19 March 2020
It is with regret that SCI announces the death of member John Buekett.
John Buekett studied at Sir John Cass College (now part of London Metropolitan University) and in 1953 was awarded a BSc in chemistry. He was employed as an analyst at BDH Ltd, RF Milton consultants and Glaxo Laboratories. After National Service as an electronics technician in the Royal Corps of Signals, he joined Costain Construction as a materials quality control scientist.
Costain was one of the first contractors to manufacture prestressed concrete elements and John had particular involvement with the production and quality control of railway sleepers. As the use of concrete sleepers (railroad ties) became an international business, John supervised the installation and commissioning of new concrete plants in Europe, Australia, Africa and North America. Problems with railroad tie durability required much travel to the USA and Canada to diagnose and remedy causes.
In 1955, John passed the examination to become an Associate of the Royal Institute of Chemistry and that same year was elected a Member of the Society of Chemical Industry, which makes him one of the longest serving members of the Society. He was a staunch and reliable supporter of the Construction Materials Group, a long time Committee Member, sometime Treasurer and ultimately Chairman. John helped organise several successful technical meetings for the Group, including the 1990 International Conference on Corrosion of Reinforcement in Concrete.
John’s expertise also came in useful when dealing with building defects at SCI’s own premises in Belgrave Square. John was given the SCI Distinguished Service Award in 2001 in recognition of his services to the Society and in 2007 Mrs Margaret Bessey presented him with the inaugural George Bessey Award for his long and distinguished service to the Construction Materials Group.
John was active in local affairs in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, including being a leading member of school governance and contributor and participant in local history studies. He was interested in industrial heritage and was a continuing contributor to meetings on railway matters.
John’s wife, Patricia, predeceased him some years ago. We send condolences and sympathy to his family, especially daughters Jane, Sarah and Mary.