Obituary: Lord Ardwick

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FURTHER to the obituary of Lord Ardwick (by Terence Lancaster and James Fergusson, 19 August), it should be added that, notwithstanding his widespread interests internationally, he remained a thoroughly committed 'constituency peer', writes D. T. Caminer. He was always ready to do all that he could to protect the interests of Richmond upon Thames, the borough in which he lived, when the opportunity arose.

John Ardwick was firmly opposed to what he regarded as counter-productive efforts to relieve urban traffic congestion by road building or widening, and he took a leading part in the efforts in the House of Lords to amend the Local Government Bill that moved major highways such as the South Circular Road from municipal to central government control. He was convinced that better public transport rather than additional road space was the answer to the increasing pollution caused by private car and lorry queues through the borough in which he lived. He not only spoke vigorously in the Lords on the subject but also acted as the pivot of a potent trio of Labour, Tory and Liberal peers with local interests which was brought together to defend Richmond's environment.

Richmond Adult and Community College, where John and his wife Gladys were keen members of a WEA literature course, was another local interest. He regarded the adult education provisions of the Further and Higher Education Bill as ill-conceived and divisive and he was energetic in his efforts behind the scenes to win amendments that would enable the college to continue its outstanding work unimpeded.

John Ardwick was also an unassuming member of his local Labour Party branch, taking an active part in election campaigning until recent years. He made a lively picture dashing - he was always dashing, whatever the mission - from house to house with his overflowing armfuls of canvass cards and posters and election literature. He had a special joy in reporting back defeats for the Government in the Lords.

Despite his advancing years he enjoyed nothing better than darting out of his ambush hide to cast his vote in a tight division. He voted last immediately before the summer recess and enjoyed helping to inflict yet another defeat.