NEWSLETTER No. 54, Autumn 2020

Edited by Adrian Peasgood







Thursday, 10 December, 7.00 pm – 8.00 pm


Suss-Ex virtual Christmas Quiz!


In place of our usual Christmas party, why not get together over a Christmas Quiz and test your knowledge about the University?


The Quiz will run on Zoom from 7.00 pm on Thursday 10 December, and our Host will be Suss-Ex Club’s new Chair, Professor Paul Tofts.  Participants can enter as teams or individuals, and in true festive spirit, there will be a prize for the winner!


If you would like to join in the festive fun, please pre-register by sending your email address, and your Zoom ID (so we know it’s you when joining on the night) to Rossana Dowsett:

 You will be emailed the Zoom ID and password, and a score-sheet, nearer the time.


In the meantime, stay well, and start brushing up on your knowledge of the University, past and present…


Rossana Dowsett









Friday 21 August: Bramber House   …   Summer picnic and blackberries!


It was “touch and go”… after glorious Mediterranean weather, the days leading up to our first Suss-Ex picnic were changeable and windy.  Although the morning was forecast to be very windy, the afternoon forecast looked promising so we screwed our courage to the sticking place, and went ahead.



And what a lovely time we had!  We were blessed with a glorious afternoon of sun and only a very light wind.  

We picnicked, we met new friends, and then we went on a scenic walk to the northwest side of campus,





returning laden with blackberries.

 A splendid afternoon was finished off with some sparkling wine,



and a general consensus to make this an annual event in the Suss-Ex calendar.

Rossana Dowsett








It is hoped to have a (Zoom) talk by Alexandra Loske in mid-January; details will follow when available.


It is not clear when arrangements can be made for the possible future events listed in Newsletters 52 and 53.  The steering group will try to take up opportunities as they arise; a (Zoom) talk on bees is an additional idea for exploration.  Meanwhile, it will, as usual, be pleased to receive programme suggestions from members.






Suss-Ex Club Facebook group growing membership!


Our Facebook page for ex-Sussex employees, launched in March this year, has been steadily increasing its membership – currently about 85 compared with 60 in August, including academic staff, administrative faculty, support and technical staff. 


We hope Facebook group members will post items that would be of interest to other members (or at least some of them) to make the page active. Any member can post – not just members of the committee.  We’d love to see your photos and memories and to learn what you’re doing in your retirement!  Do you have any photos that you could share of, for example, leaving parties or other School/Area events, or maybe photos of the activities you’ve had more time for since you stopped working full-time at Sussex?


Of course do join the Facebook page if you haven’t already.  It’s really easy!  People need to have a Facebook account to join, so if you don’t yet have one, just go to and create a new account with your name, email address and password.  (You can always add more details later if you want to.)  Then put “Suss-Ex Club” into the Facebook search box, select our page and click “+ Join Now”.  Because our page is a closed group, there are some questions to answer about when/where you worked at the University and also we ask you to confirm that you agree to the group rules, which are all about not posting promotions, being kind and courteous, and respecting everyone’s privacy.  You must answer the questions and agree to the group rules before we can approve membership.


Our Facebook page is here: but as it’s a private group non-members can’t see any posts until they’ve joined.  Information about forthcoming events will be posted on the page and you’ll probably get the information quicker that way than waiting for the next issue of this Newsletter!


Please also encourage your ex-Sussex colleagues to apply.  Word of mouth and personal encouragement are key to widening our membership, so your help is needed to spread the word to ex-employees and the part retired (current staff are not eligible for membership).


We hope to see you soon on Facebook!


Rossana Dowsett and Jackie Fuller









Sheila Ann Collier,

16 June, 1940 - 12 April, 2020


Sheila began work as a secretary in the Mathematics Division in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MAPS) in the mid-1970s and continued to support the mathematicians through various School restructurings until her retirement in 2000.  In the early days, faculty research papers were typed by secretaries on manual typewriters and over the years Sheila patiently and accurately reproduced probably hundreds of papers with complicated mathematical formulae, particularly for David Edmunds and the Analysis group, using a cumbersome machine which had the requisite symbols on a second keyboard, with what David describes as “a gear lever facilitating change from one keyboard to the other.  Sheila tamed this beast!”  Word processors and even more efficient solutions followed, which she much appreciated, although the equations didn’t get any easier.


Leaving party           Another leaving party


                      Charles Goldie, Sheila, Peter Bushell, at              Marion Purton, Christine Glasson,

                     her retirement party                                                 Sheila, Sue Bullock, Richard Chambers



She later went on to work with the Maths Exam Board and organised the production of all exam papers.  When the original MAPS was disbanded she also took on the role as secretary to the Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, first Peter Bushell and then Charles Goldie.


Sheila was a calm, modest person, extremely efficient, well respected and a friendly and supportive colleague.  David Edmunds remembers her as a wonderful secretary, whose work was of the highest quality.  Charles Goldie has said “I felt privileged to have someone like Sheila work for me, and hope that I lived up to what she expected”.  I’m sure all in Mathematics at the time would agree we were lucky to have her work with us and she will be greatly missed.


Sheila had a long association with Sussex.  She was married to Don Collier, the University’s first groundsman from the 1960s, continuing until his retirement.  Outside work and home she was a keen gardener and a member of the Lewes local league stoolball team for many years.


Sheila is survived by Don, her children Julie and Guy and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Sue Bullock








Stephen Prickett,

4 June, 1939 - 12 October, 2020



Stephen Prickett, Lecturer and then Reader in English in the old School of English and American Studies at Sussex from 1967 to 1982, died after a period of illness on 12 October.  A lively and stimulating colleague, he laid the foundations of his distinguished international career during his time at Sussex.  He served as chair of the English Subject Group before moving to Canberra as Professor of English at the Australian National University. 

Born in Sierra Leone, he grew up in Canterbury and read English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.  He then qualified as a teacher in Oxford and taught in Nigeria (1963–5) before returning to Cambridge to undertake a Ph.D.


His thesis appeared as Coleridge and Wordsworth: the Poetry of Growth in 1970, but it was not his first published book: that was a spritely detective story entitled Do it Yourself Doom (1962) which he wrote while learning to type, or so the story goes.  Other books soon followed in the Sussex years, notably Romanticism and Religion (1976) and Victorian Fantasy (1979).


His early work on Romantic poetry made him a natural and invaluable contributor to interdisciplinary School courses such as ‘The English Romantics and their Society’ and ‘Philosophy and Romanticism’, sharing the teaching with colleagues in other disciplines, and this experience led to his editing the volume on The Romantics (1981) in the interdisciplinary series The Contexts of English Literature published by Methuen.  The contributors represented not just English but History, History of Art, and Philosophy, and they were all teaching at Sussex.  The characteristically Sussex emphasis on interdisciplinarity stimulated research as well as teaching and Stephen was one of the mostly Sussex contributors to the pioneering Ways of Reading the Bible, edited by Michael Wadsworth (1981), which brought together colleagues in English, Philosophy, Politics, Religious Studies and Comparative Literature.


In a sense this helped to prepare the way for Stephen’s next major book, the acclaimed Words and the Word: Language, Poetics and Biblical Interpretation (1986), published after the move to Canberra.  He was appointed Regius Professor of English at the University of Glasgow in 1990 where he continued to publish widely and to promote the study of literature and theology nationally and internationally.  He served on the board of the new journal Literature and Theology and with David Jasper edited the valuable student text The Bible and Literature: a Reader (1999).  He was made a Fellow of the English Association.  His last post was as Director of the Armstrong Browning Library and Margaret Root Brown Professor of English at Baylor University, Texas (2003–8).


In his retirement he was an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and continued to be very active as a writer and conference speaker.

Norman Vance     












Michael Jamieson,

1931 – 28 July, 2020






It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of our dear friend Michael Jamieson at the age of 89.  He was a lecturer at Sussex from the early 60s in the School of English and American Studies.  In those pioneering days, along with Tony Inglis, Patricia Thompson, David Daiches and Angus Ross, Michael was one of a small band of Scottish lecturers in English.  He had studied at the universities of Aberdeen, Princeton and King’s College, Cambridge, and he also spent some time teaching at the University of Rome and the University of California at Sant Cruz.


We met Michael in our first tutorial in 1977.  That was also the first time that we met each other – little did we know how important that course would be to us.  We are still together after all those years!  Soon after university we formed a close friendship with Michael, and he would often come to visit us during our ten years in Florence.  Later he would stay in our home in Oxford, or we would regularly meet up in London or Brighton.

Michael was an erudite, eloquent, entertaining and loyal friend.  An Elizabethan and Jacobean specialist, he had a passion for theatre, making frequent visits to London.  His phenomenal memory for performances and actors was astounding.  He seemed to know everybody and had a bizarre talent for bumping into people wherever he roamed, coincidences he would later recount with delight!  He was always smartly dressed: we will never forget his stylish shirts, waistcoats, bow ties and jackets.


He was a great correspondent, a week would rarely pass without him sending us one of his doctored freebie postcards.  Beautifully crafted, his witty and allusive messages were embellished with key words in red ink, underlining or caps, cartoon self-portraits, and elaborate forms of address: Fraulein Julia, Herr Martyn; Doña Julia y Don Martyno; Miss Julie/Master Martyn; Jules & Mart; Julia & Martyn (COOKS OF GENIUS); The Fabric Lady & The Punster; Mr HOBBS (cook) Ms KEDDLE (gardener); Dramaturgo Hobbs.  It kept the postman amused!


We will miss Michael sitting in our old library chair from the Ashmolean, with a whisky and a small water jug on the side, telling us tales before dinner.  And we shall miss his postcards, but at least we have kept the ones he sent over the years.

Julia Starr Keddle, Martyn Hobbs 

(EngAm, 1977–1980)


Frederick John Bayley,

30 July, 1928 – 1 March, 2020



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Fred Bayley, founding Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sussex in 1965, died on 1 March, 2020, aged 91.  Born in Greenhithe, Kent, he entered King’s College, Newcastle in 1947 to read Marine Engineering.  This was the result of the small but profound circumstance of his father leaving Fred’s newly purchased grammar school scarf on the bus home.  Fred was signed up to start an apprenticeship as a fitter with Newbury Diesels.  The scarf was found, recognised and returned to Fred’s parents by his grammar school headmaster, who persuaded them that he was University material, and substantially enabled his successful admission there in 1947, instead of following his planned career as a craftsman.  Fred’s father organised lodgings in the northeast with the aunt of Norma June Ferguson.  They consequently met, courted and married in 1950.  They were happily married for 62 years.  Their children, grandchildren and great-grandson reflect on the fact that their existences are the consequence of a forgotten scarf on a London bus.


King’s College was at that time the science campus of the federal University of Durham, becoming the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1963.  Fred gained there a first degree and later a PhD and DSc, the first two being Durham degrees and the latter from Newcastle.  After a period of work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough, he returned to King’s College to teach and research.


In 1965, aged 37, he was appointed to a Chair at the four-year-old University of Sussex.  The three founding professors of the School of Applied Sciences, later Engineering and Applied Sciences (EAPS), led a staff of 10 and started with 69 undergraduates and 5 research students, all housed in temporary buildings for that first year.  Over the ensuing decades, Fred supervised many research students, grants and contracts, and became the Director of the Thermo-Fluid Mechanics Research Centre, which he founded with a grant from the then Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC, later to become EPSRC).  His research work was funded by SERC, the MoD, and by a number of international gas turbine companies, including Rolls-Royce, GEC, Sulzer, and MTU.  He was also a consultant for Aisin Seiki, a Japanese subsidiary of Toyota that established a research centre on the Sussex campus.


Fred held many academic posts at Sussex, including Subject Chairman of Mechanical Engineering, Dean of EAPS, and Pro-Vice Chancellor Science.  After retiring in 1993, he continued his intellectual activities until 2016 when ill health necessitated a move to a nursing care home in Seaford.


Fred was predeceased by Norma, who passed away in 2012, and by their daughter Jan, who died tragically young in 2009.  He is survived by two sons, Bob and Keith, by  seven grandchildren, and lived to see the arrival of his great grandson, Jan’s first grandchild, from her son Andrew and his wife, Steph, who Fred happily saw in his last few months.


Thanks to Bob Bayley and Alan Turner for helpful information.

Charles Goldie and Mike Owen




Patron:  Sir Gordon Conway


The  website

More information about Suss-Ex is available on its webpage at  ‘Suss-Ex Club’ in Google will get you there, as will, or you can find us in the   A–Z on the University’s homepage.  The website has copies of past Newsletters.

The steering committee

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

Ross Dowsett

Colin Finn

Jackie Fuller

Charles Goldie

Arnold Goldman

Sara Hinchliffe

Steve Pavey

Adrian Peasgood

David Smith

Paul Tofts, chair

Helen Walker

Ideas for the future

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.