We say farewell to a man who WAS Newhaven.

By Andy Gilbert

Photo:Peter Bailey at one of Our Newhaven's earliest outside events at Newhaven Library in 2007

Peter Bailey at one of Our Newhaven's earliest outside events at Newhaven Library in 2007

Sylvia Woolford

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.

The funeral is at St Michaels Church, Newhaven on 24th July at 11.30. I will attend on behalf of my family and Our Newhaven.

Andy Gilbert

You can read a little more about Peter here:

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 08/07/2017.
Comments about this page

I first met Peter at the Museum in 2005 when I was on my teacher training and working at Denton Primary. I had been amazed that a lot of the students and the teachers had never been to the Museum so endeavoured to take them there. To do so I approached Peter and asked if I could compose a history trail around the Museum, to which he was delighted to help. We brought all the year group to the Museum and Peter was amazing with them, informative and fun, engaging and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed getting to know him. We did end up meeting and working together again a few years later, when I set up this project, Our Newhaven, he was of course invited to be part of it. He had been suspicious of it at first, not keen to publish his photos on the internet. But he always did oblige and I spent many hours with the charming and somewhat flirty Peter! He was an absolute joy to spend time with. He shared stories of his days as a policeman and his early years when he arrived in Newhaven aged 8 years old, his mum's early death at the Convent and how at the time he was only 8 he blamed them for it. 

I found Peter a remarkable man, an inspiration of local knowledge, a custodian of Newhaven history. I feel so blessed to have known him.

Rest in peace dear Peter Bailey.

By Jackie Blackwell
On 24/07/2017

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