JOHN BOYES (1914 – 2013)

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Members will be very sad to hear that John Boyes, an eminent historian and Patron of our Society, died in May 2013. He was 98 years of age. Although he gave his last lecture to our Society 13 years ago, when he was 85, many will remember him as a very popular speaker and no season was considered complete if it did not include a visit from John, often accompanied by his wife, Marjorie. Altogether John was invited to speak at our meetings on more than 25 occasions, usually about industrial archaeology but with enigmatic titles such as “Little Drops of Water”, the title of the last lecture he gave in 2000.

John was born in Surrey and moved to Chingford in 1956. He was a Senior Factory Inspector, so he was able to combine his work with his hobby. He was a very active member of many local and national organisations whose interests coincided with his own, including his local society, the Chingford Historical Society, of which he was Chairman and later President until ill-health caused him to give up 3 years ago. He was a founder member of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress and President from 1980 to 1984 and elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1999. He was elected a Patron of our Society in 1990.

As a Patron he was always given a copy of Panorama and he was punctilious in acknowledging its receipt with a few words of comment. A typical example was in his last letter on receipt of Panorama 48 in 2010 which had a reproduction of the postage stamps of the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe celebrating Alfred Russel Wallace on the first page of that Panorama (and on the cover of this). He commented that “It is unfortunate that the fiscal authorities in the island used these stamps primarily to draw money from collectors, for the stamps were rarely if ever used for postal purposes”.

 A prolific writer, he was the author the classic 'Canals of Eastern England' and updated the booklet 'A Footprint in Time' for the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress. He will perhaps best be remembered for the interest, knowledge and enthusiasm which he imparted in those who heard his copiously illustrated lectures.

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