Lives Remembered

Co Armagh architect Sam Gardiner found critical success as poet in retirement

Sam Gardiner published several collections of poetry after taking early retirement as an architect

SAM Gardiner was 64 when he published his first book of poetry.

A few years earlier the Co Armagh-born architect had been the surprise winner of the 1993 UK National Poetry Competition.

His winning poem was entitled Protestant Windows, a story of a visit by PVC window salesmen which turns to discussion of King Billy and ends in disaster at the hands of a wooden sliding sash.

He published several collections of poetry after taking early retirement, achieving further critical success.

Fellow poet David Wheatley said his “wit was detached and quizzical, but hard-hitting too, especially when trained on the province of his birth".

Samuel Gardiner - known to his family by his middle name Trevor - was born in Portadown in 1936, the elder of two children to lorry driver Thomas Gardiner and his wife Ivy.

Both parents were musical: he inherited that ability, and became a fine violinist.

He attended Edenderry Primary School and Portadown College where a French teacher encouraged him to write poetry.

As a young man he made trips by bicycle from Portadown to Yeats’s grave at Drumcliffe 100 miles away.

He qualified as an architect and worked on both side of the border before moving to England in 1969, living in London and Birmingham before settling in the former fishing town of Grimsby.

Sam Gardiner died on May 22 aged 79 and is survived by his third wife Eileen, a son and daughter from his first marriage, and a stepdaughter.

Lives Remembered