A FORMER principal lecturer at the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes University has died aged 82.

Gordon Nelson, pictured right, was born in Cadishead, Greater Manchester, one of the small towns along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Attending Cadishead Council School until he was 14, Mr Nelson had the intelligence to go to university, but because of his financial situation he had to remain a family breadwinner.

He made a success of his career as a mechanical engineer, having studied at Royal Technical College in Salford, and carried out his national service as a Petty Officer in the Navy in the early 1950s.

He worked for engineering company Royle’s in Cadishead, before moving to work at the UK Atomic Energy Authority in Salwick, Lancashire. While working he studied at night school.

He moved his family to Bristol to take a job with the Coal Board and part of the role included teaching fellow employees.

After realising he had an aptitude for it, Mr Nelson took a teacher training course at night school.

In 1970, after completing the course, he was offered a job at the then Oxford Polytechnic in the Department of Architecture, while his first wife Joan began work as a teacher at Gosford Hill School in Kidlington.

The couple had met at school and were married for 25 years having two children, Gill and David, before they divorced.

Mr Nelson published a regular column in The Architects’ Journal which was very influential and is now regarded as having laid the foundation for modern environmental design.

During his time at Oxford Polytechnic he met his second wife Margaret Roe and the couple celebrated a silver wedding anniversary in April this year.

He left Oxford Brookes University aged 58 in 1988, where he had been made an Honorary Fellow.

With Margaret he travelled to America and taught at Calpoly in San Luis Obispo, California, before working at the University of California in Los Angeles. He returned briefly to Brookes and taught part-time, while also teaching at Cardiff University and in London. He wrote a book The Architecture of Building Services, which was published in 1995.

In retirement, he and his wife moved to the Cotswolds near Swalcliffe, then to Chichester, and finally to Leighton, near Shrewsbury, where he created a garden, read, listened to jazz and opera, and enjoyed being surrounded by his extended family.

His children both took inspiration from him, with his daughter Gill working as a teacher and his son David working as an engineer.

Shortly before Mr Nelson fell ill, he and Margaret visited her elder son Christopher and his Cuban wife in Cuba. Having been diagnosed with lung cancer, he was given four weeks to live, but he survived for a further four months.

A funeral service took place at Emstrey Crematorium in Shrewsbury on Monday, October 1, at 2.30pm.