John Coates OBE, 1922 – 2010

As reported in Bob Draper’s email bulletin last week, it is with great regret that we announce the death of John Coates OBE, a former BRLSI Trustee who was a key figure in the rebirth of the Institution from 1993 onwards.
Rodney Tye, who served as a Trustee with John Coates, writes:
Between 1957 and 1993 the local council was the Trustee of BRLSI, and in the early 1990s it planned to move the Reference Library to the new Podium development and sell the BRLSI building at 16-18 Queen Square. This prompted the formation of the Friends of the BRLSI, who managed to prevent the sale and then formed the present Charity, taking over the running of the Institution from 1993 onwards.
Among  the group’s leading activists were John and Jane Coates. Between 1993 and 1995 the BRLSI’s premises were extensively refurbished, and so meetings were held at the Bath and County club nearby. John and Jane helped with these arrangemenets, and continued, along with a good number of the original Friends, to work for a wider range of activities in the re-occupied building.
John Coates was elected a Trustee in 1996, and in 1997 took over from Michael King as Secretary of the Institution, continuing in office  until 2002. Thereafter he attended many important general meetings where the future well being of the Institution was being discussed, while Jane played a valuable role as the BRLSI’s archivist. For their work, both were elected Honorary Life Members of the Institution.  Their influence continues in the style in which we all seek to observe our responsibilities under our charitable status.
• John Coates had a distinguished professional career, becoming Chief Naval Architect at the Ministry of Defence and receiving an OBE for his work. He was also a leading figure in the research and reconstruction of Triremes, three-tier oar-driven warships of ancient Greece. For full details see the Daily Telegraph’s obituary. John Coates’ funeral will be held at 11am on Friday 30th July at Haycombe Crematorium, Bath.