It is with great sadness that I heard last week of the passing of Peter Bailey, MBE, at the grand old age of 100.
It was my good fortune to know Peter for as long as I can remember, having been introduced to him by my father when I was still a very young boy.
In later years, we became friends through our mutual interest in just about anything to do with Newhaven’s harbour and its shipping. I was a regular visitor to Newhaven Museum and, along with my father, was able to give him quite a few photos of the tug Meeching and the ferries. One even appeared in his excellent book about the Newhaven-Dieppe service and its ships.
When the Our Newhaven website was set up ten years ago, Peter was very supportive and encouraging, and he attended many of the early events hosted by the fledgling group. He was very generous as curator of the museum in allowing us to use photos from their considerable archives to get us up and running and later, if we needed a photo from the museum to help illustrate an Our Newhaven web page, the answer was always a smiling “Yes, do you really need to ask?” My reply was always “Thanks, but I’ll still ask every time” - even though I knew what the answer would be.
Many is the time that I’d visit him at the museum, taking with me a blurry old image or postcard for identification. He’d take a close look and then tell me exactly what it showed and that would always be followed up with “I’ll tell you a story about...” or “Did you know that...” And for the next ten minutes he would regale me with a wonderful story or two – I just wish I could remember half of them!
His knowledge of the town and its people was unparalleled, to many people he was Newhaven Museum and to some he was simply Newhaven. RIP Peter, you will be greatly missed.