Eric Larkham was at the heart of all things Ouseburn for many years. A leading figure and founder Trustee in the early years of the Trust and Chairman of its Heritage Group, he researched and diligently recorded the history and events throughout the industrial and residential use of the valley. Early recognition for this work included the Interpret Britain Award in 1999. He was also a great friend of Ouseburn Farm 

His considerable efforts persuaded the City Council to recognise the potential in clearing and restoring the Victoria Tunnel and led to Heritage Lottery Funding being granted to complete the restoration. His skill as a guide leading visitors in the Tunnel and around the heritage sites in the Ouseburn Valley gave locals and visitors a true description of the lives people had living and working in the valley.

The last guided walk Eric led for the Trust was a heritage tour of the Ouseburn pubs, very appropriate as his other passion was real ale and real pubs. He is greatly missed.

We have talked to his wife Sally and his family and his friends in the Valley about what would be appropriate to remember Eric's contribution to the Valley. There is a lovely plaque on the bar in The Cluny where Eric used to lean, and there will be an Eric Larkham Memorial Walk in June - appropriately this will be an Ouseburn Pubs Heritage tour (more details available here from early April).

We would also like to install a memorial to Eric in a public area of the Valley and are inviting friends to contribute. He was famously always seen with a carrier bag, and we invited proposals for an artistic memorial including this element.


The chosen proposal is local designer Colin Hagan’s idea to create a thick wooden plaque with marquetry/inlay and relief cutting of the wood. The plaque will feature a relief cut carrier bag (remembering Eric’s fondness for walking through the valley with his trusted Co-op carrier bag). In the middle of the plaque will be a marquetry/inlay silhouette of Eric walking through the valley, surrounding this will be a map of key sites Eric was closely involved with and loved visiting (see the preliminary image alongside). Either side of the relief cut carrier bag there will be marquetry/inlay or relief of some of his favourite places in the valley - Victoria Tunnel, Free Trade, Sailor’s Bethel, Ouseburn Farm, etc. If enough funds are raised we will include small plaques showing just the silhouette at some of his favourite Ouseburn sites.

Many people enjoyed Eric’s walks, talks and enthusiasm for heritage, real ale and good pubs. If you would like to contribute to a memorial in the Valley please make a donation here - Thank you!