Charles Hillary Brookes ( - 1983)
It is with great sadness that we report on the tragic death of Dr Charles BROOKES on Friday 21st January 1983 in a rail accident.
Charles graduated with a First Class degree in Zoology and Botany at the University of Manchester in 1959. He was awarded the Philip Buckle and Grizedale scholarship to work with me in the Department of Zoology. He broke new ground in the study of the life-histories of millipedes in the field, and provided the base from which many other studies have developed. Like the late Dr Halkka in Finland, initially unknown to him, he discovered the subtle differences in size and shape of the ozadenes which allowed him to trace separate increments of diplosegments over the past several moults. He conducted original and interesting experimental work on the reactions of several blaniulids and the nemasomatid, Nemasoma varicorne, to various environmental stimuli.He was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in 1963 but was already commited to a career in Further Education. His first teaching appointment was at Moston College. Later, at Stockport College he initiated and developed degree courses available to part-time and mature students already in the teaching profession. In order to slant the bias of his subject at Stockport further towards Biochemestry he returned to University to study part-time for a year and took a further Bachelor's degree in Biochemestry. He was worried by the direct effect the Examining Boards were having on the course of advanced biology teaching and gained an appointment to the Board of London University to try to influence policy. He eventually became their chief examiner.
Within seven years Charles had developed degree-level teaching at Stockport College to be the finest available in the North. In 1970 he moved to the newly created Manchester Polytechnic, first as Head of the School of Biology within the Department of Chemestry and Biology, and then, in 1976, as Head of the newly formed Department of Biological Sciences. Here he began again to mould curricula and staff to match the range of new needs of the late seventies, initiated new degree courses, and still managed, during this period, to direct new research on the life-cycle of Blaniulus guttulatus
in the field. His earlier work was presented in part at Manchester Congress in 1972, and the latest work he reported to the Congress in Hamburg in 1978.
Many will remember the efficient and friendly manner in which he organised the Congress Office at Manchester, and the exciting juxtaposition of his contribution on Proteroiulus fuscus
with those of Maija Rantala and Maija Peitsalmi. Although we are proud that Charles' favourite animals were millipedes, his major concern was for people, young people beginning to be excited by Biology as a subject, and the people best able to develop their interests, the teachers. He himself had an immaculate lecturing technique; the success and renown of the Department of Biological Sciences at Manchester Polytechnic owed much to his guidance. In 1980 he was appointed Assistant Director of the Polytechnic with overall responsability for the entire teaching staff. Even with this much heavier administrative responsability, he still had time to telephone me to talk about Dr Peitsalmi's magnum opus on Proteroiulus fuscus
, and he still continued to give some lectures in his old department.
In the Department of Zoology at the University many of his colleagues remember Charles for his staunch defence of the Biological Society Soccer team's goalmouth, for his support of Manchester City Football Club (when all around him were united fans), and especially for his continued and loyal championing of the progressive elements of British Labour policy. Charles was a favourite son of the University Department of Zoology and very many of his former colleagues here will miss him very much.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to his son, Carl Damian, and wish him well for the future.
J. Gordon Blower, April 1983
Copyright © Centre International de Myriapodologie, Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz