Tributes paid to architect who designed Portsmouth buildings '“ and Disney theme park ride
A LONG-SERVING Portsmouth architect, whose career saw him design buildings around the city and even a Disney World theme park ride, has died aged 92.
Tony Banks studied architecture in Portsmouth after being in the British Army at the end of the Second World War, serving in the War Office and then as a Royal Engineers lieutenant in the British Army of the Rhine.
His studies led to him working for a Portsmouth brewery where he designed pubs including The Cambridge in Portland Road, Southsea, in the early 1950s.
Described as ‘always cheerful, interested and optimistic’ by family and friends, Tony loved amusing friends with his stories and these included tales from his early life. He recalled seeing the ‘draymen’ delivering beer to and from the brewery using a horse and cart and joked about avoiding offers of beer to ensure he could work with a clear head.
Tony worked at Portsmouth City Council for more than a decade, designing many buildings which still stand around the city and in Leigh Park including Gerard House and Loring House in North End.
He went to work in the US in 1967 and was in a team which designed and developed the Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World in Florida.
It was while working in America that he met his future wife, Noreen, a midwife who by coincidence was also from Portsmouth and the couple moved back and lived for more than 30 years near Canoe Lake.
He spent several years at Portsmouth Naval Base, designing service depots still used by ships including HMS Queen Elizabeth. Later he discovered three generations of his family had also worked at the base, including his father, a navy petty officer who had never spoken about his service in the First World War.
In the 1980s Tony spent two years at the Omani Ministry of Defence in Muscat, then retired and enjoyed travelling with his wife and family.
Tony leaves a family including two sons and two grandchildren. His life will be celebrated at Portsmouth Cathedral on Tuesday, June 12 at 2pm.