Chichester mourns artist and conservationist David Goodman

One of Chichester’s most influential 20th century figures has died at the age of 95.

An artist and also columnist with the Chichester Observer, David Goodman was an important force in the creation of Chichester Festival Theatre and an important inspiration in the early years of the Chichester Festivities. He also founded the Chichester Society.

His daughter Julia said: “My father was first and foremost an artist, and a man of Chichester, his adopted town. He was born in St John’s Wood and brought up in Highgate, London. He attended St Martin’s School of Art, then joined the RAF at the outbreak of World War Two. Towards the end of the war, he joined forces with British artist Peter Lanyon to teach art to servicemen in Italy.”

Mr Goodman then worked tirelessly to establish and promote Chichester as a widely- recognised centre for the arts, Julia said. “He was one of the driving forces behind founding the Chichester Festival Theatre. With Leslie Evershed-Martin, he edited The Impossible Theatre. He was art adviser for the theatre, and designed its souvenir programmes for many years. He designed the Minerva head.

“He was passionate about Chichester and its random architectural beauty.

Mr Goodman once memorably said: “Chichester never changes. Just look up. Its buildings are so beautifully and harmoniously arranged.”

Julia added: “He famously and single-handedly started the Chichester Society, and gave a rallying address, with actress Irene Worth, in a packed Cathedral to get people to support the cause of stopping the destruction of some of Chichester’s finest old buildings. He sat on the bulldozer with the Dean, and while on it was interviewed for Radio 2 by Jimmy Young! He became chairman of the Society, then its president, and fought many battles on behalf of Chichester over many years. The Chichester Society was a major focus in David’s life, and has played, often invisibly, a tremendous role in preserving the Chichester we so easily take for granted today, often in the face of fierce opposition. David later received the Chichester City Council Civic Award.”

He is survived by his wife Pearl, daughters Julia, Caroline and Diana, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. A humanist funeral on October 1 at Chichester crematorium will be followed by a memorial service early next year.