Obituary: Derek Maggs

Derek Robert Maggs, journalist and printer, born Deal Kent 27 July 1926, married 1956 Beryl Johnson (three sons, two daughters; marriage dissolved 1984), died London 2 December 1992.

DEREK MAGGS, known at Bush House as a first-class radio journalist, unflappable in a crisis, who made an important contribution to the life of the newsroom in an individual and team capacity over many years, was a 'double-lifer' - like so many in the World Service. On his days off he worked in his garden shed as an artisan printer.

Maggs was not, and never claimed to be, a printer in the league of Christopher Skelton or Bernard Roberts (whose beautiful work he admired greatly) - he had neither the technology nor the ambition. What he did do as well as anybody was to hand-set, print and bind small, unembellished yet elegant books and pamphlets for several small-press publishers, including the Enitharmon Press, Poetical Histories in Cambridge, the Big Little Poem Series in Grimsby, and myself, at the Menard Press. He printed, too, more than 100 'MenCards' for me over 20 years. These were postcard poems often marking a Menard author's new book, visit to England, round-number birthday or death. He was the perfect jobbing printer of wedding invitations, church bazaar programmes etc for many colleagues in Bush House, where he worked for more than 30 years, finishing as a senior duty editor.

Surely the cheapest printer in the UK (basically he worked at cost price because he enjoyed the labour as a hobby), he printed for me at times when subsidies were not forthcoming. It was not even that he printed things more cheaply than anybody else, so much as he made books and cards possible which would otherwise never have seen the light of day. He always did exactly what one requested, though he could be affectionately irascible if the customer was unclear with instructions or asked too much of his rudimentary technology.

We lived at opposite ends of London, and would meet half- way, at Bush House (on more than one occasion at 2am), for a drink or two and the handing over of the latest book or card. Although he enjoyed the company of close friends and colleagues in the BBC Club, he was an intensely shy and private individual who would never come to the publishing parties for which he had printed the invitations.

His death from a galloping cancer - less than two weeks before he died he wrote me from hospital that he'd be home in time to finish my latest job before Christmas, and on the phone he was even able to joke that since he was already bald at least one symptom did not affect him - removes a friend and colleague from the small-press scene who was, the words are correct for once, literally irreplaceable.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution