Sir Geoffrey Peacock

Obituary – The Times – 10-04-1991

An interesting man whose obituary was unfortunately sanitised, pedestrianised and subbed-to-death by a Times sub-editor.

By Christopher Long

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Sir Geoffrey Peacock, CVO, barrister and ceremonial officer to the City of London, died after being involved in a road accident on March 28, aged 71. He was born on February 7, 1920.

Geoffrey Peacock was knighted by the Queen ten years ago after organising the celebrations marking the silver jubilee celebrations. At the end of the second world war he presided over the war crimes court in Singapore.

Peacock was educated at Wellington and gained a scholarship in classics to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he rowed for the college. In 1939 he joined the Royal Artillery as a private soldier ending the war as a lieutenant -colonel in the Royal Lincolnshire regiment. After presiding over the war crimes court in Singapore he returned to civilian life and was called to the bar by the Inner Temple in 1948.

The following year he became a legal assistant in the solicitor's department of the Treasury, rising by 1958 to become the government's senior legal assistant. As a criminal specialist he was involved in a number of sensitive cases including the Profumo affair and an inquiry into the potentially disastrous landing of a plane of the Queen's Flight at Heathrow in 1959.

It was in his services to the City of London that Peacock was perhaps best known. He entered the Pewterers' Company in 1942, becoming a member in 1969. In 1968 he was appointed the City's Remembrancer giving him responsibility for ceremonial organisation and liaison between the City, Parliament and the Lord Chamberlain's Office. He held this position until 1981 handling many state visits and the Queen's silver wedding celebrations as well the silver jubilee.

Peacock was widely acknowledged as one of the most unflappable masters of ceremony in the minefields of protocol. His coolness in emergencies coupled with his charm are believed to have assisted the City to defeat attempts by the then Labour controlled Greater London Council to abolish the corporation of the City of London by means of a private member's bill in 1977.

Eight years later he played an influential role in preventing the Magistrates Courts Act from entirely abolishing the position of aldermen as magistrates. For his services to the Crown and the City he was made a CVO in 1977 and knighted in 1981. He was elected a master of the Pewterers' Company from 1985 to 1987.

Peacock was chairman and whipper-in of the Brighton and Storrington Foot Beagles and a member of the Chiddingfold and Leconfield Hunt.

He is survived by his wife, Gillian, whom he married in 1949, and by their two daughters.

Sir Geoffrey was the father of a friend, Jane Peacock, who married my old school-friend Tim Demery.

© (1991) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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