Havering Museum is grand legacy for creator

Ian Wilkes

Ian Wilkes - Credit: Havering Museum

Tributes have been paid to the man behind the borough’s museum, a “supporter of all things Havering”.

Ian Wilkes died last week, at the age of 83.

He had formed the Friends of Havering Museum in 2000 to campaign for the creation of a place to share the borough’s rich history, with his wife, Pamela, as company secretary.

Following a £1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and an agreement to take over part of the Old Romford Brewery building, in High Street, he proudly declared the museum open on May 26, 2010.

Peter Stewart, chairman of the museum, said: “Without Ian and the vigorous campaigning of the group of friends, Havering Museum would not exist.

“Now we are firmly established as the heritage and community hub of the borough.

“Apart from his work on behalf of the Museum, Ian was a highly respected and at times, shall I say forceful, councillor and supporter of all things Havering.

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“He leaves Pamela, four sons and an enormous legacy both at the museum and the borough that we can all be very proud of and one that will be difficult to follow.”

Mr Wilkes was chairman of the museum’s board of directors until 2014 when he stood down due to ill-health.

As well as spearheading the museum’s creation he was a successful author and publisher, chairman of Romford and District Historical Society and the Chamelons Drama Group, a governor of several local schools as well as a councillor.

In 2013 he received a civic award from the Mayor of Havering, in recognition of his long and dedicated service to the borough.

Mr Wilkes was also a founding member of Havering’s Residents Association and a Gidea Park councillor between 1994 and 2002.

Cllr Ron Ower (EHRG, Upminster) said Mr Wilkes had taken an interest in planning and leisure as well as editing local newsletters.

“He was a very nice guy, his use of the English language was second to none,” he said.

Cllr Linda Hawthorn (EHRG, Upminster) also paid tribute describing him as a “tenacious” man who never gace up.

She added: “He was a very colourful character, very lovely.

“He was very intelligent and his command of English was perfect.”

The family has asked for donations to be made in his memory to Saint Francis Hospice.