The Late Peter Chater
1925 – 2018
“I have had an interest in Industrial Archaeology for more than fifty years and have been a member of Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society since it was formed. Over the course of time I have researched a number of subjects and thought I would like to share them with others. I have endeavoured to name the source from where I obtained the information, but in a few instances I regret that I have no record”.
I’m afraid I have to pass on the very sad news that Peter Chater died this morning. He was a founder member of WIAS and had remained an enthusiastic supporter of the Society over the past 28 years. He possessed an unrivaled knowledge of local industrial and transport history, always seeming able to add additional information to any topic under discussion. Over the years, he delivered many talks and led several walks for WIAS, all part of the process of passing on his knowledge to others. He shared his passions with a close group of friends with whom he embarked on many an exploratory trip to sites near and far. Peter was also a member of other local history groups, and his knowledge and enthusiasm will be sorely missed by all.
Martin Green WIAS Chairman
12th January 2018
Peter Chater died on 12th January 2018 aged 92, born in Farnborough, a Warwickshire lad through and through. Peter went to Leicester Street School, where on his first day he met Bill Gibbons, then a Prefect. They struck up a friendship which lasted until Bill’s death, visiting sites of local historical interest, industrial archaeology sites and railway stations. They were both keen photographers, and Peter once lamented that he never succeeded in converting Bill to slide transparencies.
When Peter left school, he desperately wanted to join the railways, but his father was adamant that he should get a proper job, so he was apprenticed to a local building firm. Once he completed his apprenticeship, he did join the railways, and worked on the footplate until he developed health problems. He then went into admin, and worked his way up to being Stationmaster at Hatton. He then had a similar supervisory job at Solihull.
For many years, Peter led a walking group, plotting the routes from his extensive collection of OS Maps. A few years ago, when his walkers were all getting on a bit, he decided to hold an early 90th birthday celebration, – because at that point he didn’t think he would see 90!
Reflecting his wide interests he had been a member of the Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society, both of the Leamington and Lillington Local History Societies, the Leamington Society, the now defunct Warwickshire Steam Engine Society and others. He was also an accomplished member of the Leamington Spa Bowling Club, becoming the men’s single champion.
We will miss Peter and his extensive local knowledge: he was intellectually still active to the last and great company, especially when he was expounding on local history and allied subjects such as photography, railways, Industrial Archaeology and the related walks he led for many years. The vision of Peter sat in a meeting with pen in one hand, notebook in the other making notes for future reference and research will be everlasting.
Text Peter Coulls, Image Derek Billings
Peter’s WIAS contributions can be found below.
Cob Walling, Claverdon VIEW
Harbury Windmill, Warwicks VIEW
Leamington Spa LNWR Railway Bridge VIEW
Sydney Harbour Bridge VIEW
Warwick & B’ham Canal VIEW
Water Wheels, Different Types VIEW
Wharf Locations Warwick & B’ham Canal (Bradshaws 1904 Canal & River Guide with further details) VIEW
Wharf Locations Warwick & Napton Canal VIEW
Wind & Watermills Write Up VIEW