It's always a shock when you read of the death of someone you know. It is worse when it's someone who was generous to a fault, a brilliant teacher and a friend. I cannot remember when I first met David Gosling (AJ 6.6.02), but I do remember the last time.
Martin Short, who was researching his book, Inside the Brotherhood, had invited me to meet him at the RIBA. We were sitting drinking tea as I talked to him about the Poulson Affair, of Dan Smith, Reggie Maudling and interlinking Masonic circles in London boroughs and elsewhere. We'd got on to my grandfather's pub, on Norton Folgate in Bishopsgate opposite Liverpool Street Station. He owned it from the end of World War I to the end World War II.
From the 1950s onwards it had become the haunt of bent coppers and crooks, many of them Masons. Charlie Kray had been quoted as saying it was his favourite pub. Short got quite excited and, as the conversation got animated, in walked David.
And so we talked to Short for most of the afternoon, comparing notes, each adding to the other's recollections. Short then asked David whether there were any Masons in Sheffield University. 'The whole bloody place is riddled with them!' came the uncompromising reply.
It was always great to get a call or a letter from David requesting a visit. One time I drove 15 students in a minibus through a snowstorm up to Sheffield. By the time we got there it had turned into a full scale blizzard. We had gone up to visit Cedric Green's remarkable SHED - Solar Heated Experimental Dwelling - and we spent the night in it.
After welcoming us and waiting for everyone to thaw out, David led the way to an Indian restaurant, ordering dish after dish.When the considerable bill for the food and drinks came, David paid for everyone. 'That must be a first for a head of school, ' said one student.
David Gosling was an amazing guy who inspired all who met him. My student's comment could serve as his epitaph.He was one of the world's good guys.
Sam Webb, Canterbury