Professor Peter Ambrose 1933 – 2012

Professor Peter Ambrose 1933 – 2012

Professor Peter Ambrose died peacefully on the morning of the 22st August. He had been struggling against cancer for several months. His condition deteriorated sharply resulting in a couple of falls in the night. The ambulance was called and he was made comfortable; but by the morning he had died.

Working with Peter was always both informative and fun.  My last e-mail from him was on the 20th August. We had both read about a legal decision which showed the law to be more than the usual ass. We both love Gilbert and Sullivan and can quote chunks of the patter songs. I had sent him the first lines of the Lord Chancellor’s song from Iolanthe as a comment on that decision.

The law is the true embodiment of everything that’s excellent,
It has no kind of fault or flaw, and I Mi’Lords embody the Law.

Peter answered with the next lines; .

The constitutional guardian I of pretty young Wards in Chancery
All very agreeable girls and none are over the age of 21.

The email before that on the same day provided six horror stories about overcrowding in the London Private Rented sector which he had researched with London Citizens in 2009, which will be sent to the GLA review of the PR sector. He had finished drafting the Pro-Housing Alliance submission to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards on the 17th August, which was sent on the 19th. On the 20th I had a final e-mail exchange with him giving advice about a note on the Commission which I was sent to Bishop of Durham who is a member.

We have on the Zacchaeus 2000 and the ProHousing Alliance websites a store of wisdom and information from Peter which will inform our work for years to come. It should never be forgotten that he foresaw the crash in 2008; his long standing foresight was included in the Zacchaeus 2000 Trust 2005  Memorandum to the Prime Minister on Unaffordable Housing; it was read by Tony Blair. All this important work on housing and health was done with love and out of profound concern about the impact of decades of dreadful or non-existent housing policy on the poorest citizens of the UK.

Rev Paul Nicolson, Chair
Zacchaeus 2000 Trust.
Member Pro-Housing Alliance.

We are inviting comments to be left below so people can share their thoughts and memories of Peter.

7 thoughts on “Professor Peter Ambrose 1933 – 2012

  1. Peter Archer

    Despite Peter being seriously ill, during the past twelve months he worked tirelessly for the newly formed Pro-Housing Alliance where he was a founder member. Peter spent much of his academic career highlighting the housing needs of poor people. Rev. Paul Nicolson has highlighted some of Peter’s achievements in the previous tribute. I was impressed by Peter’s breadth of knowledge and experience and his input to the PHA was invaluable. Typical of Peter was when his cancer was first diagnosed and we all expressed our shock and concern he reminded us all that our cemeteries are full of indispensible people! Peter thank you for all you have done to highlight the needs of people who cannot speak out for themselves, we shall miss you enormously.
    Peter Archer
    Chair, Care and Repair, England
    Member Pro-Housing Alliance

  2. Stephen Battersby

    Simply put, Peter was and remains an inspiration. His energy and drive put many half his age to shame. His commitment to addressing health inequity was unquestionable. He recognised before so many the adverse impact on health of the flawed economic model followed by successive governments; that house price inflation fuelled by irresponsible lending was bad for public health. Good housing is fundamental to good health and poor housing costs us all via the exported costs. It was Peter’s idea to set up the Pro-Housing Alliance arguing that it was an idea whose time has come. I feel privileged to have known and worked with Peter.

  3. Andrea Bonsey

    Peter was my teacher and mentor when I was an undergraduate student of Social Policy back in the early 1990s. His enthusiasm, encouragement, values and humour were integral to my learning and personal and professional development. Continuing on from my degree, I was involved in Peter’s research on the effects of poor housing on health and education, in East London. I loved my time with Peter, and feel honoured to have been part of the work Peter initiated and developed.
    My condolences and thoughts go to Peter’s family and friends, and my sincere wish that Peter’s work continues…

  4. Neil Jameson

    London Citizens owes a massive debt to Peter for his active involvement in our developing housing policy since 2004. He has guided us with humour, intelligence and a burning sense of the injustice of present housing policies which keep families in overcrowded, expensive housing indefinetly. He was the first to come up with a defintion of ‘affordable’ housing using the yard stick of the London Living Wage and joined the Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson on the platform of our Mayoral Accountability Assembly at Central Hall in April 2008 to announce this defintion of affordability. He also joined Citizens ‘Commission into Overcrowding in Wandsworth’ in 2010 as a gentle but very well informed Commissioner.The warmth of his smile, twinkle in his eye and love of people will stay with us as will his practical proposals for a’living rent’ and the affordability definition. All a legacy to be proud of. Families who mostly depend on the state for decent accommodation have lost a real champion for their cause. Citizens UK wish Peter’s family well at this sad time and thanks for sharing him.

  5. Gill Cook

    I would like to add something from a different perspective. My memories of Peter are essentially of a much loved and admired Uncle.

    In his private life Peter was very family orientated. Although we live on the other side of the world in Melbourne, we always kept in touch by email or phone. We treasured Peter’s visits to us and meeting up during trips home to the UK.

    I know just how much he achieved in his professional life, working tirelessly to help the poor and underprivileged in so many areas like housing, health and education. I believe this continued virtually until the day he passed away. His drive and energy were truly amazing and I am sure his vision, insight, expertise and commitment will live on. It is heart-warming to read the above tributes to Peter.

    We will always remember Peter’s warmth, kindness and caring attitude. Also his keen sense of humour, wit and clever play on words. He packed such a lot into his life and achieved so much. We have lost a very lovely, compassionate and thoughtful person and we will all miss him very much.

    From Gill Cook and family

  6. John Bryson

    I had known for some time about the work that Peter had done, and was so respected by so many, but it was only in the last few years that I actually worked with him. I can only echo some of the things that have been said about Peter and how inspirational he was. What I found rather unusual for someone who was so passionate about his work was that Peter always came across as calm and polite – even when he was fundamentally disagreeing with someone! As my wife would say, if she had answered the phone to him, “that lovely charmimg man (Peter) has been on…”.
    He certainly had a way with words and he could make you smile with some of his quotes such as “there can’t be many people who have flown in Lancasters and are Millwall supporters!” Several times I heard him say that cemeteries were full of too many good people – a comment that it all the more true now. It was a real pleasure to have known him and worked with him.
    John Bryson.

Comments are closed.