Tony joined the Manufacturing Group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1986 and retired in 2010 having undertaken two consecutive terms as Head of Department (2003-2008). During this period, he was one of the key figures in the innovations and developments that took place, both in terms of teaching and in terms of research.

The Department moved from a 3-year term-based Bachelor’s degree to a unique 4-year Master’s degree. This semester-based, modular format, with 5 degree themes, forms the basis of our teaching today. In addition, there was a massive explosion in the numbers of students undertaking placements making it effectively a 5-year Masters course. Tony once commented that it was “like taking a degree on the continent”. He had a very calm and circumspect manner and view during these changes. He was able to exert clear and clever influence that enabled the changes to be implemented.

The Department had maintained a strong manufacturing group and research presence, when it was not fashionable. This enabled Tony to work with colleagues across the disciplines to take advantage of the Manufacturing and Design initiatives being promoted by EPSRC, such as Manufacturing the Future. This led to the creation in 2002 of the Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre which became the Innovative design and Manufacturing Research Centre. He also worked at the Design-Manufacturing interface with a number of colleagues, helping to improve the flexibility and productivity of manufacturing systems by a combination of clever and novel processes and designs – leading to, what he referred to with his tongue firmly in his cheek, to a “best-selling” book on Rapid Changeover. Again, the issues of poor UK productivity are still of considerable relevance and concern.

Tony was always passionately interested in industry and the way that it operates, viewing it as the “experimental rig” for new ideas and innovations. Thus, he was deeply committed to Teaching Company Schemes, now Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, valued at over £12 M. Again, this was never fashionable, but Tony considered links with industry as vitally important because they underpinned and enabled the EPSRC funding.

He was very well respected across the various communities that he interfaced with in terms of examining, reviewing, both in the UK and Internationally. He was awarded a Ford Motor Co Ltd fellowship in 1991 and an Erskine fellowship at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

He was much loved by his PhD students and colleagues alike.

The funeral will be at 2.30pm on Monday 19th April and you are welcome to join online using the details below.

The family have asked that any donations should please be given to Dorothy House Hospice Care.

Personal reflections

“I never worked with Tony as I arrived after he left, but whenever he came in he was always friendly, wanting to have a conversation to find out how I was - it was always a pleasure to see him. He was a true gentleman.”

“He was wiley on the squash court - manufacturing a position where he could play his winning drop shot with a deft table tennis touch. A trusted colleague and wise leader who became a close friend, he was an engineer’s engineer, seeing practical solutions where others saw only problems.”

“Tony was my mentor and inspiration. I loved working with him. He was kind, caring and most of all fun. He taught me well and I will forever be grateful for all his support and guidance. A great academic, a true gentleman and most of all a friend.”

“Tony taught me as an Undergraduate. After graduation I called him from a phone box in France to discuss some possible career options. He was very certain that I ought to do a PhD under his supervision. This may have had something to do with the fact that he had already filled in the application form and signed it on my behalf as I had got the wrong date for a call before the deadline. It was the right choice. 30 years later I am still teaching at the University and I enjoyed 20 years of working with Tony before he retired.”

“Tony was my right-hand man when I was appointed to a chair in Mechanical Engineering in 1986 with the requirement to head up a manufacturing engineering initiative. He was a joy to work with and provided solid and reliable support for our many joint activities in research and teaching.”

“Tony was not given to provide rapid responses when in discussions. He had what seemed at first to be a frustrating pause in responding but what came out was well reasoned common sense offering immediate resolution of the issue; this became an endearing characteristic of Tony. I do recall an account of his “domestic compromise” which resulted in him together with Lynda taking up ballroom dancing in which his skills became highly regarded.”

“He sent this last year when I asked how things were going: “We are both OK and sticking to the rules. Walking daily, we quickstep down Middle Lane, waltz down the new road, rhumba down Wyke Rd and Sally Anne Cha Cha Cha back home. Lots of funny looks but it ensures safe distancing.”!”

“Tony was my UG personal tutor and was so inspiring and kind. I’m glad we had a catch up before the pandemic hit.”

“Tony was one of the most admired academics I have known. He invited my family to his home when we were moving to Bath and gave me the support needed to get on my feet as a new academic. He followed numerous sports and was an ardent Coventry City fan.”