Main items in this issue:

Theatre visits                                                Christmas party                                  Obituaries






®           November - Theatre Royal visit           ®



Our first suggestion for the new academic year of a possible Suss-Ex theatre trip is David Hare’s The Judas kiss, starring film actor Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde and Freddie Fox as Bosie – so tickets are a little more expensive than usual  (The Guardian’s reviewer said ‘Rupert Everett gives the performance of his career in one of the most convincing portraits of Wilde.’)  We can get a group reduction on the price of tickets for the performances listed if at least ten people want to go.  With the group discount, tickets cost £31.00 for evenings; the matinee is £16, but said to be selling out fast. 


The play is on for the week starting November 5.  If you are interested, please let Jennifer Platt know by October 12 (preferably by email to - or phone 01273 555025, internal post to Freeman Centre, or 98 Beaconsfield Villas, Brighton BN1 6HE).  A booking needs to be made promptly to ensure that tickets are available, and that means a very tight deadline this time.  (Once a booking is made, your money has to be sent in time for the total bill to be paid in advance; send none until a booking is confirmed.)  Dinner together beforehand will be booked at Carluccio’s for those who want it; tea is suggested after a matinee.

Please use the slip on the last page: just mark all days/times which would be OK, number those when you are free in order of preference, and indicate the number of tickets wanted and whether you would like to join dinner before (evening) or tea after (matinee).  You will be notified of the outcome very soon after October 12.




NovemberNew Venture Theatre visit



Arthur Miller’s The price is on at the New Venture Theatre, Brighton, in mid November.  If you would like to be part of a possible Suss-Ex group going on Sunday 11 November at 2.30 p.m. or Tuesday 13 November at 7.45 p.m., please let Adrian Peasgood know (;  01273 508620;  14 Harrington Villas, Brighton BN1 6RG) by 19 October, indicating any preference for date.  The cost will be £9 per seat or £8 for any NVT members;  please note that the production will be in NVT’s studio theatre, a fringe style venue. 

The Guardian wrote of the play:  ‘A taut, intricate, beautifully crafted piece of writing.’

The New York Times critic found it ‘one of the most engrossing and entertaining plays he has ever written’, but ended his review thus:  ‘Go expecting to see a play and perhaps The price might disappoint you. Go expecting a great evening in the theater, and it does, I think, emphatically deliver the goods’



Future programme


11 December 2012    The annual Christmas party in the Meeting House, jointly with USPAS members.  Details of this lunchtime event will be emailed later.  If you do not have email, but would like to receive the information, please contact Sue Bullock (01273 682133;  104 Bonchurch Road, Brighton BN2 3PH)





Recent events       


Visits to the Theatre Royal for Dandy Dick, and to the New Venture Theatre for Medea.

Visit to the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, for a guided tour of this new art gallery, followed by afternoon tea.






Hellmut Otto Pappe 1907–1998


Hellmut Otto Pappe was born on 29 January 1907 at Leignitz, the Silesian town that was at the time a Prussian province (Province of Lower Silesia), but which after 1945 became part of south-western Poland (Legnica).  Pappe’s father Arthur was a manufacturer in the city.  Pappe was educated at the universities of Freiburg im Breisgau, Geneva, Breslau and the Sorbonne.  From 1929 Pappe began to take state examinations in law and in 1934 he was awarded the degree ‘juris utriusque doctor’ (doctor of canon and civil law); his thesis dealt with the history of marriage law.  Between 1931 and 1933 Pappe was Assistant in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences at Breslau.  He lost his post and saw his doctoral thesis pulped because of his Jewish origins and opposition to the Nazi Party.

Pappe suffered from bouts of asthma and was regularly incapacitated.  Despite this he continued to give lectures and worked on a book on the history of marriage law in medieval times; he also wrote a ‘substantial part’ of the Jewish Aid Association’s publication on the United States of America.  In December 1936 he married Vera Krieg, who had completed a PhD on the subject of Goethe’s love poetry.  In May 1938 he travelled to Davos in Switzerland for the climate.  In August 1939 he left Europe, Vera having obtained a post teaching the children of a sheep-farmer at Irish Creek Station outside Tekapo in New Zealand.  The Pappes lost everything during the journey.

The arrival of the Pappes in New Zealand was fortuitous, however, because the sheep-farmer in question was Charles William Fielden (Bill) Hamilton.  Hamilton was a gifted engineer, already holder of the Australian land-speed record, and about to launch a company that was to become C. W. F. Hamilton and Co.  In the 1940s it grew to become one of the largest engineering works in the country, producing munitions and earth-moving equipment.  Pappe said that because he was one of the few men in the area unable to fight in the war it was natural for him to become involved in running the Hamilton business, and he did so until 1961.  Pappe’s particular contribution was the export division, and he worked for the company from Christchurch after 1950.  Due to his contact with Hamilton and Co. Pappe is mentioned in the history of the jet speed-boat, which Hamilton invented.

In the early 1950s Pappe returned to academic work, studying John Stuart Mill and becoming involved in research at the Australian National University at Canberra.  Travelling to Europe he began to work on Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde de Sismondi, the Genevan historian and political economist.  In the early 1960s he met Asa Briggs at ANU and in consequence was offered a lectureship in Sociology at Sussex.  Pappe accepted and moved with Vera to Brighton in 1964.  At Sussex, in addition to teaching sociology, he was among the founders of the interdisciplinary programme in intellectual history, with Michael Moran, Donald Winch, John Burrow and James Shiel.  Of Pappe’s teaching little is known.  He supervised at least one doctoral thesis, generously allowed every person employed by the University Library to nominate a book for the library that he then purchased, and remained close to the Briggs family and to his nephews.  He was good friends with the eminent Swiss scholar Jean Starobinski and corresponded with Isaiah Berlin among others.  Pappe retired from teaching at the age of 65 in 1972, his intention being to complete his work on Sismondi.  He was still working when he died in 1998.

Pappe was the first scholar, abetted by his wife Vera, to transcribe the diaries of Sismondi's mother and sister in their entirety, and also discovered forgotten early works of Sismondi's, including La République de Consigal and Tableau de l'agriculture Toscane.   Pappe published two books concerning Sismondi: Sismondi’s Weggenossen (Geneve Broche, 1963) and the first transcription of Sismondi’s report on the new French department incorporating Geneva, written between 1798 and 1800: ‘Statistique du Département du Leman’ (Droz, Suisse, 1971).  Pappe also published a short book, based on his work on Mill, entitled John Stuart Mill and the Harriet Taylor Myth (Melbourne University Press, 1960).  In addition he published about twenty shorter essays in numerous books and journals between the 1950s and early 1980s.  They range from comments on T.S. Eliot's poetry to Bentham's knowledge of ancient Greek thought and reflections on Nazi Germany.  A brief biography of Pappe was published in Paul Alter's Out of the Third Reich. Refugee Historians in Post-War Britain (The German Historical Institute London: Tauris, 1998); it includes a list of publications.

I will take the liberty of explaining my knowledge of Pappe.  In the late 1990s, when I had been a lecturer in intellectual history at Sussex for only a few years, my colleague Donald Winch suggested that I get in touch with Pappe on the grounds that I was interested in the political economist Jean-Baptiste Say’s links with Geneva, a subject Pappe was likely to be interested in.  I wrote to Pappe, now in his 90th year, and then met him.  He asked me to bring along some of my research papers. I did so, he read them, and it was only at a second meeting that he said that the work had been acceptable and that accordingly he would talk to me: in other words I had passed the initiation test.  Over the next couple of years and up to his death at Brighton in February 1998 I visited Pappe on a regular basis at his home in Brighton or at the nursing home where he lived for most of the time.  To an English person Pappe came across as somewhat Prussian; I was a pupil, he was the master; I was expected to take notes on things he said (like Goethe’s students had done, he once told me).  At the same time as being proud and initially distant he was also very warm and generous.  He explained to me many times that he had spent his life searching for a philosophy capable of combating the fascism that had destroyed his early life.  He found this philosophy in the writings of the Genevan historian and political economist Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde de Sismondi.  He had spent decades working towards an intellectual biography of Sismondi, spending many summers in the Sismondi archive at Pescia in Northern Italy.  Pappe’s wife Vera had served as a skilled research assistant, patiently transcribing Sismondi’s mother’s diary and numerous other manuscripts.  The sad fact was that Pappe never completed the biography that was being referred to as ‘forthcoming’ from the late 1960s onwards.  Few people believed it existed.  Pappe had voluminous files of notes and plans but seemingly nothing substantial.  In fact he had written several of the early chapters and one day revealed them to me, in two plastic bags full of paper.  The draft biography of Sismondi, and some additional articles, is now available on the Sussex Centre for Intellectual History website:

Pappe’s last wish was that his papers be held intact by the University of Sussex Library.  With the help of funds from his nephews Ilan and Michael Pappe these have been catalogued and can also be found at:

Richard Whatmore

May 2012






John and June Bather, 1936–2012

(A shortened version of the following obituary appeared in the University Bulletin on 14 September.)

Statistician John Bather, who worked at Sussex from 1967 to 2003, died on the 7th of September at the age of 76 having suffered from multiple myeloma.  His wife June died unexpectedly, only 7 days before him.

John and June married while John was an undergraduate, and celebrated their Golden Wedding in 2008.  John’s prime area of research interest was in the then new fields of dynamic programming and sequential analysis.  He collaborated first with Hermann Chernoff in Stanford, then later with other colleagues in North America and Europe, being awarded the Bolzano Medal in 1988 to mark his joint work with Czech scientists.  He guided eleven students to their PhDs, and published over fifty papers that ranged over different aspects of statistics, including control charts, optimal stopping, oil exploration models, clinical trials and auditing.  His writing was characterized by its thoroughness and completeness: he preferred to work ideas fully through, rather than publish a succession of shorter papers.  Towards the end of his career he worked jointly with Sussex engineer Derek Atherton on problems of data fusion and recursive estimation that arose in the control of aircraft.

June worked for many years in the Health Centre on the Sussex campus, and was a stalwart of the University’s Women’s Group during its active years.  They had three boys, of whom two survive them, and have given them six grandchildren.  John and June were inordinately proud of them.

John was promoted to Professor at Sussex in 1969, chaired Mathematics from 1974 to 1977, and sat on most major committees of the university.  Within the UK he chaired the Committee of Professors of Statistics, and gave valuable service to the Royal Statistical Society.  Under a national scheme in the 1970s to boost the general pool of UK statistics talent, he introduced a young cosmologist, John McNamara, to the modern ideas of Decision Theory, and, in the last outing he and June took together, was delighted to attend the Graduation Ceremony in July where McNamara was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science Degree.

John Haigh and Charles Goldie



Suss-Ex activities are organised by a steering committee, which currently comprises:   


Gordon Conway, Chair

Robert Benewick

Sue Bullock

Jackie Fuller

Charles Goldie


Arnold Goldman

Jennifer Platt

Steve Pavey

Adrian Peasgood

David Smith

Ken Wheeler


We are always seeking ideas for social occasions when we can meet former colleagues. Please let us have your suggestions or volunteer to join the committee. We meet once a term, when practicable immediately before a Suss-Ex event.






Expression of interest in visit to the Theatre Royal for The Judas kiss:  please return to Jennifer Platt as noted earlier in this Newsletter.



The Judas Kiss


Tues.Nov 6, 7.45

Weds.Nov 7, 7.45

Thurs.Nov 8, 2.30

Thurs.Nov.8, 7.45

Date & time OK?










How many?











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