Obituary: Hampstead’s Pippa Pugh was at heart of literary party set

09:00 16 February 2014

Pippa Pugh pictured at a street party outside her Hampstead home to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Pippa Pugh pictured at a street party outside her Hampstead home to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton


Pippa Pugh, who has died at the age of 92, lived in Hampstead all her adult life.

She moved to a flat in Cannon Place in 1946 with husband Mick Catesby, who had left the Army after service in Africa and Italy.

He had been awarded the Military Cross for bravery during the siege of Monte Cassino.

Pippa and Mick married in 1944 in Devon and didn’t see each other again for three years.

During that time, Pippa worked as a theatre nurse in Exeter, but, with the war over, she was expected only to keep house for her husband, who found a job in the family business, Catesby’s lino and carpets, in Tottenham Court Road.

They had a child, Deborah, while at Cannon Place in 1947 and, with Pippa pregnant for a second time with Prue, they moved a short distance to East Heath Road and then to Platts Lane, on the other side of the Heath, where they had a third daughter, Julie.

Platts Lane became one of the venues for a group of young Hampstead parents who formed the Hampstead Playreading group, including Penelope (Mops) Fitzgerald – later a winner of the Booker Prize for her novel Offshore and subject of a recent biography by Hermione Lee. Celia Ramsey, another novelist, was also a member.

The Boxing Day party at 44 Platts Lane was a feature of their circle for many years and set a precedent for Pippa’s love of a good party, which went on and included her 92nd birthday on January 17 this year.

Pippa worked for about 20 years at the Royal Free Hospital as a volunteer in the speech therapy department. She was particularly involved with stroke patients after caring for Bill Pugh, her second husband, for many years.

Always interested in medical matters, she was employed as a receptionist for Dr Arning in Swiss Cottage.

She moved to Sandy Road, opposite the Bull and Bush, after marrying Bill Pugh in 1964.

She and her daughter Julie later moved to Bay Tree Cottage, a few doors along the road, where she stayed until she died on February 4.

Pippa (1922-2014) is survived by her daughters, Deb, Prue and Julie, by four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


Latest News Stories

Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

The Camden school where two Islamic State (IS) recruits were pupils has released a statement to parents.

Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Carl Ryan, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, outside court (Picture: Central News)

A Camden-based detective accused of hampering investigations into six sex cases made a female colleague feel “uncomfortable, alienated and isolated”, a court heard.

Patrick Fitzgerald Shaw

A woman who was subjected to repeated violent rapes by a man who threatened to kill her and post sexual images of her online has spoken out to encourage other rape victims to come forward.

Traders and Highgate Neighbourhood Forum members Jane Wiles, Rachel Allison, Louise Lewis, Allan Rapley and Emine Gokturk  launch Highgate's first live advent calendar. Picture: Nigel Sutton

For adults and children, the suspense of waiting each day to find out what is underneath the window of your advent calendar is one of the joys of the Christmas season.

The Friends of Parkland Walk has released its own set of Christmas cards, all using images of the leafy nature reserve

These tranquil, snowy scenes look as if they were photographed in the depths of the countryside, rather than in the middle of a capital city.

Save Autism Services Haringey protesters outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green. Photo: Martin Ball

Families of vulnerable adults believe that dementia and autism services can still be saved – if council tax is increased.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder