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Charles Peter Beynon Brook


Former consultant in old age psychiatry Cambridge (b Bromley 1928; q Guy’s Hospital, London, 1952; MD, FRCPsych), d 18 December 2003.

Peter Brook was the first old age psychiatrist in Cambridge. He inherited numerous rambling wards at the old Fulbourn Hospital and founded the present thriving and much grown service. Notably this included the development of integrated multidisciplinary community resource teams, long before the current vogue for interagency working. Peter was an important supporter of the comparatively new university department of psychiatry, reflecting his wish to improve and maintain high standards of practice, teaching, and research. He endowed a coveted prize for medical student research.

Peter was a foundation fellow of the royal college at its inception in 1972; he was elected as sub-dean (1974-8) and served on the college’s court of electors. He wrote an influential royal college report on senior registrar training that also formed the basis of his own MD thesis. Always a supporter of research, he was instrumental in establishing the Hughes Hall project for later life, an epidemiological study of nearly 3000 over 75s in Cambridge. The survivors of this elderly cohort are still being followed up. Peter was especially proud of being a fellow of Hughes Hall and relished his connections with the university.

Although he developed myeloma fairly soon after his retirement, he remained active as an organiser of the local branch of the University of the Third Age and with work on naval history, publishing a monograph on Tyneside-built Edwardian warships. He was always a positive and optimistic man, and this continued despite his long illness. It was a pleasure that in 1999 he was able to open the new old age psychiatry ward at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, a development that he had advocated for many years.

He leaves his wife, Joy; a son and a daughter; and two grandsons. [Tom Dening]