Letters from Dudley Moore to his teacher come to Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 09:35 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:35 16 July 2013

Bob Miller hands letters to Clare Sexton, Assistant Archivist.

Bob Miller hands letters to Clare Sexton, Assistant Archivist.


A bundle of intriguing air-mail letters from Dudley Moore to his former music teacher have been donated to the Dagenham school where the pair first met.

The letters to Peter Cork, who taught Dudley at Dagenham County High (now Sydney Russell) in the 1950s, were written between 1980 and 1994 when the famous film star, comedian and composer lived in Hollywood.

They were published in a book called Letters From Dudley in 2006 by Peter’s friend, radio documentary maker Piers Plowright, and given to Piers not long before Peter died of cancer last year.

“I was very honoured when he asked me if I would look after the letters,” said Piers. “But it seemed to me that they really belonged to the school where Peter and Dudley had first met, and where the inspiring teacher and brilliant pupil had begun such a creative relationship.”

Piers passed on the letters to friend and former Dagenham County High pupil Bob Miller and on Friday he handed them to Valence House Museum, where they will be kept on behalf of the school.

Bob, 65, who started at the Dagenham County High after Dudley left in 1956 but later met the star as part of a charity event, said: “I’ve read the letters and they are very interesting. They show his outlook on life, his views on Hollywood, his insecurities. He was a funny man, but the letters reveal his more serious side.”

“It’s wonderful that they are now in Dagenham for lots of people to enjoy.”

Peter, who died aged 86, was a music teacher at the school for around six years in the 1950s and according to Dudley was a huge influence on the boy. They struck up a friendship some years later.

Dudley died in 2002 aged 66 after suffering from the degenerative brain disorder supranuclear palsy.

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