "The Lowestoft Journal and Suffolk County Record, Saturday, February 13, 1915".




For some days there had been grave fears for the safety of the Lowestoft steam trawler "Labrador", a smart iron vessel of 62 tons register, owned by Mr. W. Robbens of Lowestoft. She left Lowestoft for the fishing grounds on January 23rd, and was expected back on Sunday, the 31st., in order to have her catch ready for Monday market. She did not turn up, however, and as the days went by it became almost certain that she had been lost. Confirmation of the sad surmise came to hand on Monday when the steam trawler "Kestrel", of Grimsby returned to that port, and the skipper stated that while fishing in the North Sea, the body of a man was brought up in the trawl. There were no papers on the body, which was described as that of a middle aged man of about 5ft. 10in. high, with fair complexion, sandy hair and a moustache. On the left forearm was tattooed, Welcome, LT. 713." This description tallies with that of the skipper of the "Labrador", Stephen Peek, of Lorne Road, Kirkley, who was known to have his left arm tatooed as stated. How the "Labrador" met her fate is not known. She was sighted some four or five days after leaving harbour, but since then she had not been seen and no traces of the wreckage have been found. The assumption is that she was mined, as a strong vessel such as she was would scarcely founder owing to stress of weather, and if there had been a collision news would have come to hand. In view of the finding of the skipper's body the vessel has now been officially posted as missing. She carried a crew of eight hands, namely, Stephen Peek, the skipper (married); George Adams, mate (married), St. George's Road, Pakefield; John Newstead, chief engineer (married), 95 Allison Road, Yarmouth; Sparks, second engineer (married), Lorne Road, Kirkley; Felix Franklin, third hand (married), 13 Stanford Street, Lowestoft; William Rushmere, deck hand (single), Pakefield; Stephen Peek, trimmer (son of the skipper); and George Martin, steward (married), St. George's Road, Pakefield.

The fullest sympathy will go out to those who have been bereaved through this latest of the disasters that have overtaken Lowestoft vessels during the past seven or eight months.

Memorial at the Church of St Margaret and All Saints, Pakefield

Alan Peak has provided information, in turn passed to him by Maureen Peek, of a memorial at the Church of St Margaret and All Saints, Pakefield.    The memorial states:

John Peek, Trawlermaster Aberdeen, erected this in memory of his father Emmanuel Peek who died 9th November 1915 aged 67.   Also his brother Stephen George Peek aged 42 and his nephew Emmanuel Stephen George Peek aged 17 years 7 months, both of whom were lost from the S T Labrador LT1165 January 1915.

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