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Roy Gregory

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Roy Gregory, Emeritus Professor of Politics, died in London on 14 July.

After Oxford (PPE at Brasenose, and doctoral studies at Nuffield) Roy Gregory took a teaching in Dundee and joined the Politics Department at Reading in 1964. He was promoted to Reader in 1973 and to Professor in 1976 in recognition of two major books The Miners and British Politics, 1906-1914 and The Price of Amenity: Five Studies in Conservation and Government in 1971.

At that point his major interest shifted to the Ombudsman institution, beginning with The Parliamentary Ombudsman: a Study in the Control of Administrative Action, published in 1975. Over the next twenty years there followed by a stream of articles on the Ombudsman in learned journals, and then, with Philip Giddings, another major book The Ombudsman, the Citizen and Parliament in 2002. In the 1990s, he also gathered an enormous volume of material for another book on the miners and contemporary British politics but was unable to complete the planned book before serious illness forced him into early retirement in 2000.

Roy was an extremely thorough researcher and a fastidious writer. When he wrote on a subject, he did so in detail and at length. He led the setting up at Reading of an internationally renowned Centre for Ombudsman Studies and was frequently in demand for conferences and consultancy, nationally and internationally. From 1990 until his retirement he led a training programme for Ombudsman worldwide, sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Although research was his passion Roy was a diligent and demanding teacher, expecting his students to be as hard-working and rigorous as he was. He worked hard and expected others to do so too – which made him an excellent colleague to collaborate with.

Roy’s interest in politics was not merely academic. He was a member of Reading Borough Council and the Thames Valley Water Board from 1966-69 and of Hounslow Council from 1977-82, chairing its Employment Committee. In the University he took his turn on faculty committees and, with considerable reluctance, served as head of department from 1985-89.

But it was not all work. He was a tenacious squash player, enjoyed football, both as a player and a spectator, table tennis – and music. He knew his own mind, and stuck to it; was determined, loyal and collegiate. Truly a scholar. May he rest in peace.

Philip Giddings

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