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  Bob Hyslop (JRGS 1953-60) notes sad passing of Peter Grey (1942-2022)...

We met when I sat on the corner-window seat and he sat just in front in the form-room designated for 1R (Mr. Richards aka "Bon"). It was September 1953 and John Ruskin Grammar School had two more years to wait before shifting up to Shirley Hills (closer to Pete and further for me.) Our friendship tightened when our ghoulish brains discovered we overlooked the site of the murder of a policeman during a botched burglary the previous November. It had become notorious as the actual killer, Christopher Craig (aged 16), escaped the death penalty - then set at 18 - while Derek Bentley (aged 19) was hang [for the murder of police constable Sidney Miles], despite being illiterate with limited abilities. Argument over the justice handed out still continues. [ML adds: On November 2, 1952, Bentley and Craig on attempted to rob a warehouse of Barlow and Parker confectionery located on Tamworth Road, Croydon, close to the former JRGS site.]
   Anyway, that coincidence set up the friendship which flourished with the rivalry in and passion for certain subjects, especially History. I was useless at Art while Pete was very good -despite a preference for producing tiny drawings in the corners of blank sheets of paper. Naturally, friendship embraced other pupils (Terry Procter being the other point in a triangle) and companionship varied with subject matter. Pete hated sport (I didn’t) and he loved classical music while I preferred Jazz -aka "swamp music" (Pete).
   We were all among the original 15 who founded the 15 Society, which lasted far longer than we’d expected. Did we all love The Goons? I don’t recall. But we spent summer 1959 helping excavations at Lullingstone Villa - we had "Roman Britain" as 50% of Advanced-Level History - and all marched from Aldermaston to avoid Nuclear War, while all studying for different degrees at London University. And then the links spread out with limited contact exchanging limited content buttressed by occasional meetings.
   Pete, with a good degree in Economic History, soon found a firm post at Bedford College of Education where he produced a Study of Bedford Workhouse and built up a monster collection of factual books with strong evidence of interest in the American Civil War, workhouses, railway canals, The British Empire and the Life and Times of the last 300 years – but not the 21st Century.
   He also had a small collection of antiques, including a wind-up cylinder player, a wind-up gramophone and a collection of book-plates.
   His son had emigrated to Sweden and produced a family that re-appeared occasionally. After 13 years teaching at the same college, Pete retired in 1992 and settled down -with his partner, Mavis – in Felixstowe, where he soon acquired a circle of friends. However. our youthful links had been squeezed into occasional phone-calls and letters. I was not surprised to hear that Pete virtually avoided computers, never used email and knew little of what has been fascinating consumers for the last 25 years.
  A year ago Mavis wrote to tell me that Pete had suffered two bad falls that had so damaged his brain as to almost erase any normal contact with the world. But when I heard of his death on 31 August, I still cried.

Bob Hyslop, Chichester, West Sussex; September 2022 Email


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