Tribute to Roy Worskett

Posted on 9th November 2014 by Malcolm Hankey

A Tribute to Roy Worskett, former employee of the Civic Trust who sadly passed away in August 2014

by Victor Rose (Civic Trust Awards National Panel)

Born in Horsham West Sussex he studied architecture at the Portsmouth School of Architecture, going on to ground breaking work at the Civic Trust on conservation and later wrote the seminal work ‘The Character of Towns: An Approach to Conservation in 1969.

I first met Roy when he joined the Civic Trust in the early 1960’s a couple of years after me and I assisted him on numerous projects , firstly Co-Ordinated  Street Improvement Schemes in Dorking in Surrey and Christchurch in Dorset, the ‘Look Before You Paint’ campaign and the definitive manual on the subject of improving your town ‘ Pride of Place’. He worked on the ground breaking legislation of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 which included the first concept of conservation areas and their protection, led through parliament by the Rt.Hon. Duncan Sandys president of the Trust. He was involved in the Civic Trust Awards in its early years and help shape the future of the scheme.  

He went onto a distinguished  career in the field of conservation – Historic Areas Division at the Department of the Environment, City Architect and Chief Planner for the City of Bath and Professor Of Urban Studies at Bath University, I was fortunate to work with him again on his exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society in Bath. We worked together again during my time at the Architectural Heritage Fund from 1977-2000, Roy was a member of the Fund’s Council of Management which lends funds for restoration projects.

He became a private consultant and worked on a diverse range of projects –The Craft Council, commissions for the Mansion House and County Hall In London, for the Ford Foundation in India advising the government on how to include conservation in town planning, visiting professor at International Centre for Conservation in Rome and recently  consultant  for Brighton Palace Pier. He was a founder member of the Horsham Society and its Vice President and was always took great and sometimes outspoken interest in the town he did much for the well-being of Horsham .

Roy was a champion of the Arts, an accomplished artist himself we frequently bump into him during the Gallery Trial at the Arundel Festival or in Chichester on his way to the Pallant House Gallery.

He loved contemporary jazz and was a pretty mean pianist himself, I remember my first recollection of Roy’s playing, we were in Christchurch walking down to breakfast in the hotel, Roy spotted a piano he immediately sat down and played some jazz – modern and improvised with- out any sheet music it was great.

He was a great mentor and friend I shall cherish the memories.

Victor Rose

November 2014

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