Ken Huddart biographical summary for Thanksgiving booklet 12.7.19
Kenneth William Huddart 15.9.1933 – 23.6.2019
MA (Cantab), Civil Engineer, Fellow of Institute of Electrical Engineers, Fellow of Institute of Civil Engineers, Fellow of Institution of Engineering and Technology, Fellow of Institute of Physics, Fellow of Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation
Ken was born in Wellington, Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu, India (Father Reginald Huddart was in the Indian Ordnance Service). He was separated from his older sister Gwen during the war when she was stuck in England.
Ken was a boarder at St Hilda’s School Ootacamund 1938-1942, and then at Bishop Cotton’s School, Shimla when the family moved to Kirkee, Poona. He sailed to England in Jan 1945 and attended Rottingdean Preparatory School, staying with the Sidebotham family in school holidays. He was awarded a scholarship to Harrow School, Bradbys House (1947-1952) and won school and later college prizes regularly.
He spent 2 years commissioned in the Royal Signals before going up to Pembroke College Cambridge on a scholarship to read Natural Sciences (Physics) 1954 – 1957. This began a 3 generation connection with the College. (He was pleased to be followed there by his son, David, and now by his granddaughter Anna as Director of Music). He graduated with a First and a college prize. At university he was Undergraduate Secretary for the Pembroke Walworth Mission, later staying there for a few months himself while relocating. He met Audrey (who was training for teaching at Homerton College) at a Yorkshire Society Dance. After graduating, he worked at Reyrolle, Hebburn, leading nuclear and switchgear research, and then at Central Electricity Generating Board (as system designer of the 500MW High Voltage Direct Current link from Kingsnorth to London).
In 1966 Ken moved to head traffic signals research at the Greater London Council, rising to be Chief Traffic Engineer for London before the abolition of the GLC in 1986. He also acted as Greater London Officer for Road Safety. He contributed to systems improving traffic efficiency and safety across the world, including the introduction of bus lanes and mini roundabouts in the UK, and undertaking traffic consultancy with the World Bank to Singapore, Madras, Manila, Calcutta, Mombasa and Baghdad. He taught traffic modelling in Northern Ireland, Israel, Zagreb and Australia.
After the abolition of the GLC he worked as a traffic engineering consultant, initially for MVA, including for a new tram system in Hong Kong, where he was proud to have cured traffic queues at the Lion Rock Tunnel. He also introduced speed cameras in Lothian, a Road Safety Audit in Israel and toll plazas in Poland. He was passionate about evidence-based road safety, for example playing a lead in the campaign to legalise the wearing of seatbelts, contributing to a huge reduction in deaths and serious injuries.
Ken was Secretary for graduates and students of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE). He later served on the IEE Council and established the IEE Road Traffic Professional Group and biennial international conferences on Road Traffic Information and Control. He was Chair of the Institute of Highways and Transportation Greater London Branch.
The day the family moved to Claygate in 1962, Sam Ryder welcomed us to both the church and Residents’ Association, beginning a long and happy involvement. Ken fought off the Esher Bypass Link Road on behalf of Claygate Village Residents’ Association in the 1960s, inspiring his move to traffic engineering. In retirement he used his skills and energies to serve the village and church. He became a Claygate Parish Councillor in 2001, providing leadership on planning and transportation committees. He was President of the Village Association and Chair of Trustees of the Village Hall Association for some years, acknowledged with a timely reception just a week before his death. He had a strong Christian faith and contributed regularly to the life of Holy Trinity Church, Claygate.
Ken is survived by Audrey, his wife of nearly 62 years, 4 children (Suzanne, David, Jennifer and Gillian) and 8 grandchildren (Inigo and Anna; Sam, Charlie and Katie; Georgina, Daniel and Andrew). He made it his business to understand and support each of us in our varied activities to the end. He inspired us all by his role model of integrity, generosity and faithful service, to make a lasting difference in the world.