Castledawson-born Sir Robin Chichester-Clark has died suddenly while on holiday in Norfolk. He was aged 88.
In 1955 he was elected Member of Parliament at Westminster for Londonderry City and County in that year’s general election. He was the youngest new MP but one.
A moderate Ulster Unionist, he was the younger son of Captain James Chichester-Clark, RN, DSO (MP for South Londonderry from 1929 until his death in 1933) and Marion (nee Chichester) of Moyola Park.
His older brother, James, was to become the last but one Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. His younger sister, Penelope Hobhouse, is a well-known historian of garden design.
His childhood was spent at Moyola (Robin’s mother having remarried following the death of his father). Moyola had been acquired by his Dawson ancestors (developers of much of central Dublin, including Dawson Street) in the seventeenth century.
He grew up largely under the care of his maternal grandmother Dame Dehra Parker, a unionist member at Stormont and the only woman to hold office in the government of Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972 (as Minister for Health and Local Government); her first husband, Robert Chichester, had also been an MP.
Her influence was important in shaping Robin’s life; Dame Dehra was interested in the arts as well as politics and Robin was to divide his life between culture and public affairs.
He is survived by his widow Caroline as well as by all five of his children. Emma is an author; Mark is a singer and composer; Sophia owns and runs the Pangbourne House Montessori School; Adam practises at the Commercial Bar; and Tom is a composer and music producer.