Tony Whitwood: Norwich city architect and award winner

An award-winning local government architect, Tony Whitwood, who has died peacefully at his Stoke Holy Cross home aged 79, was praised for his sensitive designs.

When he took early retirement ending a 27-year career in 1993, he was the last to hold the post of Norwich city architect which had been established more than a century earlier.

He joined the city's architect department in 1966 as an assistant, having been elected an associate of his professional body, the Royal Institute of British Architects, a year earlier.

Anthony Charles Whitwood was born in Romford, Essex, on December 21, 1931. He went to the City of London School and trained as an architect while working for Romford Borough Council, then West Riding County Council in Wakefield. He studied at Leeds School of Architecture from 1955.

He went into private practice with Leeds-based Stanley Peach Brown & Partners, where he worked on buildings for the Marie Curie Cancer Foundation.

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When he came to Norfolk, he built the family's home. He also designed housing projects including Somerley Old People's Home in Unthank Road and housing in Pottergate.

He won a Housing Design and Civic Trust Award for his work with homes in Cow Hill. A passionate believer in the provision of good accommodation for all, his work was recognised in Pevsner's renowned Buildings of England books.

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In 1974, he became associate architect to city architect John Pogson. Later, he had special responsibility for a �3.75m refurbishment of the Theatre Royal. It was always close to his heart and in 1993 was invited to join its management team.

Other major projects included the airport buildings and Bowthorpe housing projects. When he became city architect in 1981, it coincided with government cuts which reduced the city's building programme. As a result, the department was deemed too costly and so he had the unenviable task of shutting it down. When it closed in 1993, he was remembered for his warmth and integrity as the last city architect.

In retirement, he became a valued adviser to Norfolk Historic Churches Trust and also the Norwich Preservation Trust. He planned the conversion of St Michael at Coslany in 1982.

He also advised on what became the Roman Catholic diocese of East Anglia at Poringland, where commissions included a replacement altar at the church in 1973.

A parish councillor for Stoke Holy Cross for more than 40 years, he was chairman from 1976 to 1980. He was chairman of governors at St Thomas More RC School, Norwich, and was a founder member of the Norwich St Edmund Rotary Club. A keen sportsman, he played hockey for Norwich Exiles from 1966 to 1987, and later in life took up amateur dramatics and also painting with some success.

Married in 1956, he leaves a wife, Mary, four children, Jane, Robert, Adrian and Paul, eight grandchildren and a great granddaughter.

A Requiem Mass will be held at the Church of Our Lady of Annunciation, Upgate, Poringland, on Tuesday, July 26 at 10.30am.

Michael Pollitt

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