Heath Old Boys Association


Obituaries


Stuart Petre Brodie Mais: [Heath 1896–1897]

S.P.B. Mais was a prolific British author, journalist and broadcaster. The son of a Bristolian rector, he was born in Birmingham on but raised in Tansley, Derbyshire. where his family moved shortly afterwards.

He attended Heath from to , being a pupil in the Lower 3rd and Upper 3rd during his brief time at the school. He then went to Dunstone School in Staffordshire and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied English Literature.

After graduating, he taught at a number of schools including Rossall and Sherborne and later worked for The Oxford Times and the national press on Fleet Street.

From the 1920s to the 1950s he was widely read and listened to. He wrote over 200 books, of which his best is considered to be This Unknown Island,1 a collection of his talks and essays. All are,.alas, long out of print, but easy to find in second-hand bookshops. A man of prodigious energy, he apparently was once working on 14 books at the same time! Churchill was said to have remarked, That man makes me feel tired. Many of his books are accounts of his travels around Britain.

Mais broadcast for numerous wireless programmes for the BBC between the 1920s and 1940s. He began to broadcast a Letter From America in 1933, 13 years before it was made famous by Alistair Cooke.

He was married twice to Doris Snow and then to Jill Doughty. S.P.B (who preferred to be called Petre), was an ardent campaigner for the English countryside and traditions; he was also broad minded and innovative.

S.P.B. died in April 1975 at Lindfield, Sussex.

A biography, Robson, Maisie (2005) An unrepentant Englishman: the life of S.P.B. Mais, Ambassador of the Countryside Goldthopre, Rotherham: King's England Press, is no longer in print.

Updated from the original by David Botomley

1Mais, Stuart Petre Brodie (1946) This unknown island London: The Falcon Press