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Wilfred Ian Heath (known as Ian)

Born: 16 February 1921 and died 20 December 2004.
Only child of: Ernest Dudley Heath (1867-1945) and Mary Gilbertson.
Ian married: Audrey Jean Newman (1925-) in April 1947.
Ian and Audrey had issue:
1. Adrian Heath (1948-) who married Genvieve Trenchant.
2. Colin Heath (1953-) who married Catherine Betts.
3. Graham (1960-) who married Helen Chapman.

Overview of: Ian Heath

The following note was largely prepared by Ian Heath for a family history talk.  It was later updated by his son Colin Heath and granddaughter Emma Heath for inclusion in this website.  It reads as follows:

Wilfred Ian Heath (always known as Ian), was born on 16 February 1921, at 74 Addison Way, Hampstead Garden Suburb, NWl1.  Following a long Heath family tradition, both his parents were artists, his father, Dudley Heath being, at that time, the Principal of H.G.S. School of Arts and Crafts.  His mother Mary, nee Gilbertson, had taught pottery, or Ceramics as we would now call it, at the same school.

Ian had no brothers or sisters. He attended University College School, both at Holly Hill and at Frognal.  In 1939 he obtained an appointment in the Radio Laboratory, at the GEC Research Laboratories in North Wembley.  After the outbreak of World War II he became part of a team working on classified design and development.  Ian was allowed part-time day release for study at Northampton Polytechnic, E.C.l, and he obtained a London degree in Engineering in 1943.  This triggered a promotion to Scientific Staff.  Throughout the war years Ian lived with his parents who had moved from H.G.S. to a smaller house in Greenford.  His father died on 1st. December 1945.

After the end of WWII, Ian assisted in the reinstatement of an Acoustic Laboratory at Wembley for the study of noise control and the design of sound reproducing equipment, such as amplifiers and loudspeakers.  Ian was involved in early demonstrations of the potential of stereo sound reproduction, not yet marketed at that time.  Outside demonstrations, away from base, were made possible by specially made twin-track tape recordings.  In addition to his work at GEC, Ian lectured in the late 1940's one evening a week at "The Polytechnic", Regent Street, Wl, on Circuit Theory, and later he gave a series of ten evening lectures at Southall Polytechnic on Applied Acoustics.  The team work within each laboratory, encouraged by the group leader in charge, was mirrored by the GEC Social Club who encouraged social activities across the divisions.  These included an occasional evening concert in the library by a group of instrumentalists and a small choir.

In April 1947, Ian married Audrey Newman, one of the sopranos in this choir, at Rayners Lane Baptist Church, and they were fortunate to be able to set up house in North Harrow within easy reach of Wembley and the London concerts.  

In 1959, Ian, now Senior Scientific Staff, resigned from GEC, and took a post as circuit designer in a small firm manufacturing tape recorders.  After twenty months, and one new tape recorder, he was offered in 1960 an appointment as a full-time lecturer at "The Polytechnic", 309 Regent Street, Wl, in the department of Electrical Engineering.  As well as lecturing undergraduates on circuit theory, electronics, and telecommunications, Ian organised an evening series of lectures on Applied Acoustics in which he taught the fundamentals while alternate lectures on Applications were provided by visiting specialists from the BBC and Industry.  A new building opened in 1970 in New Cavendish Street, to house the engineering and science departments, included an echo-free chamber in which acoustic projects could be evaluated. 

After he retired in 1986, Ian began collating and photographing archive material relating to the Heath family which since 1738 had been book-publishers, line engravers and artists.

He also became actively involved in the Harrow & District Fine Arts Society, and also retained his commitment to the Pinner Recorded Music society of which he had been a keen member and technical expert since the 1950s.  He also supported Audrey who was a long time member and Librarian of Harrow Choral Society; he ran the box office for the Society's concerts for a number of years.

Ian and Audrey celebrated 57 years of marriage in April 2004.  They continued to enjoy keeping in touch with their three sons, Adrian, Colin and Graham, three daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren.  In June 2004, they joined some 90 guests, which included nearly the whole family, at the wedding of their eldest grand daughter Deborah to James Cameron; a memorable and very happy day.

Ian suffered a serious stroke late in November 2004, and died peacefully on 20 December, with some of his family at his bedside.  After a short commital service, a service of thanksgiving for his life was held at Rayners Lane Baptist Church on 30 December.  His three sons each delivered a personal tribute and Deborah read the lesson. 


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