Doug Holly obituary

My friend and colleague Doug Holly, who has died aged 89, spent most of his career at the University of Leicester school of education, where he taught others to be humanities teachers and also wrote three books on educational topics.

The son of Norman Holly, a pharmacist, and his wife, Miriam (nee Lewis), Doug was born in Tonypandy and raised in Bridgend, South Wales. A slow starter academically, he failed his 11-plus but later managed to secure a place at Cowbridge grammar school, going on to study at what is now Queen Mary University London, and then at the University of London’s Institute of Education, where he did his teacher training and became president of the student union. It was there that he also met and later married Eileen Darby, who was studying at nearby University College London.

Doug worked as an English teacher in some of London’s first comprehensive schools, including Eltham Green school in the south-east of the city. In 1967 he took up his post at Leicester, where he remained until his retirement in 1992.

During the 1970s Doug had three books published in quick succession: Society, Schools and Humanity (1971), Beyond Curriculum (1973) and Education or Domination? (1974), the last of which contained contributions from some of the UK’s top educationists and sociologists. Together they represented an important body of deeply philosophical and critical writings on education and society.

Doug and Eileen divorced in 1979, and thereafter he lived alone. But he was never lonely – anyone who knew Doug would attest to his sociable personality. He gathered around him a wonderful group of friends, including many of his ex-students, and travelled extensively. Nobody loved a party more than Doug.

He was also active in a range of campaigning organisations, including CND, Campaign Against Arms Trade and Friends of the Earth.

He is survived by the three daughters from his marriage, Sue, Judi and Maggie.

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