Royston Foot obituary


My father, Royston Foot, who has died aged 95, was a civil engineer with an experience in precast concrete who labored in motorway building and on newspaper buildings. He was a key a part of the design workforce for Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham, which lately celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.

Initially, he was irritated by the identify and at all times known as it Gravelly Hill Interchange, however over time, he grew to just accept after which to please in it. He was interviewed a number of occasions for the BBC and featured in a collection, The Secret Lifetime of the Motorway, telling tales about its building and design.

Roy was born to Jessica (nee Hawes) and Wilfred Foot within the Boleyn space of east London, throughout the highway from West Ham United’s Upton Park stadium. Unsurprisingly, he was a lifelong fan. His father, a docker, inspired him to pursue an expert profession. Roy excelled at East Ham grammar faculty and after serving within the Navy for the final yr of the second world conflict, he skilled as a structural engineer at South West Essex technical faculty in Walthamstow.

In 1951 he joined Sir Alexander Gibb and Companions and in 1956 was recruited by Sir Owen Williams, the designer of the unique Wembley Stadium, as an engineer at his agency. Williams specialised in concrete constructions, together with motorways and newspaper buildings, whose printing presses required bolstered basements. Whereas nonetheless in his 20s, Roy was resident engineer on the Every day Mirror constructing growth at Holborn Circus, London.

Spaghetti Junction, now 50 years old, was designed over a compact area so as to avoid the demolition of more houses.
Spaghetti Junction, now 50 years outdated, was designed over a compact space in order to keep away from the demolition of extra homes. {Photograph}: Karl Hendon/Getty Pictures

In the course of the Sixties, he labored on the Midland Hyperlinks motorway mission, later to grow to be the M6 and M5 motorways. He was a lead engineer on the design and building of Spaghetti Junction, of which he was enormously proud. He would discuss in regards to the very restricted space inside which it was constructed, minimising the variety of homes that wanted to be demolished for the scheme, and of the railway, canals and rivers operating by it.

In the course of the Seventies and 80s Roy’s working focus turned extra worldwide. He had a particular love for Hong Kong and spent a while in China coaching civil engineers. Again dwelling, he undertook extra UK newspaper initiatives with the Mirror Group, now underneath the management of Robert Maxwell, with whom he had a fractious relationship. He was a fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Structural Engineers and the Institute of Highways and Transportation.

He retired from Sir Owen Williams and Companions as joint managing companion in 1992.

Roy cherished opera and the theatre and was an ardent fan of Kent county cricket membership and West Ham. He was a person of religion who took nice consolation within the church, attending Holy Cross in Bearsted, Kent.

He met Denise Davidson once they each, aged 16, have been working at London County council. They married in 1950 and settled in New Eltham, London. In 1963 they moved to Petts Wooden, the place they introduced up their three sons, Denis, Nigel and me. In 2011 they moved to Mote Park, Maidstone.

Denise died in 2016. Roy is survived by their sons and by 5 grandchildren, Antonia, Emma, Andrew, Catherine and Jennie, and two great-grandchildren, Maddox and Lucy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here