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Camden New Journal - OBITUARY
Published: 6 December 2007
A determined worker with designs on better schools

ARCHITECT Brenda Degerdon will be remembered for her tireless work for schools: she was a governor at Rhyl Street for 30 years, and served both Haverstock and Acland Burghley.
She first became involved in Camden’s schools as she served as a Conservative councillor on the old Hampstead borough council in the 1960s, and then Camden in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She was co-opted, and her valuable experience and dedication meant she stayed on.
Brenda was born in north Wales. She moved to London in the late 1940s to train as an architect at the prestigious Bartlett School.
Her brother, Christopher Trevor-Roberts, established a school in Eton Avenue and was the personal tutor to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
After a spell in the early 1950s working for Middlesex County Council, in which she specialised in social housing and public building projects, she established a practice in Perrins Walk, Hampstead, with fellow designers Freddy Dinerman and Mayer Hillman. It would remain in Hampstead until the early 1990s, when she moved the practice to Primrose Hill, and she continued to work up to the onset of her illness.
The practice’s expertise was wide- ranging: they covered private commissions, the public sector and ecclesiastical buildings. Many of her buildings have stood the test of time – she designed a row of six terraced homes in King Henry’s Road, Primrose Hill, two houses in Redington Road, Frognal, a block on a bomb site on Haverstock Hill and numerous flats in Highgate. Other works include the corner building on Heath Street and Holly Bush Vale – the John Barry clothes shop.
Brenda was briefly married to the designer Sir Terence Conran in 1954.
Her interests away from work include a love of gardening, of opera and of Irish music. She travelled to Ireland on holiday and enjoyed listening to Irish fiddle music.
Her fellow Conservative councillor Huntly Spence recalls her dedication. He said: “In her time she was an active member of the Conservative association. She had a lovely garden and would hold garden parties for members which were very popular. She will be remembered for the excellent food that was provided.”
Rhyl Street primary school’s head of governors Helene Reardon Bond recalls the immense contribution she made to the school over the years.
She said: “Brenda was one of Camden’s unsung heroes. By our reckoning she must have been a governor at Rhyl for around 30 years. She was a dedicated professional, an architect who used her skills and expertise to enhance our school.
“Like a lot of Camden governors she worked quietly and selflessly, providing Rhyl with sound and straightforward advice and sharing her experience widely. Rhyl was close to her heart.
“Our last memories of her were her delight at the presentation from our school council members and seeing our new garden being opened. She made a huge contribution to us and Camden.”

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