Charles Houthuesen: Designed Broadland village’s unique sundial

Charles Houthuesen who designed and made a sundial for the Village of Ludam. The sundial has been ri

Charles Houthuesen who designed and made a sundial for the Village of Ludam. The sundial has been ripped off the stand on the village green and stolen.Photo: Nick ButcherCopy: Stephen PullingerFor: EDPEDP pics © 2007(01603) 772434 - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

A retired architectural model maker, Charles Houthuesen, who has died peacefully aged 101, designed a Broadland village's unique millennium sundial.

But six years after the official unveiling by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, the distinctive aluminium and brass sundial was stolen from Bakers Green, Ludham, in August 2007.

It had taken the then 95-year-old designer six months to make the sundial, which was valued at about £1,000 and incorporated a brass wheel and a design featuring the music of Jupiter from Holst's Planet Suite.

It was partly inspired by the village's St Catherine's Church because according to legend, she had been martyred on a wheel.

Sadly, he actually discovered the theft as he was driving past. The former parish council chairman, David Ritchie, recalled that the thief had even put the screws in a neat pile by the sundial's base. The then vice-chairman, Carol Willoughby, said: 'This is a unique item, specially designed by Mr Houthuesen for the millennium and unveiled by our MP Norman Lamb.'


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Born in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, Mr Houthuesen was brought to England as a baby. He became a highly skilled draughtsman, specialising in the construction of scale architectural models. He won many awards for his designs, especially working with Perspex, and was still working well into his 80s.

He had met his wife, Miranda, who had also trained as a draughtsman, during the second world war.

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Sharing a love of sailing, while on holiday in the Broads, they bought a Norfolk sailing cruiser. They sailed her for many years from Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, until they decided to retire to Norfolk in 1989.

He shared his love of music with his daughters, Daniella and Rosana, who now lives in New Zealand, and became professional musicians.

He is survived by his widow, Miranda, and leaves two daughters, grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A funeral service was held at St Faith's Crematorium on March 7.

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