Pearl is the daughter of Cyril Bence, the former Labour Party Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire. She was educated at St Anne's College, Oxford, going up in 1946 and gaining a Second-Class degree in Modern History. She subsequently gained a D.Phil. for her thesis, supervised by Christopher Hill, on London and the outbreak of the Puritan Revolution 1625-1643. This was published in revised form by the Oxford University Press in 1961.
In 1949, she married Morris Pearl, with whom she had a daughter, Sara.
Between 1965 and 1968, Pearl was a Lecturer in History at Somerville College, Oxford. Having been offered a Fellowship at Somerville provided she resided in Oxford on a full-time basis, she moved to University College, London, as Reader in London History later holding a chair in the same subject. Adam Sisman's biography of Hugh Trevor-Roper mentions her contacts with Trevor-Roper.
- London And The Outbreak Of The Puritan Revolution. City Government And National Politics, 1625-43, Oxford University Press, 1961, ISBN 0-19-821285-2
- The London Journal, A Review of Metropolitan Society Past and Present (editor), Longmans 1975
Dame Rosemary Murray
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