This obituary will also appear in the next edition of the Blackcountryman. If any readers have memories of Roy they would like to share, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will compile them into a further blog post.
Some twenty years ago, whilst sitting in the audience listening to a Roy Peacock lecture, it occurred to me how similar this situation was to a child positioned at the knee of a benevolent grandfather imparting tales of the past in a quiet almost confidential style. Audiences were totally absorbed by the information Roy delivered but there again he had spent a lifetime presenting episodes of history to audiences as diverse as rebellious A level students and Women’s Institute members out for a pleasant afternoon’s entertainment before sampling the obligatory tea and cakes. All were beguiled by this quiet, unassuming but knowledgeable intellectual who self-deprecatingly would introduce himself as ‘A bit of an historian’.
Roy Peacock was an Oxford educated man of Kent, who after a brief foray in the army settled into the teaching profession.
Whilst at Oxford he met and struck up a friendship with John Fletcher, later to become the founder of the Black Country Society. It was an unusual pairing at first sight- the bearded forthright no nonsense Black Country man and the precise quietly spoken southerner. Nevertheless, the friendship was to endure for many years and only terminated on Fletcher’s untimely death.
Whether it was Fletcher’s influence that brought Peacock to this corner of the realm I do not know but it was in Stourbridge that he settled and he was appointed head of history at King Edwards College an institution that had metamorphosed from the centuries old grammar school.
Each book was met with great acclaim.
In 2009 Roy accepted the invitation to become President of the Black Country Society. His term was extended to two years as a few weeks after his appointment, Roy in his inimitable style told me he might not be around for a while as he had a pressing engagement with a surgeon.
Roy proved to be a great ambassador representing the Society at a vast array of functions and carrying out his duties with great dignity.
As his term of office neared its end Roy announced to the Society his intention to undertake a major work cataloguing and analysing the Fallen and their Memorials within Dudley County Borough during the First World War. Finance for the project was obtained from the National Lottery Fund and the research occupied him for several years - the results of his labours, together with a comprehensive photographic collection assembled by Graham Beckley is now digitally recorded on the internet.
Roy Peacock joins a select group of eminent historians- Harry Palfrey, Jack Haden and Nigel Perry, whose research has delved into every nook and previously inaccessible cranny in the southern tip of the Black Country.
His family have lost a much-loved husband, father and grandfather; the Black Country Society, a committed and respected former president and Stourbridge an irreplaceable historian.