In his final year as an undergraduate, inspired by a lecture course in the mathematical theory of elasticity, he expressed to Peierls a wish to work for a PhD in that subject. At that time there was no one on Peierls staff able to supervise graduate work in elasticity, but Peierls had been a member of the academic council of the recently-founded University College of North Staffordshire (later Keele University), and he knew that a Birmingham graduate working at Keele could submit a thesis to the University of Birmingham in support of an application for a higher degree. Thus it came about that George, who had graduated BSc with 2.1 Honours in 1951, became (supported by a DSIR Grant) the first graduate student at Keele, an institution beginning its second year of existence, and at which the Professor of Mathematics (E N Sneddon) was the only applied mathematician on the academic staff! However, they were soon joined by A J M Spencer, B Noble and D Berry. The resulting group, though small, was close-knit and lively. Not only did they interact with each other but also with the young lecturers in pure mathematics, which may be partly explained by the fact that each of them lived on the campus and only Sneddon was married.