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Peter Haycraft Dibdin
Other articles about Peter and his life.
Traumatic Years - A short article covering life for Peter and Joan Dibdin just after the death of their parents.
The few of Peter's diaries that we have, give some insight into involvement with cars at the time when few people would have owned one. Other entries are interesting such as in Feb 1932, he had Flu.
In 1933 his parents Cecily and Lionel were killed in a plane crash.
Because the wills did not cover this eventually adequately Peter and Joan were not only left as orphans but also under the control of the Public Trustees. The impact of this is documented in an article "Traumatic Years" which discusses how Peter had no control at the time as he was just under 21 and Joan had no parenting to speak of. Contrary to good sense, Avondale, their home was sold in 1934 for the sum of £1150.
Peter moved to East Court Woodmansterne Lane Banstead Surrey and Joan was in effect homeless living either at boarding school in Bexhill or with Aunt Edith in Saltburn and then Castleton in North Yorkshire. A letter indicates that this arrangement was not really reliable.
Joan used to mention how she and her seven year older brother, never, in childhood, got on well however is noted with interest how Peter fought her corner against Aunt Edith with regard to Joan’s choice of career and training once she left school. Some of the letters from Edith were quite aggressive. Joan used to say how well she and Peter related during the war and it was through Peter and her cousin, Don Haycraft, that she was introduced to the Guise Family in 1941. During that period Peter bought a grand piano for £10 and this lived at 4 Pinfold Road, the Guise household, until it was moved to Cumberland, Joan’s farmhouse in about 1985.
Once he became of age at twenty he then had to take on for some seven years responsibility with the public trustees for the financial affair of Joan dealing with issues such as the cost of her schooling as well as ensuring that her day to day monetary needs were satisfied.
Peter lived a full life before his parents death and despite his increased responsibilities he continued t olive at quite a pace. His involvement with cars is documented in a separate section and was a member of number of sports clubs.
In June 1935 Peter bought, at auction 4 houses at Whittaker Road, Nos. 24,26,54,56, in Sutton as investment properties. He had probably inherited stocks and shares from Lionel and seemed to actively run quite a portfolio. It seems that both Peter and Joan were used to a fairly well to do lifestyle and this is supported by Peter's expenditure on cars and receipts from Austin Reed and such like suppliers.
He was involved in the family grave at Carshalton and no doubt had been involved in the funeral and internment of his parents. In Aug- Oct 1937 Peter was concerned about the state of the memorial grave at Carshalton and asked the verger Mr Saunders if he would tidy things up and sent him money for the attendance of the grave.
Coupled with his motoring activities which included at least one driving rally around England and Wales, were his two continental holidays in 1936 and 1937, on both of which it is understood he was accompanied by his boyhood next door neighbour David Muir. See the details of these holidays on webpage Peter's life with cars and holidays. Working for a government department as he was, this may have been significant at such a dates so close to the beginning of the war.
As war approached in 1938 he joined the Territorial Army and Peter enlisted in TA 11 May 1939 for 4 years – signing on 1st Sept 1939. From his work diary 1939, appointments stopped 24 Aug 1939 (War started Sept 1st)
Peter at Work
At the age of 18, Peter joined his father's property company at 18 Mulgrave Road in Sutton and on 1 June 1931 he was articled to Lionel at a cost £1-0-0
There is a document about Indentures to his Father on 1st June 1931 at 18 Mulgrave Rd Sutton for three years. He studied with British Tutorial Institute, the President of which was coincidentally Sir Robert Dibdin JP. He took exams for The Chartered Surveyor’s Institution and exams for College of Estate Management.
Tragically in 1933 before he completely his indentures his Father and Mother died in a
One must assume that he was not settled in his late Fathers company and the suggestion is that he did not inherit a position as a partner which probably would have happened under Lionel.
In September 1933, 6 months after the death of his father Peter contacted Quintana & Co Chartered Surveyors in Eccleston Sq with a view to becoming an Articled Pupil. Peter must have had a reason to be fed up with what was happening at Dibdin’s in Sutton. It would seem that Peter had done work with Quintana & Co and so was in a position to approach they about work and pupilage. However he did stay and on 2nd Oct 1933 he was Articled to Maurice Andrews, 18 Mulgrave Rd Sutton for 2 years at the cost of £140.0.0 as a pupil Chartered Surveyor. On 2nd October 1935 he completed Articles.
The fact that his father's partners charged Peter £140 for pupilage compared with the £1 charge earlier by his father must be and indication of the level of relationship.
Peter did stay with them until he completed his time in 1935 and then he was looking for employment elsewhere once his “indentures” were finished. He immediately joined the Civil Service working for the Crownlands Office of Commissioners, 55 Whitehall.
At this time Peter was getting advice from his Uncle Rex, a wise old member of the Dibdin Family who was always very supportive to both Peter and Joan and receiving letters from a close friend of the family from Nigeria.
From a letter / card to G. Kingsnorth in Nigeria, written before Christmas 1935.
the letter was returned as Kingsnorth had died after a severe operation on the
20th December 1935 – Information obtained from the Crown Agents.
30 April 1936 Peter asked for a raise having being in the
dept. since Oct 1935
The War Years.
Peter joined up at the beginning of the war and work with the Royal Engineers. The little we know of his time in the war is noted in his section of the article on the Family at War.
A note in Joan’s diary refers to her worry about how unhappy he seemed to have been at one point during the war.
Yet another sadness caused by war that here was a person that would have being interesting to know and great uncle to have had, died so early in life.