Adrian Williams 1944-2008

Adrian Williams. 13.8.1944 – 5.2.2008. A Tribute from Tony Jones

A great day well spent – that was 13th July 2008 when a good number of us turned up to commemorate the centenary of the founding of Beckenham School of Art. We were there not only to mark the significance of the date but also to meet up with old friends and fellow students.

One fellow student whom I know would love to have been part of that memorable day was regrettably unable to attend. I refer to Adrian Williams, a special friend of mine and others during our years at Beckenham School of Art from 1960-62 and Ravensbourne College of Art and Design from 1963-64. (Although when our Art School days started in 1960, I had personally already known Adrian about ten years).

Sadly, Adrian died on the 5th February 2008 after a very short illness. The news, when I first heard it, came as a great shock to me. He had always been a very colourful character, full of fun, larger than life and, without him, our college days would have been a lot duller.

Adrian was always up to something. I remember an occasion in 1961 at the annexe at 80 Croydon Road during a lecture period with our tutor, the inimitable Ron Wildman. Adrian was dodging about all over the lecture room until Ron barked at him ‘Sit down Williams and stop bouncing around like a parched pea in a frying pan!’ Coming from Ron this revealed a lighter side of him than that which we were normally accustomed to – it certainly did no harm to Ron, a well-respected member of staff.

Adrian could always be relied on to cheer us up and have a laugh with one of his oft-repeated catch phrases such as

‘Come on boy, get in the groovy and make a movie’ or
‘The girls in Babylon go out with nothing on!’

I have no idea where he got his phrases from!

By late 1962 Adrian had acquired an old car, which cost him all of five pounds and on more than one occasion, persuaded me to accompany him on an evening trip to Brighton with the promise that there would be ‘thousands of birds camping under the pier.’ Unfortunately the birds must have been forewarned that we were coming – the pier was deserted. Never mind, the trip was good fun!

Well these are just a few anecdotes about the man but I just want to say that anyone who got to know him well would know that he was a lovely bloke. And now we have lost him.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

Adrian with Régine, his future wife, taken in May 1966