Peter Richards obituary


The function of the native authority conservation officer is way misunderstood and maligned. My father, Peter Richards, who has died aged 94, did a lot to position the self-discipline on a correct skilled footing and exhibit what it may obtain. He headed a multidisciplinary workforce at Essex county council from 1974 to 1994 and led the restoration of essential historic buildings and their gardens for public use, such because the Grade-I medieval barns at Cressing Temple close to Witham – considered one of which is believed to be the oldest standing timber-framed barn on this planet – and Copped Corridor, Epping.

Peter mixed sound conservation ideas, a practical strategy and private integrity. He was a founder member in 1982 of the Affiliation of Conservation Officers, which in 1995 grew to become the Institute of Historic Buildings and Conservation. Peter was conscious that this was a younger career and was very supportive of youthful officers who regarded on him a job mannequin. He additionally served on English Heritage’s historic constructing committee for six years.

He was not afraid to combat a troublesome trigger, as he confirmed when supporting authorized motion in 1995 towards the Conservative MP Teresa Gorman, who undertook work on her listed home with out permission. He persuaded the Conservative-led Essex council to help Thurrock council (then Labour) in pursuing their native MP, a case which ended with Gorman dropping and being fined.

Within the Sixties and early 70s, Peter labored in Southend borough architects division at an thrilling time of municipal confidence and public expenditure. He labored on Southend’s civic centre (opened in 1967), a brand new well being centre and the pedestrianisation of Southend Excessive Road.

Peter was born in Smethwick and grew up in Worcester, the one son of Charles, a neighborhood businessman and election agent for the Liberal get together, and Edith (nee Fieldhouse). He gained a scholarship to the King’s college, Worcester, however his additional schooling on the Birmingham Faculty of Structure was interrupted by nationwide service in Egypt (1947-49). He resumed his architectural research whereas working as a draftsman, attaining his full RIBA {qualifications} in 1957.

He married Wendy (then know as Joan) Brooks, from Southend-on-Sea, in 1952 – they’d been teenage pen-friends – and so they had three kids, Paul, Sam and Ruth. Wendy died in 2012 from dementia. Peter was her carer all through her sickness.

Within the early years of their marriage they lived in Tempsford, Bedfordshire, and on a moist night time in 1955 they invited two rain-soaked hitchhikers into their house to dry out. They had been Bradford Artwork Faculty college students, David Hockney and Norman Stevens, travelling to London for an exhibition. Each would turn out to be common in a single day visitors in Tempsford, a handy hitchhiking stopover, and made artworks for Peter and Wendy as marks of their friendship. Hockney despatched them a sixtieth marriage ceremony anniversary card from his iPad.

Following his retirement in 1994, Peter served on the Copped Corridor Belief and as chairman of the Chelmsford Diocesan advisory committee for six years. He was an important fan of jazz, amassing a set of 1000’s of information and CDs, and from 2018, wrote prolifically for an internet jazz journal.

Peter is survived by his second spouse, Ann Husselbee, whom he married in 2019; and by his three kids, three granddaughters, Sadie, Grace and Alice, and two great-granddaughters, Imogen and Ada.


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