My father, Alan Maddison, who has died aged 96, was a quantity surveyor who later moved into construction management.
His career highlight was probably the complete refurbishment of the Ritz hotel in London, begun in the late 1970s when it was bought by the conglomerate Trafalgar House. No major work had been done to the hotel since its construction in the 1900s. The first weekend of the new constructor’s commission saw the kitchens, basement and staff areas condemned under public health regulations, with the team given 48 hours to get it fit to avoid closure. After that, each room was refitted and redecorated – many with designs from leading interior designers – all while remaining open to guests.
Alan was born in London, to Charles, a quantity surveyor, and Eleanor (nee Hubbard), a housewife, and was the younger brother of Helen. On leaving King’s College school, Wimbledon, he started training as a quantity surveyor before being called up to the RAF in the second world war. Still in uniform, he served as an RAF steward at the Wimbledon tennis championships when they resumed in 1946.
He met Gill Prickett while they were both doing Christmas Post Office work. It was clearly love at first sight for him: he had a box of chocolates delivered to her home, anonymously, later owning up after inquiring disingenuously if she had received any good parcels.
They married in 1952, initially living in Worthing, West Sussex, then Dorking in Surrey. For the rest of his professional life Alan commuted every day to London, working for a succession of building companies, including 25 years at Trafalgar House, on increasingly challenging projects, such as the refurbishment of the Royal Society of Arts in John Adam Street and the St Ermin’s hotel in Victoria.
In 1996 Alan and Gill moved to the Oxfordshire village of Barford St Michael. Alan entered many village shows, making strange cakes or (with more competitive success) wooden toys and models for his grandchildren, drawing on his carpentry and woodworking skills. Village life was a happy personal expression of their enjoyment of the English countryside, historic houses and gardens, which they visited on short holidays throughout their retirement.
Gill died in 2020, before which Alan had cared for her at home for as long as possible. He is survived by his children, Sarah and me, and grandchildren, Jamie, Leo, Jacob and Molly.