He will be sadly missed by ICOMOS colleagues around the world, as much for who he was as for his key roles within ICOMOS-UK and ICOMOS.
John never quite lost his boyish enthusiasm for life, for conservation and for sharing ideas with others. He had an infectious smile that could be used to great effect and in spite of his casual appearance, a pleasing degree of vanity – he ensured his photos showed him as he wished to be portrayed. He was also a great professional.
Between 1994 – 2000 John Hurd chaired the ICOMOS-UK Earth Scientific Committee, and organised the extremely successful international Terra 2000 conference in Plymouth.
Until 1998 he was a partner at Lincoln Conservation Studies and then in 1998 he formed Hurd Conservation International working on conservation projects with several international agencies. This work took him back to Central Asia, an area for which he had developed a fascination when he was a student, and, as he said himself, something of a Hippie.
In 2006 he became President of the ICOMOS ISC on Earthen Architectural Heritage, a role he held until 2014. The highlight of John’s involvement with ICOMOS was the three terms he served as Chair of the ICOMOS Advisory Committee from 2006-2004. He was not by nature of formal person and he undertook this role in a relaxed and accessible way – but always underpinned by his deep-seated convictions on the benefits of conservation and the role of ICOMOS.
In 2005, he joined the Global Heritage Fund as International Conservation Director and Senior Adviser.For the last decade of his life he had to work around the limitations of ill-health, which eventually kept him house-bound, but continued advising on numerous international projects.
A fellow of the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies and a Visiting Fellow of the School of Archaeology at the University of York, he ran summer schools in India, the Trans-Himalaya region, China, and Europe. John produced many papers, articles and monographs, both on training, ethics and best practice in objects, architectural and archaeological conservation.
John did not wish to have either a funeral or a memorial service. If any member would like to express their condolences to his family, in particular his daughters Jade and Holly, please contact the office who can forward your messages.