Horsham doctor and Japanese POW’s photos posthumously displayed at museum

JPCT 080513 S13190547x archive wildlife photographs by Dr Peach, Horsham COPY PICTURE , DO NOT PRINT PHOTO REF NUMBER -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 080513 S13190547x archive wildlife photographs by Dr Peach, Horsham COPY PICTURE , DO NOT PRINT PHOTO REF NUMBER -photo by Steve Cobb
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A Horsham doctor whose life story and stint in a Japanese prisoner of war camp caught national attention will see his wildlife photographs posthumously displayed in the town’s museum.

The stunning collection of award winning bird photographs are on display in the new exhibition at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum & Art Gallery.

HOR 250810 Horsham. Dr Nowell Peach, a 97-year-old who served as a doctor in the Far East and spent three years in prisoner of war camps in Java.  -photo by steve cobb

HOR 250810 Horsham. Dr Nowell Peach, a 97-year-old who served as a doctor in the Far East and spent three years in prisoner of war camps in Java. -photo by steve cobb

They form part of the amazing archive of Nowell Peach, who died in 2012 aged 98, and was one of this country’s leading bird photographers.

He was invited to become a member of the Zoological Photographic Club, which was founded in 1899 and whose membership was limited to just 28 people.

The exhibition in the photographic gallery of deceptively simple black and white images includes those of the great bustard and great crested grebe, taken in the 1960s and exhibited internationally.

For those who take photographs of wildlife will know the quality of the image, those that don’t can admire the patience required to capture that scene.

The archive will take some time to go through but this exhibition provides a taste of a collection that shows his artistic/photographic talents as well as great understanding of natural history.

The archive also complements the Museum’s collection of art by the well-known Horsham doctor, Dr Geoffrey Sparrow; his was the pleasure of the hunt and watercolour, Dr Peach’s the hunt for a particular species and the shot- the skill of the photographer.

Dr Peach is remembered by those outside Horsham as a man who undertook important research into tropical illnesses while a prisoner of war in the Far East between 1942 and 1945. He used his spare time to memorise an entire second-hand copy of Gray’s Anatomy. He features in the book The Barbed-Wire University, by Midge Gillies.

He had given up his Horsham-based medical practice in 1978, so like Dr Sparrow could spend his retirement taking up photography, including exploring the advances in photography that took place in the later part of the twentieth century.

‘On the Wing’ – a collection of original photographs from the Peach Archive will be on display from May 7 to July 6.

Any wildlife experts who may be interested in helping identify birds pictured in the archive can email museum@horsham.gov.uk