Obituary: Michael Brookes


Obituary: Michael Brookes

We were sad to learn recently of the death of Michael Brookes on 20 August at the age of 91. The College was grateful to be represented at Michael’s memorial by Emeritus Fellows Tom Hassall and Charles Mould.

Although in later years he had not been much around the College, Michael played a key role in the College’s vital move from St Cross Road to St Giles.

Michael Brookes was elected a Member of Common Room of the College in 1966, and a Fellow by Special Election in 1972. He clearly relished the communal life of the College, particularly in its early years. He was excited to be a member of a newly-established graduate college with ambitions to grow and expand. He was a close confidant of the College’s first Master, Kits van Heyningen, and took his College membership seriously. He devoted much time and effort to raising the profile of the College across the University.

In the 1970s he produced a number of proposals for extension of the College’s premises at St Cross Road which, for various reasons did not come to fruition. But in the mid-1970s his understanding of the Oxford scene as the University’s Land Agent enabled him to work with others to help bring about the mutually beneficial arrangement whereby St Cross purchased a lease on those of the Pusey House buildings which were no longer useful to that organisation, along with the land behind those buildings, where our South and West Wings now stand.

He was fascinated by the history and culture of the Middle East, but his trips to places such as the UAE, Oman and Kuwait were also motivated by the desire to establish links of benefit to the College.

In 1984, the College’s second Master, Godfrey Stafford, wrote to Michael to let him know that the College had elected him to a Supernumerary Fellowship, following Michael’s move to Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. The Master wrote: ‘The meeting recorded the great debt of gratitude the College owes you for all you have done over the years, and, in particular of course, with regard to the move to Pusey House…..I am quite sure that, without you, the College would not be where it is today’.

Our thoughts are with his family.


1 October 2018