12 Apr 2022

Celebrating the life of Neville Arthur Kirby FCIH

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Neville Arthur Kirby on 6 December 2021 at 89 years of age after some years of illness which he faced with a wonderfully determined spirit including a good measure of humour.

A life Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Neville was chief housing officer of Northampton from 1965 until 1987 and made a major contribution to the cause of good housing especially in that rapidly expanding development town. Neville was born in Rochdale, grew up and worked in housing in Rotherham qualifying in 1956. He became area housing manager for Coventry City Council in 1958 where his management tasks included the then quite new and ‘deprived’ Woodend Estate, parts of which are now being demolished. Nev moved to Northampton County Borough Council in 1963 as deputy housing manager followed by promotion to chief housing officer in 1965.

David Pell, a member of Neville’s Northampton management team for some of those days remembers especially NAK’s compassion in responding to the practical social challenges of housing management and his success in winning the establishing of one of the UK’s first housing welfare units and first housing advice services. Throughout his career, he was a consummate housing and management professional and became a role model, mentor and, especially in later years, Nev was a constant and happy friend to many ex-colleagues who he made lots of effort to keep in touch with. Nev was a wonderful raconteur and correspondent, much liked also beyond the housing world by his many friends and folks in the neighbourhood of his North Yorkshire home which he shared with his wife Joan and their beloved dogs. He also leaves his loving daughters / stepdaughter. A husband, dad, staunch friend, a housing man, and a gentleman through and through who we will all miss hugely.

Written by David Pell

Dr David J Pell is an honorary associate and associate lecturer at The Open University.