Thursday, 21 November 2013

Stephen Hill 08/04/1955 until too recently...


Some summaries of Stephen's life and loves from his brother Martin, who he never had a bruvver like...

Stephen was a unique individual who I will miss every day of my life from now until the last breath that I draw

He was my sweet eldest brother and an amazing individual with a particular take on politics, community, the economy and Margaret Thatcher

I'm going to put up my own memories about Stephen but would love others to regard this as a type of wardrobe that just seeks to provide a sample of hangers for his interests and ideas. Do put up your own content on other sites if you like and we can link to it from here, or add comments or send me any comments.
If like us your feeling really sad we do think that the Derek & Clive link is extremely therapeutic!

My categories are:

Music - he loved music, was both loyal to his old favourites and always looking for and listening to new music.. you couldn't stop him, he'd always want to tell you about who he'd heard recently and what. Thanks to Dominic - forgotten about Lindisfarne and Fog on the Tyne..'Slipping down slowly, slipping down sideways sickly sausage rolls'!

Community - this is what he said was the key thread to all of his interests.. and shows in the broad spectrum of his work.

Kites - he loved them. Describing why he loved them would probably show how I'd missed the point! Really simple - bamboo and paper, but so strong if built right. Ancient, simple...(& ask me I'll tell you my own theory!)

Flying Kites with Phones in Crab Park Vancouver

Wood, Woodwork, Trees - Stephen ran a specific woodwork community project, but always loved wood, great furniture, he fell in love with Cedar and it's unique properties when living in Canada

Bikes - A long term theme. I'll never forget the first time he lent me his bike, and I realised how fast you could go on a good bike and how if you got onto a great bike all of your energy just made it go forwards faster.  I always felt bikes were also a shorthand for a form of community, a form of simple community and espressed a joy of a certain sort of technology. All 3 in one. Cyclists you have nothing to lose but your chains... never quite sure how he felt about Boris' (Ken created) vision?

Aura - if Stephen liked something it had a particular aura to it. It became special. It could be the assistant at the local pharmacy who was so considerate, it could be a pint of beer from {Tring insert as necessary } - brewery, it could be panniers in the picture above.

Links - please see below - key links to Stephen's websites that he built.

Mobilizing Mouse - Stephen's own website - His ideas and writings

Stephen Global CV His life in 28 chapters

With Glowing Hearts - Trailer set in Downtown Eastside Stephen was in it and funded it

My Stevo Spotify Playlist..Thanks to Stephen, Susan, John, Phoebe, Hazel, Aileen, Paul

Eulogy for Stephen's friend Nigel Graves - don't wait to connect!

UCS School Photo 1969!

1969 Ads & Gigs - for the year..

Swearing.. He did love a good swear! For several years 10+ ! he would always pick up the phone to me and say 'Hello Bastard!' - I think Alexei Sayle was originally to blame, but not just him.  He was also the first person to show me what was happening with youtube and these links were some of his favourites...for swearing that is...

.. and more from the Wake.. and then someone told me that they last saw Stephen 30 years ago, and they remembered him saying that he wanted to die young like Shelley, and how keen he was on Shelley...  and how at age 18 he had changed her life by giving her confidence..Seems like he did that all of his life.



  1. Wonderful blog! Brings back many happy memories. Danny xx

  2. I'll be adding various thoughts, imperfect recollections, reflections, comments ...... I first must have met Stephen at the JB (University College School Junior Branch Holly Hill Hampstead). I started there in the Third Form in 1964 - age 9 - and he perhaps a year or two later? I don't remember so much now, and the few snaps I have from then don't include him (and few include me, for that matter). I'll scan what little there is - in fact I scanned the 1969 school photo for him a few years ago that he and others annotated with names - still some missing - that is linked above on the school web site.

    He wasn't as far as I recall involved in some of the things I was. There was the school choir, with David Norman, Hampstead Parish Church Choir, Oxfam Walk '68, and Oxfam Walk '69.

    I was down Archway Road seeing friends for lunch on a Sunday recently (October 2013) in Priory Gardens, and went past where the Oxfam Walk '69 office/shop was, and the Winchester, and popped in there for a point for old times sake :-) I was an area organiser/recruiter in North Finchley, and also did work in the office in Archway Road (packing sending off t-shirts etc) and on the day bunked off the church choir (it was a Sunday, and Martindale Sidwell had already said that I couldn't have the day off - clearly I felt there was a higher order obligation!) to be a small helper on the day at Wembley Stadium.

    I walked Oxfam Walk '68 with my elder brothers (and possibly elder sister?) - c. 20 or 25 miles from somewhere like Harrow to Golders Green - it was a winding route starting in the dark and ending late afternoon/early evening - organised by Giles Pegram and others in the 6th Form. '69 was on a vastly bigger scale, and sort of inspired me in some way. Giles was a sort of role model I suppose, and I have met him since in the last 10 years as I've been in fundraising - and he was Director of Fundraising and Development at NSPCC.

    I'm not sure if Stephen got involved with either of them - and don't recall if others did, whether walking or working.

    Some of the bands playing at Wembley might have well been ones Stephen appreciated along with others listed at

    Procol Harum perhaps or that may have been my older brother Peter. There was definitely Lindisfarne - at one memorable birthday party (I can't remember where now - possibly at Jane Parkinson's - and was it Stephen's birthday?) Stephen did the music (He had some sort of 3 in 1 Amstrad machine I think) and produced real exotica - crates of Newcastle Brown Ale - and I think he must have also influenced my taste in music. I still have a copy of Fog on the Tyne. Others include Steeleye Span, Vinegar Joe (one still remembered night he organised, perhaps with Nigel Graves, was at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street to see Vinegar Joe - my ears rang for days after), Maddie Pryor, Moody Blues Days of Future Passed ...... and if I find and get my small vinyl collection out I'll probably list more.

  3. A roam around various interests prompted by walking with a (and now real ale drinker mainly) friend's (from Sweden) interest in knowing more about the history of London that he has lived in for c. 25 years - has led us to trolley buses, buses, the living river and inland waterways, and of course ale and beers.

    Others will no doubt have other memories and it was this celebration (it should include keg bitter of course) that prompted me to try and remember some of the significant formative beers of my/our teens.

    At parties from the late '60s there would be the ubiquitous Party 4s and 7s from Watneys, and the party Stephen laid in crates of Newcastle Brown Ale for one birthday. Cider - Blackthorn Dry or Dry Blackthorn from the Taunton Cider Company was one and Autumn Gold their sweet product. Some of us were in Hampstead Parish Church Choir and it was a good Saturday when we had 3 or 4 weddings to sing at - each at 7/6d a pop - and got our morning payment so that we could have lunch (fish and chips typically) followed by a half of cider at the King of Bohemia. The afternoon weddings would go off with a definite pace, fuelled also by our organist and choirmaster Martindale Sidwell's own impatience and likely good lunch :-)

    I first came across real ale at the Lamb and Flag Covent Garden around 1969/70, or possibly at the Winchester in Archway Road which was just across from the Oxfam Walk '69 office. I remember a very good shepherds pie at the Winchester but not the beer. The licensee of the Lamb and Flag Mr Bessenger insisted on keeping cask Courage Best and Directors, and I don't think that any of the other pubs we used had any real ale.

    It was otherwise pretty well all keg beer. There was Ben Truman Export Draught and assorted ephemera Ind Coope Double Diamond, Courage Tavern, Whitbread Tankard, .......... the list is long and the beers rather dreary

    There was Younger's Tartan Bitter at the Roundhouse Garrick Street, Worthington 'E' would be around possibly at the Green Man and French Horn St Martin's Lane, Watneys at the Frigate on the corner of Upper St Martins Lane, and I'm not sure what would have been on at Hennekey's Long Bar High Holborn (now the Citie of Yorke).

    Websters Pennine bitter was on sale at the Leeming Bar Motel, a regular stop on United Automobile Services express coach service between London and Durham/Newcastle in the early to mid 1970s. Websters beers must have had some merit and appeal. Whilst very few of the old keg bitters have survived there's plenty of the lagers around.

    And a wonderful article from New Scientist 1973 on beer research and development came up - note the connection with Ben Truman Draught Bitter (Titan I don't remember)

  4. And more ......

    In Hampstead after (but probably not before) school there was also the Holly Bush off Holly Hill. I don't recall getting in there from JB days :-) but in any event it was keg Ind Coope Double Diamond that worked it's undoubted wonders. The Coach and Horses in Heath Street was a favourite - I think with Murray Allison, Paul Manski, Mark Dickenson and probably others: Courage Best and bar billiards; the Three Horsehoes down the road was dire - Truman keg beers - and the William IV (by the time I was back in London in 1980 it was a gay pub with lousy real ale). Down on Finchley Road there was the Refectory (? or was that the pub at Golders Green) next to Finchley Road and Frognal station (which reminds me that we were all involved in Stephen Joseph's Save the North London Line campaign): whatever it was called it was dire beer, and when headmaster Black-Hawkins told the licensee to not serve UCS boys he just ignored him.

    The annual school cross-country run brought back memories - painful ones in part. Did we have to do one from the JB as well as in the senior school? This pretty 'sadistical' visitation on those who were not so sporty or fit was relieved once we were in Mike Densham's Transitus Economics class - since he used us as human pointing devices / check points. We'd start by going up with him (and was it David Lund?) to Jack Straw's Castle for a switf 'arve and then onto the Heath to be stationed at the key points. And after it was all over the flock would be gathered and then back to Jack Straw's Castle and eventually back to Fognal.

  5. Events since November, including the veneration and almost immaculate instant beatification of Mandela prompted some more thoughts. I'm pretty sure now that it was Stephen that prompted joining Amnesty International and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. That must have been Transitus/6th Form sort of time - 1972/3? - and there was still some of the pamphlets and books around in one of the many boxes in store at my stepfather's house. Sadly a lot had been badly spoiled by damp and mice and only fit for the bonfire. I never got wholly persuaded by Stephen's arguments about the Palestinian cause ...... was that Arafat's PLO or George Habash's PFLP?

  6. Never underestimate the positive impact that a moment of one's life may have upon another human being.

    Seeing the photo of Stephen flying a kite in Vancouver brought that moment flooding back with tears. The tilt of his head, the half closed eyes, the mother of all smiles, the full sun on his face, the joy of the moment; everything was exactly as I remember it when we were 11 years old.

    At that young age of my own social awkwardness, I knew that Stephen had something to teach me. Yet I was already embarked on a downward spiral; and it would be decades before I experienced the sunlight as he did.

    That exemplary image of him has always stayed with me, and has enabled me to gauge my own progress and understand when I had arrived. What Stephen taught through the example of his life was the joy of helping others, awareness of one's environment, the importance of community; the intensity and reward of social interaction.

    I am grateful that Stephen and I had the opportunity to exchange touching e-mails in recent years. I am grateful for having been touched by his existence.

  7. Sadly the links to the UCS web site are broken ..... I've still got a scan of the 1969 school photo somewhere. I've also come across this footage from mainly Frognal but some of Holly Hill in the early '70s - Julian noted at 34:40

    There's also been an inquiry from a journalist about Mike Densham. Has anyone else been approached?

    "Chap called Mike Densham (who died in 98). Nothing confirmed or anything near it at present. But the police appear to be investigating whether he was involved in an establishment paedophile ring whose other members included the Labour MP Greville Janner.

    There are suggestions that the two were mates and that GJ would often come to UCS to lecture Densham's politics students. I'm trying to see if that rings a bell with former staff and teachers..."

  8. I just heard Stephen passed away yesterday and am incredibly sad, but very grateful for his inspiring presence in my world. Here I thought we'd just lost touch... Thank you for sharing this page! He was a great kindred spirit and is very missed.

  9. Just came across this - I knew Stephen in the late eighties early nineties when I worked with him on cycle campaigns supporting cycling in Worcester he was such a great character and passionate about what was right for people -kinda lost track after he left the UK. Thoughts are with you even if this is 3 years late. I still have a bike he made and sold to me so has meaning
    With kind thoughts and memories of Stephen

    Lawrie Baker

  10. Hi, I too was on the Oxfam Walk 69, biking up to the office from Camberwell. ARO 169. I can still remember me number. Oh 63 now and did we really do all this.