My friend Edward Goring, who has died aged 89, following a fall, was a journalist who gave up a successful Fleet Street career to live and work in Bath because he became entranced by the city’s Georgian buildings.
He wrote a daily column for the Bath Evening Chronicle that, in the opinion of the author Jan Morris, made him the pre-eminent chronicler of Bath in the 1970s. He could be controversial. One local worthy wrote: “The number of really influential people in Bath is limited to about 20. In the space of a very few weeks you have annoyed and antagonised 18 of them.”
Twice Edward was threatened with libel writs – an occupational hazard for a journalist who, in his Fleet Street heyday, was once sued by Elizabeth Taylor for claiming that the filming of Cleopatra was held up because she had grown so fat.
Edward championed the preservation of Bath. Adam Fergusson, author of The Sack of Bath (1973), wrote: “Edward Goring, in the front line, has written more effectively to save Bath than anyone else.” A collection of his columns, entitled By the Waters of Sul, was published in 2006.
The only son of Thomas Goring, a brewery worker, and his wife, Evelyn, Edward was born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire. He was always keen to be a journalist, and joined the Burton Chronicle as a 15-year-old cub reporter, before moving to regional evening newspapers.
He was recruited by the Daily Mail for its Coronation reporting team in 1953. Two weeks later he was taken on to the staff. In 1956 he was appointed the paper’s show-business writer and several years later became a subeditor, adding style to the Mail’s diary column.
In 1977 he left the Bath Chronicle after eight years to edit the weekly Brighton and Hove Gazette, and to live in Brighton, where he continued to campaign on conservation issues. Edward had a great interest in local history and church architecture. He completely restored the Georgian features of his first home in Bath before moving to live in the Royal Crescent, where, in 1974, he founded the still flourishing Royal Crescent Society. After his retirement in 1988, he lived in Ovingdean, on the outskirts of Brighton.
He loved cats and classical music. But his greatest passion was for motorcycles. He continued riding high-powered machines into his 70s, having always preferred, he said, the freedom of two wheels to matrimony.