Dr Peter Hall. 1931-2016
Published May 15, 2019 by Peter Hall in Journal
My father was born Petra Hecht in Czechoslovakia in 1931, escaping to England with his parents after their home was ransacked by the Gestapo while they were sheltering with family after the Nazi invasion. He settled in England, completed his national service with the RAF as a Wing Commander and eventually became a senior consultant psychiatrist. He worked for many years in the NHS and pioneered much of the work around “care in the community” and later specialised in eating disorders.
To me and my two brothers he was just “Dad”. I remember fondly all those childhood moments with him that seemed inconsequential at the time and only now do I realise how precious they were: walks in the countryside, family holidays and his amazing ability to blow double smoke rings when smoking his pipe!
He was very keen on his trees and long recognised the importance of a good quality environment to mental health. His Phd in 1963 was on this very subject. Although he settled and brought up his family South of the border he was very familiar and fond of Edinburgh. As a newly qualified doctor in the 1950s he served as a locum in Leith for a few months and was a regular visitor when I settled in Edinburgh in the 90s. He always said that Edinburgh reminded him a little of Prague and I know that both professionally and personally, he would very much approve of any work to protect and enhance the benefits from the trees of Edinburgh.