It was the early 1960’s that I first came to know Peter Johnson, because as an adult-educational advisory member of Dover Borough Council’s Library and Museum Committee I became involved in a number of projects and invariably found that he, too, was a participant – quietly-spoken, friendly, cooperative, very well-informed on all matters Dovorian, widely connected and quintessentially professional.
He was in fact a charted quanity surveyor but this was irrelevant, for example, to campaigns such as trying to move Dover Museum from the basement of the Town Hall to purpose-built accommodation ( now in Market Square ) and a Community Centre in Pencester Road. ( now Cleary House in Maison Dieu Road)
Consequently when in 1988 I was invited to chair the newly-formed Dover Society I was delighted but not surprised to find that Peter Johnson, now Chairman of the Magistrates and Chairman of the Governors of Dover College, was already quietly but deeply involved. Hence the Society’s continuing Christmas Feast link with the College and the use of the Menzies Hall for our Inaugural Public Meeting. There he set the tone by firmly stressing that the Dover Society was not nimby and negative but as committed to Dover’s future as to its past, an undertaking we have done our utmost to follow.
Until his unfortunate illness he never missed a Committee meeting and was the author and director of our successful appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman to rebuke the Home Office for erecting an obtrusive building on the Citadel skyline. He was also responsible for the happy presidential invitations the Countess of Guilford and to her successor, Bgdr Maurice Atherton. He also continued to grace our public meetings for as long as possible.
Monumentally we are indeed his debtors.