Peter King, aged 63, died suddenly, on 6th October, at home following a knee operation. He leaves his beloved wife, B and daughters Helen and Rachel.
Peter and I were colleagues and friends, working together at the Centre for Comparative Housing Research at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK. While we had divergent political views, we shared an interest in understanding the concept of ‘home’. Peter was a prolific writer: twenty-three books, including textbooks and monographs, plus numerous articles and conference papers. Whenever Peter handed in a manuscript, he would say ‘I think that is my last book on housing’ and we would laugh – knowing that it never would be.
For a while, we shared car journeys into the office and I always learnt something new or quirky. There was Peter’s love of cricket that was often a subject of conversation, but also offbeat, arty films (one of his papers: ‘A room to panic’, used film critique to explore aspects of housing) and music that (I thought) wasn’t always easy on the ear! We had serious debates about social housing policy too – challenging, but always friendly.
Peter taught thousands of housing students in their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. He seemed to be particularly pleased to teach a housing finance module ‘without numbers’. Many housing professionals today have benefited from exposure to a wide range of political theory, which creates critical analytical learners – a benefit to individual careers, but also to the social housing profession as a whole. Peter also supervised a number of PhD students – me included. He literally brought colour to his work, in the years before he retired from University in 2018 he had taken to orange as his motif, filling pages and pages of orange notebooks with orange ink he had delighted in finding. Of course Peter didn’t retire from thinking (or writing). Not content with an academic career, Peter took it upon himself to study for a Master’s Degree in Divinity at the University of Aberdeen, on the works of eighteenth-century theologian and philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. He was awarded the degree in 2022.
Dr King’s writing has undoubtedly contributed to the housing studies academic debate – particularly on the concept of home. For Peter, ‘home’ was a personal, individual endeavour. For all the manner of theoretical constructs he brought to his discussions on housing, it was the everyday lived experience that mattered to him. Peter was irrepressible in car and office conversations, and in his published writing, about what ‘home’ was to him. It was B – his beloved wife, and ‘the girls’ – Helen and Rachel, his daughters of whom he was bursting with pride. My most recent communication from Peter was that his eldest daughter Helen had completed her PhD and was already cleverer than her Father. He was so incredibly proud of his family and loved his ‘home’.
Jo Richardson, October 2023