Obituary: Patrick Bailey

PATRICK BAILEY was one of Britain's finest and foremost geographical educators. Over the years, he did much to promote Geography as a school subject and to enhance the teaching of the subject in schools.

Born in 1925, after leaving school and spending time in the Royal Navy, Bailey studied Geography at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from 1947 to 1951 and subsequently at McGill University, Montreal. For much of his professional career, he taught at the School of Education, Leicester University, in the latter years combining this with undergraduate teaching in the Geography Department.

Before coming to Leicester in 1969, Bailey had taught in Norfolk. His first post was at Paston Grammar School, from where he moved on to become Head of Geography at Wymondham College. Later he was Principal Lecturer at Northumberland College of Education at Ponteland from 1964 to 1968, where he met and subsequently married Peggy, his lifetime companion.

Bailey was a central figure in the activities of the Geographical Association, both nationally and locally for many years. He was editor of the very valuable Teaching Geography publication in the period 1974 to 1985. In 1997, he was made an honorary member of the association for his contributions to Geography. In the late Eighties, he was significantly President of the association at a time when Geography was obliged by the then Secretary of State for Education, Sir Keith Joseph, to justify its place in the school curriculum. In A Case for Geography (1987, co- edited with Tony Binns), a spirited advocacy of the subject was argued on behalf of the members of the Geographical Association.

At the local level, in the flourishing Leicester Geographical Association, Bailey was indefatigable in his support for a wide range of activities, organising conferences for sixth- formers, giving frequent lectures and chairing sessions in his own inimitable style.

He was a prolific writer of books, articles and reviews. He was the author of The Norwich Area (1971) in the British Landscapes through Maps series, Orkney (1971), part of the Islands series, and also of Teaching Geography (1974). His last major publication for the association, the Geography Teachers' Handbook (1996), which he co-edited with Peter Fox, was a mammoth effort which will be an indispensable text for many years to come.

Many geography teachers who received their initial teacher training at Leicester, and more recently at Loughborough, where he taught part-time following his retirement from Leicester, have much to thank him for. He set and expected very high standards in all that he did; course planning, supporting students in their teaching and, not least, in his own teaching.

His talks were a role model for students and teachers alike, honed to a very high standard; a choice quotation, an original slant, a skilfully crafted argument, superb illustrations - slides, field sketches, maps and diagrams were his trademark.

Bailey's enthusiasm for his subject was infectious, his love of teaching boundless - sometimes he even found it difficult not to intervene in the classroom when advising and supporting students on teaching practice. He was equally at ease introducing interested lay people into the delights of town trails and countryside walks.

Behind the teacher/scholar, Patrick Bailey was a very compassionate, thoughtful and caring man, generous in his praise of work done well, and very supportive of his close colleagues as well as his tutees. It was a measure of his inner strength and belief - he was a Christian Scientist - that in spite of a very debilitating illness he continued to be stimulating, interested, alert, and active in promoting the cause of geographical education.

The award of an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Geographical Society shortly before his death, following similar recognition in Poland and Portugal, was a well deserved accolade and one of which he was justifiably proud.

Patrick John Mumford Bailey, geographer and educationist: born London 31 December 1925; Principal Lecturer in Geography, Northumberland College of Education, Ponteland 1964-68; Senior Lecturer in Education, Leicester University 1969-87; married 1968 Peggy Douglas; died Leicester 16 July 1998.

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