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Architect will be missed

PUBLISHED: 12:23 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 01 July 2010

AN ARCHITECT who designed a bold and imaginative theatre has died aged 84, writes Kate Mead. Former Deputy Borough Architect for Bromley, Ken Wilson from Shoreham, designed many buildings in London and the Midlands including The Churchill Theatre and

AN ARCHITECT who designed a "bold and imaginative" theatre has died aged 84, writes Kate Mead.

Former Deputy Borough Architect for Bromley, Ken Wilson from Shoreham, designed many buildings in London and the Midlands including The Churchill Theatre and the neighbouring 16-storey Central Library in Bromley High Street which was opened by Prince Charles in 1977.

Chief Executive Derek Nicholls of The Churchill Theatre said: "Ken Wilson's vision for The Churchill Theatre was a bold and imaginative one.

"He designed a very flexible theatre space, intimate enough for the successful presentation of drama, and spacious enough for major musicals and dance.

"This is not an insignificant achievement, as many theatre buildings are good for one kind of show, but not good for others."

Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment and Leisure at Bromley council, said: "Although I didn't know Ken personally, the theatre and library are still central to the borough and are much used even today. They remain a longstanding legacy to the borough.

"Although Ken was a keen historian, author and artist, his visionary foresight has meant that we have buildings today that provide a centre for our cultural heritage to not merely survive, but truly thrive."

It was at The Churchill Theatre in 1977 that he met his wife Sheila, who was working there at the time. They married two years later, in 1979, and had four children.

Born in Barnoldswick, Yorkshire on March 15 1923, Mr Wilson was educated at Ermysted's Grammar School.

He then worked as a coalman for a year in the family business before he was awarded the County Scholarship to Leeds School of Architecture.

After serving in the army for three years during the war he qualified as both an architect and town planner enabling him to embark on a career in local government.

Also a keen painter and historical researcher, he exhibited his art and drawn researched historical displays in several libraries.

In retirement, he obtained a BA degree from the Open University and in collaboration with his wife, published 20 books, most of which were illustrated with his own drawings.

He was an active member of the Shoreham and District Historical Society and gave talks on Shoreham's history and was a local newspaper correspondent. He died last Friday in Prince Royal Hospital, Farnborough.

He leaves behind his wife of 29 years; children Raymond, Christine, Simon and Matthew; daughter in laws Amanda and Ann and two grandchildren Alana and Adam.

His funeral is due to take place tomorrow followed by a celebration of his life is due to be held at 11am this Saturday, February 2, in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Shoreham.

The family request no flowers but donations to NSPCC or St Peter's and Paul's Extension Fund -contact Reverend Richard Freeman at St Peter and St Paul, The Vicarage, Station Road, Shoreham.

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