Professor H.P. White, Pat to those who knew him, died on 21st February 1994. He was the Editor of Railways South East Magazine from 1991 to 1984.
Pat had always a passion for railways and his career started as booking clerk at Charlton Station. War service saw him in the Royal Artillery in the Far East and subsequent capture at the fall of Singapore. During four years incarceration in a PoW camp in Formosa he kept his sanity by planning imaginary trips over the British railway network.
These plans were later put into practice and provided much information for later railway articles. After the War and a period of recuperation, Pat enrolled at Queen Mary’s College London under the government education scheme for demobbed servicemen. Here he gained the Top First for his year and went on to do his MA. His first lecturing post was at Edinburgh University. In 1952 he went to the University of West Africa and travelled the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone and Nigeria where he taught many people, some of whom became their country’s leaders.
In 1963 he took the post of tutor attached to the Arts Department of the College of Advanced Technology in Salford, near Manchester. Salford soon became one of the new generation of universities and over the next 20 years he established the geography department. A leader in transport economics, he was appointed Professor in 1972. In 1982 tired of battling with education cuts he took early retirement and moved to Godmanchester near Huntingdon.
Although retired he did more work than ever. Apart from writing and updating Regional Railway Histories of Southern England and Greater London and Forgotten Railways he was editor of the Railway and Canal Historical Society Journal and Past President of that Society. He even found time to be a booking clerk on the Nene Valley Railway, going back to the start of his career. He was also a Lay Preacher for the Godmanchester Church. Occasionally he took services at other churches and I remember once at Brampton the organist playing one of the railway themes as we entered.
Always willing to help in transport and other matters, I knew him not only as an author but as a friend.
Our thanks to Allan Mott for loaning H P White’s negatives to The Transport Treasury.