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Remembering Peter Gibbs, Physics teacher

In June 2020, the school was sad to learn of the passing of Peter Gibbs, former Physics teacher and Second Mistress. This is updated with a fuller tribute written by his widow Marion. (April 2021).
25 Jun 2020
Peter Gibbs in 1995
Peter Gibbs in 1995

The school has recently recieved the sad news of the death of Peter Gibbs, a former Physics teacher and senior leader at the school, who died peacefully on 14 June after a long illness. Peter taught at Habs from the early 1980s until 1994 and also assumed responsibility for staff cover, exams and invigilation. He was known in the staff room for his daily, handwritten, notices, which were produced in his wonderfully neat script.  April 2021, his widow Marion has now written a fuller tribute:

Peter Gibbs, Physics Teacher and Second Mistress (1985-1995)

Peter joined the staff at Haberdasher’s Girls in September 1985 as a Physics teacher, originally temporary and part-time. He had previously been Head of Physics at a large comprehensive school in Essex. Two years later Mrs Wiltshire appointed him to the role of “Second Mistress”, being natural subversive and having a good sense of humour, he relished this title. He had responsibility for staff cover and invigilation and for all school examinations, both internal and external. He refused to have an office and worked from a desk in the corner of the staff room.

Biddie O’Conner, who knew Peter when she was Head of Classics, has very strong memories of Peter in this role: “He was efficient, effective, kind and ‘human’. His beautiful handwriting adorned the noticeboard with rotas and cover sessions, while he always had time to listen to the problems of others.”

Malcolm Gough, then Deputy Head and also a Physicist, remembers: “The whole department has many happy memories of working together. Peter’s detailed handwritten notes were a source of admiration and we were always pleased at his willingness to share them, with staff and with girls. Girls always found his lessons stimulating; he was very popular. His approach to the role of Second Mistress was thorough and fair. He deserved the great respect that he had from staff. He was renowned for the detail that would appear on the Today Board: everybody knew what was to be done.”

Peter always made time to help individual girls who had problems with physics, sitting in his lab or at the big table in the entrance hall.

The fact that he travelled to school on his BMW 1000cc motorbike, dressed in leathers became the stuff of legend!

Peter took early retirement in August 1995, to join his wife in London where she had become a Headmistress. As Marion Baldock, she had been Head of Sixth Form and Classics at the school from 1989 -1991. He spent his retirement enjoying woodwork and designing things, refining his hi-fi system, building beautiful scale-models of cars and ships and endlessly investigating the mathematics behind the many stellations of the dodecahedron and modelling them.

Peter died aged 75 peacefully at home in June 2020, after being nursed by Marion through a long illness.

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