Peter founded the Rosliston Astronomy Group in October 1999.
Peter was born in Bourneville, Birmingham, and as a child he was always fascinated with the night sky. His father bought him his first telescope when he was still very young, and showed him the Moon and the constellations - he was ‘hooked’. Growing up before and during WWll, light pollution was not an issue - the stars in Peter’s skies were many, and bright.
Peter was a clever child, passed his Eleven Plus, and attended The George Dixon Grammar School. However, Peter suffered with dyslexia, and although he was very successful in the Sciences, reading lengthy books and producing the written word was a struggle. As a result he was unable to pass the English Literature and Language elements and therefore, couldn’t be awarded his Matriculation Certificate to enter Higher Education. Consequently, Peter left school at sixteen, and became an Apprentice at GEC (General Electric Company). Eventually he became a Technical Engineer, married Ann, and together they nurtured their family of five children.
Image credited to Damian Briden
He was a quiet personality, but had an excellent sense of humour. Peter was generous, especially when introducing people to astronomy. In the early days of RAG he frequently funded speakers personally.
He also had a talent in being able to bring the best out in people. Some of these people skills may have come from his roots - recent excavations for HS2 in the historic ‘Back-to-Back’ housing area of Birmingham have unearthed remains of an ancestor, Henry Bolas, who could well have been a ‘Peaky Blinder’ !!
Peter never lost his desire for study, and his fascination with Astronomy. As soon as he was old enough he joined the Birmingham Astronomical Society (BAS), and regularly attended their lectures at the Midland Institute on his way home from work.
He had an enquiring mind which he maintained throughout his life. He never lost the memories of what it had been like as a young scholar, and the struggles he had had to overcome. As a young man growing into adulthood he was committed to helping and encouraging others in their ‘learning’ journeys. While in the BAS he advised them in the building of two Observatories, one for the BAS, and the other on the site of Edgbaston Girls’ High School, jointly used by the BAS and the school. Sadly both observatories were later destroyed by vandals.
He was very interested in the concept of the Camera Obscura, and just before his sudden death in 2013 he was working on plans to build one.
Peter was responsible for making Rosliston Astronomy Group what it is today - a friendly group of people of all ages and backgrounds, eager to share their knowledge, enthusiastic about Astronomy in its many facets, and constantly seeking out new avenues of study.
Our Observatory, opened on 14th March, 2020, is dedicated to Peter.