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Peter Midlane

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Peter Midlane 1943-2013

Pat Manley, Richard Chapman and I were present at the celebration service for the life of Peter Midlane at St. Margaret’s Church, Barking on 10th January 2014;  he had sadly passed away on 28th December. The packed church was testimony to the esteem in which he was held and his varied community interests including the allotment society; he  was a member of the Poulter’s Company and a Freeman of the City of London. Bishop Trevor Mwamba officiated and paid tribute to Peter’s long and devoted service to the church.

Peter himself was very proud of his long association with St. Margaret’s; his parents first took him when he was seven years old and he remained a member of the congregation until his death. Peter was a member of the church choir for an astonishing  61 years, a sacristan for 36 years and churchwarden for 4.

Tributes were paid by his three sons, Simon, Neil and Craig; one son revealed that his father’s diagnosis coincided with his own wife’s pregnancy confirmation.

They also spoke of their father’s regular walks as a child passed the Cape Asbestos factory; like many other Barking people from that era Peter died of an asbestos related disease.

We all had our own memories; Richard of his scouting days with Peter, Linda Rhodes remembered the help he had given her researching one of her books and I grateful for all his help during our 70th anniversary celebrations when a number of the events took place at St. Margaret’s. He also attended our meetings from time to time.

The celebration of his life at St. Margaret’s was followed by a private cremation at the City of London Crematorium at Manor Park.

Peter greeted every visitor to the church with a ready smile and always willing to share information about his beloved church and curfew tower.

Dorothy Lockwood, a vice-president of the society, remembers that Peter always liaised with her late husband Bert over church history and guided tours and was hugely co-operative when Bert died particularly in regards to the many donations received by  the church in his memory.

What is surprising is that Peter was a lifelong resident of Ilford, where he was born on 1st June 1943, yet he will be forever associated with Barking.

John Blake, January 2014


Peter Midlane 1943-2013

Peter’s branch of the Midlane family came from Newport, Isle of Wight. His paternal grandparents Arthur George Midlane (1873-1944), a compositor and printer,  and May Ann Bessie Jupe (1872-1952) were both born in the Isle of Wight and married there in 1895. They had settled in Upper Holloway, London by 1896 and then moved to Little Ilford by 1901 and Ilford in 1902 when Peter’s father was born.
Peter Midlane was born in Ilford, Essex during the war in 1943, the only son and eldest child of Arthur Albert Trussler Midlane (1902-1990), a chemical worker, and Irene Beatrice Selwood (1908-1990), who had married in September 1933.  Peter’s  sister, Betty, was born in 1944. Peter married Lesley R. Patmore at Barking in 1969. He leaves behind three sons, Simon (born 1971), Neil (1975) and Craig (1980), and four grandchildren, Matthew, Sophie, Jensen and Samuel.

Source: Barking and Dagenham Post 2nd January 2014

Photographs taken and text assembled by Peter Midlane

Peter joined the Civil Service in 1961 and spent his career working in job centres, becoming a job centre manager  and joining ACAS. He was a member of the Pouters’ Livery Company Peter and a Freeman of the City of London.

Peter Midlane was a committed lifelong Christian and St. Margaret’s church in Barking Broadway. His parents first took him, and his younger sister Betty, to church as a small boy and within two years he had joined the choir where he remained a  member for the rest of his life. Peter gave 61 years service to St. Margaret’s where he was a well-known member of St Margaret’s Church and sang in the choir for 61 years. Peter was heavily involved in church life, serving as a warden for  four years and later as chairman of the Parochial Church Council. The skills Peter acquired at ACAS were later used to great effect when a number of policies were needed for the church. His knowledge of the history and fabric of the church was extensive.  Peter was ever ready to share his love and knowledge of the church and give informative tours of St. Margaret’s and the Curfew Tower to groups of children and adults. He assembled the text and provided photographs for the Guide to St Margaret's Church, Barking Abbey and Curfew Tower [28 pages] published in November 2013 by the Vicar and Church Wardens. Peter also produced leaflets about St Margaret’s and the Sea [8 pages], which details the monuments in  the church which commemorate  Barking’s large fishing industry and "those who went down to the sea in ships"; and The Curfew Tower (or Fire Bell Gate) of Barking Abbey [4 pages – revised May 2008]. He always willing to  generously make time to help others and be a faithful friend who was kind and always smiling.

Peter sadly lost his battle with lung cancer on Saturday, December 28th at the age of 70. In his spare time he enjoyed  working on his allotment.

A fine tribute to Peter, written by Mark Shales, was published in The Barking and Dagenham Post on 2nd January 2014. This included many personal recollections by Peter’s friend Canon Pat Nappin, another great stalwart of St.  Margaret’s.

Compiled WHG 24.01.2014

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