Roy Windsor 1940 – 2021

Drawing of Roy by Paul Clarke made in 1977

Roy was born on Midsummer’s Day 1940 in Kidsgrove, North Staffordshire. He had an older sister, Ray, who I think was a great influence on him. She was twelve years older than Roy and taught him to see beyond the Potteries. His family valued education and Ray, was one of the first students to attend the ‘new’ university of Keele. A 1954 school report I am sure shows Ray’s influence:

Roy works extremely well – especially pleasing is his interest in and knowledge of national and international affairs.

This remained an abiding interest; Roy was an inveterate follower of the news, especially latterly, and he loved satirical programmes like The News Quiz. Art was clearly an early passion too.

After leaving school at 15 he went to Newcastle – under – Lyme School of Art, successfully passing annual exams, nearly all concerned with painting. In 1958 he progressed to Manchester School of Art and began to seriously study Fine Art; painting and lithography and was awarded the National Diploma of Art and Design. He was also awarded the Heywood Prize, an annual award, ‘for the most meritous production of Science or Art.’ He spent the prize money travelling in Europe visiting art galleries, particularly Italy. He returned to Manchester to do a teacher training year and gain his Art Teacher’s Certificate.

Becoming a professional artist wasn’t, he felt, an option. Also Ray was ill (she had contracted meningitis as a child) and was admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Berkshire where she died. Roy had got a job as an Art Teacher at a school in Aylesbury so that he could be near Ray.

Roy went travelling in Europe again, had his money stolen in Italy but managed to survive for about six months in Spain where he met his first wife, Edna, a nurse. They were married in Gibraltar and returned to England. After working as a clerk at Hudson’s Bay Company he got a job teaching Pottery at Rutherford School, later Westminster Community College. His son, Rupert (Rob) was born but Edna died when he was about 6 weeks old. Roy’s parents looked after Rupert and Roy’s father told me that it was a huge joy for them and helped them to cope with Ray’s death. When I first met Roy, at a teachers’ course on creative printmaking, he told me about Rupert on our first date and I liked and respected him for that.

He enjoyed teaching Art throughout his career. I think he loved the process of bringing out creativity and teaching the enjoyment of discovery. He believed in his pupils’ ability to create and to take pride in what they made and that their work was worthy of being taken seriously. The process of creating was as meaningful for them as for any artist and he achieved some remarkable results, especially the pottery models the boys at Rutherford made.

At all the schools where he taught he got enormous satisfaction seeking out projects where he could use his own talents: in creating stage sets, carnival floats, a huge mosaic project. And memorably, building an outdoor raku kiln, which needed to be fired at night by the pupils: the local fire brigade and police were alerted.

We moved to North Staffordshire where  Ralph was born, then moved to North Kent and finally to Eastbourne but in his heart Roy felt most at home in London with its cultural life and wealth of galleries.

He was curious about the world, enjoyed travel and the company of friends. He got involved with the boys and their interests: fungi and walking with Rob, music and computing with Ralph. He was proud of both his sons’ achievements.

He appeared quiet, partly because he was totally deaf in one ear (the result of measles) but refused to admit it. He kept his counsel but made no attempt to hide his often radical views.

He liked football and was a lifelong supporter of Stoke City. He loved film, and got a lot of pleasure from the film societies we were always involved with. He enjoyed early jazz, especially the Blues.  He was always drawing on any scrap of paper that was around. He enjoyed creating things, playing around with packaging, making shapes and patterns with whatever was around. He was stubborn refused to accept defeat and stood up to bullies and unfairness. He was open, honest and true.

Violet Windsor

Anyone who wishes to make charitable donations to The Towner Winter Community Appeal 2021 (which Roy was a supporter of) can do so here: https://townereastbourne.org.uk/support/towner-community-appeal/

Roy’s Artwork

Roy Windsor's Artwork

Scans and photos of Roy Windsor’s artwork can be viewed here: https://www.roywindsor.co.uk/artwork/

Roy’s Christmas Cards

Some of Roy’s custom self-designed Christmas cards can be found here:

https://www.roywindsor.co.uk/roys-christmas-cards/

 

Tributes
Below are some tributes from friends of Roy.  Further tributes can be added via comments facility.

Fleet of foot and clean of line

He always gave far more than he took

And willed the world a better place.

Christina Healey

 

Roy was not the kind of person to talk big. He was thoughtful and discreet and had a great sense of humour. He was a real gentleman

Jianqun Liu

 

I remember Roy so well – his intelligence, talent and sardonic humour. I liked him a lot….Thinking of Roy has made me look back on how lucky I was to have worked alongside genuinely good and supportive people.

Val Thind

 

Roy was such a clever man, such a variously gifted artist, and a very good friend to me at Thamesview. I was so appreciative of his unobtrusive support; his sensitivity; his uncanny ability to see when someone was in need of a chat and friendly face. He was a very human face in a staffroom that could be a tough place. I shall always remember too his Christmas cards: strange, funny, sometimes puzzling, always surprising and utterly distinctive.

We listened to a lot of Charlie Parker painting the Bugsy set.

Martyn Lowe-Wheeler

 

I’m remembering all the fun times with Roy.  Here’s to a life well lived.  I’ve chosen coloured flowers for the inveterate artist and quiet subversive.  I hope wherever he is, colour is a great part of the scenario.

 Janet Swinney

 

My friend Roy was a kind, decent, gentle soul.

He had a very subtle sense of humour to make one smile and feel cheerful. He was artistic, sensitive, with a keen sense of empathy. As a very patient listener he always responded with helpful practical suggestions.

I have fond memories of him enjoying simple pleasures like munching savoury Bombay mix and eating a home cooked meal. I will miss him.

Krishna Dutta

 

I have a few vivid memories of us going to theatres in London, sharing meals, in particular the homemade soup made from fresh vegetables from your garden…Our discussions of social issues and the state of our world….He was  gentle and kind person, so easy to get on with.

Roy was one of the nicest people I have known, with a great sense of humour

Arun Pilkington

 

We remember our walks along the seafront or round and about in Eastbourne. Always  accompanied by lively and interesting conversations….We remember with deep gratitude our visits to the Royal Academy and meeting in the garden during Covid.

Christine Reed

 

My memories of Roy are the many times he called into our office (Violet’s shared office at the IoE); his wry sense of humour and interesting conversations. And the individually created designs of his Christmas cards. Of his candour sharing his loss of Rob, and his positive outlook he always brought into the office.

Ruth Jacklin

 

All I can say is that he was a lovely man, kind and thoughtful and great company and will be very much missed.

Mary Whelan

 

Roy was a lovely man with the ability to always make me feel welcome. Thank you.

Mike Tappenden

 

SPIRIT OF ROY

My first and automatic impression of Roy was a fuddy-duddy. I said “hello” and received a gingerly response with a kind and gentle “hello”. This prompted me to strike a conversation with him. From then on we gravitated towards each other and became friends.

In some way, Roy was a very private man but in our interpersonal interactions he knew how to handle me, a man who opens his mouth before any thought. He had the tremendous and enviable quality of taking no offence, but to gently and skilfully steer me to the path of safe topics of conversation and political correctness.

His passion for art was infectious and I learnt a lot from him. He broadened my mind and taste in art. In adversity, Roy was able to maintain a calmness that many would envy.  A quality that impressed me most about Roy was his humble and unassuming manner.

This is how I recall Roy to be. This is the spirit of Roy that I remember. This Spirit lives on.

Zia Bhunnoo

 

You and Roy always struck us as being such very good and close companions – it was always a pleasure to see you together.  His charm and humour – and his sideways take on so many of life’s events and experiences – made even the shortest conversation with him interesting – and light up an evening.

Caroline Reed

 

We both have very fond memories of Roy.  For me especially because you and Roy were so kind to me when I lived with you both for a while when I came to London to do my History degree.  I will always remember your flat with the washing line going up to the tree and your friend playing the piano in the street when he was moving house.  And ,of course, the meals which you both cooked which ,to me, were very exotic and avant garde! They were exciting times and I loved being invited to share your bohemian lifestyles!

Thanks also for welcoming us into your retirement house in Eastbourne where we had a lovely and memorable stay.

Linda and John

 

Roy’s Funeral on 23rd December 2021

The Humanist Celebrant was Rosalind Morton.  The following are the four pieces of music that were played:

Elite Syncopations – Scott Joplin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuzyvINh0oU

All The Things You Are – Charlie Parker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTORd2Y_X6U

House of Rising Sun – Leadbelly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLQdWCIev00

When You’re Old and Gray – Tom Lehrer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NOZH0y7VxE

 

Photos of Roy

Roy at home in Stockton Brook, taken 1973.

 

Roy & Violet

Roy and Violet in Stockton Brook, taken 1973.

 

Roy and Rupert (Rob), taken in early 1970s.

 

Roy, Rupert (Rob), Violet, taken at Little Moreton Hall in 1969 or 1970.

 

Roy and Violet, taken in 1969.

 

Roy and Violet with Renée Cheeseman in Kew Gardens, taken 1968 or 1969.

 

Violet, Roy and Ann Lewis (Violet’s sister), taken at Kenilworth Castle in 1995.

 

Jianqun Liu & Roy Windsor

Jianqun Liu & Roy Windsor

Jianqun Liu & Roy Windsor in Rochester, taken in 1993.

 

Dave Meaden, Roy and colleagues

Roy with Dave Meaden (and colleagues) in the late 1960s.  Thanks to Dave for this newspaper clipping.

 

Other photos will be added as we are able to scan them, including more of Roy’s artwork and Christmas cards.  If you have photos of him that you wish to contribute, please email Ralph Windsor: ralph at daydream dot co dot uk

 

Rob (Rupert) Windsor

Roy’s son, Rob Windsor (originally called Rupert) died on 14th January 2012.  There is an article about him in The Coventry Telegraph:

https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/ex-coventry-city-councillor-rob-windsor-3031275

A follow-up piece was written about his funeral which contains more details of his life:

https://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/hundreds-turn-out-cathedral-funeral-3029909

A memorial article was published in January 2022 by The Socialist Party (which Rob was an active member of):

https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/33606/19-01-2022/rob-windsor-remembering-a-tireless-fighter-for-socialism/

 

2 Comments

  • Thank you for sharing this with us. I wish I had known Roy better. It seems that he gave a lot to the world but maybe didn’t take much back.

  • We have very fond memories of Roy – a lovely, gentle and compassionate man with a sharp mind and dry humour. We have shared many happy times including: memorable day trips to France; family Christmases; art exhibitions; and discussions about photography in which Roy was always very encouraging and insightful. We shall miss him hugely.

    Ann and Gerry

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