As a lecturer in tourism at Manchester Metropolitan University, my father, Peter Hall, showed students at the university’s Hollings campus and on field studies in areas as diverse as the Peak District, Snowdonia and Budapest the benefits and limits of sustainable tourism. Peter, who has died aged 78, also enjoyed a long association with the Open University as a lecturer in the arts.
He began his academic career in the general studies department at what was then Hollings College, teaching industrial and interpersonal communications skills. He had been recruited from Granada Television, where he worked as a researcher, scriptwriter and editor on both factual programmes and dramas such as Coronation Street.
Son of Elizabeth (nee Jackson) and Robert Bruce, Peter was born in Kingston upon Thames, which was then in Surrey. His father, a manager for the travel company Thomas Cook, left for South Africa when Peter was two, and he and his siblings, John and Wendy, were raised in Nottingham by his mother’s family, and took her surname. At High Pavement school in Nottingham, Peter developed a keen interest in jazz, and picked up his first drumsticks. Members of his various bands included, on bass, his school friend John Bird, the comic actor, who says of that time: “We sometimes tried to play jazz, though the only chord sequence I ever learnt was How High the Moon, which I stuck to, whatever Pete was playing.”
After national service, Peter enrolled at Leeds University, where he became editor of the college newspaper Union News and was voted president of the students’ union. He successfully campaigned to make this position and other senior union posts sabbatical roles, and the practice was adopted throughout British universities.
He was a contestant on the first episode of University Challenge, in a team that won through to the semifinals.
At Leeds he met his future wife, Rosemary Jones; he and “Jo” married in 1965 and went on to have three sons. They put down roots in south Manchester, where he single-handedly restored a derelict cottage as the family home.
He retained a strong identification with the north of England and its values. At Hollings, he was an active member of his union, Natfhe. His colleagues regarded him as a man of principle – instinctively just – but also one with a mischievous sense of humour. He had firm views on social justice in general, as well as the environment – global warming was a topic in our family home many years before it was on the lips of politicians. He passed on his views and values to his sons.
A man of wide knowledge and interests, for many years he taught the Introduction to the Arts course for the Open University.
Jo died in 1994. Peter is survived by my brothers, Andy and Jamie, and me.
You can read it here too, at the Guardian.