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Our Trustees

Dr William Whyte
Reverend Professor William Whyte FRHistS, FSA (Chairman)

William Whyte has lived in Oxford for more than 30 years, since coming here as a student to read History at Wadham College. He is now Professor of Social and Architectural History and a fellow of St John’s College. In addition to OPT, he chairs the Oxford Historical Society and the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire, and also serves as a member of the Board of Visitors to the Oxford Museum of Natural History. An Anglican priest, he is part of the team serving Wolvercote and Wytham. Beyond Oxford, he  is a trustree of English Heritage and chair of the Blue Plaques Panel, and serves on the Fabric Commission of Westminster Abbey and the Heritage Committee of the British Academy. He is also senior responsible owner for the University’s new Humanities Building. As a historian, his most recent books include Unlocking the Church: the lost secrets of Victorian sacred space (2017) and Redbrick: a social and architectural history of Britain’s civic universities (2015). He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries. 

Mark Beard

Mark is married to Nicola, and has three teenage children Sophie, George, and Oliver. Mark has been Chairman / Chief Executive of E W Beard Ltd since 1999 and is a Past President of the Chartered Institute of Building. He was Oxfordshire Businessman of the Year in 2004, CEO Magazine Construction Industry Chief Executive of the Year in 2021 and High Sheriff of Oxfordshire from March 2022 to April 2023. Mark is a Chartered Environmentalist, Member of Henley Business School Advisory Board a keen real tennis player and cricketer, Patron of Activate Rugby Academy, has been a playing member of the MCC for the last 30 years and has recently been granted life membership.

John Church
John Church (Chair of the Finance Committee)

John has been a trustee since 2015 and is currently the Chair of the Investment Sub-Committee. He grew up in Lincoln before going on to read Modern Languages at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. After graduation, in 1974, he joined the Barclays Bank Group and went on to have a long and varied career, working both in the UK and internationally. In 2003 he took early retirement to join Pembroke College, Oxford as Bursar. For four years from 2013 he was also the Chair of the Collegiate University’s Estates Bursars’ Committee. He retired, for the second time, in 2018, but remains on the Pembroke Governing Body as an Advisory Fellow. He is the Chair of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Trust and a trustee of Dr Johnson’s House in London. He lives in South Oxfordshire but also has a home in France. His outside interests include watching rugby and playing tennis. He is proud to have earned college colours for tennis at both a Cambridge and an Oxford College, with a 30 year gap in between!

Cllr Lizzy Diggins (Chair of the Engagement Committee)

Lizzy was born in Hackney, London and moved to Oxford to commence her undergraduate studies in History in 2016. After graduating, she worked for Anneliese Dodds MP as Communications Officer and later  Parliamentary Assistant. She has been city councillor for Carfax and Jericho ward since 2021 and is training to be a history teacher here in Oxford. Lizzy has lived all over Oxford and takes a keen interest in both our city's history, and its future.

Emily Gee

Emily Gee has been the Director for Cathedral and Church Buildings since Easter 2023, helping people to care for historic church buildings at the heart of our communities. She joined the Church Commissioners from Historic England where she worked for 22 years, listing buildings and in roles such as Head of Listing, London Planning Director, and London and South East Regional Director. Emily has a degree in African-American Studies from Smith College in Massachusetts, a Masters of Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and a diploma in Building Conservation from the Architectural Association in London. Emily is a member of the English Heritage Blue Plaques Panel and will soon publish a book on purpose-built housing for Victorian and Edwardian working women.

Dame Helen Ghosh DCB (Vice-Chair of Trustees and Chair of the Green Spaces Committee)

Helen Ghosh has lived in Oxford for 45 years, since coming here as a student to read History at St Hugh’s College.  After University, she joined the civil service and later became Permanent Secretary at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and then at the Home Office.  In 2012 she left government to become Director General of the National Trust.  During her five years there, membership of the National Trust reached 5 million, visitor numbers grew dramatically and investment in conservation substantially increased.  Under her leadership, the Trust’s strategy focussed increasingly on the natural environment and biodiversity, and on attracting more diverse audiences.  Helen is currently Master of Balliol College, lives with her family in Grandpont, and has a deep love of the City and its surrounding countryside.

Dr Nick Leimu-Brown (Chair of the Sustainability Committee)

Nick is the Principal of Linacre College, a graduate college of the University of Oxford. He chairs the University's Buildings and Estates Committee and the colleges' Development Panel.  Nick came to Oxford first 35 years ago to study for a doctorate in plant ecology. He lectured in forestry and plant ecology for twenty years before becoming Principal of Linacre. He has research interests in ecosystem restoration and has worked around the globe with the United Nations Post Conflict and Disaster Management team repairing damaged landscapes. He is Science Adviser to the European Outdoor Conservation Association. Nick was one of the founding trustees who helped to establish Oxford's Hill End Outdoor Education Centre as an independent charity after the local authority decided that it could not longer maintain it. 

Julian Munby
Julian Munby BA, FSA

Former Head of Buildings Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology, where he worked from 1990 to 2020 on a wide range of historic buildings and environmental consultancy. He has produced a series of Conservation Plans for English Heritage, National Trust, and others. With an interest in medieval towns and buildings, he has worked extensively on buildings and property history in Oxford and its landscape, resulting in numerous publications. He has other interests in landscape, garden, and transport (coach) history and archaeology). JM is also Oxford Diocesan Archaeological Advisor, and is Chair of the Chichester Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee.

Philip Parker

Philip Parker MA Hons (Cantab); Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Philip has been Financial and Administrative Bursar at Brasenose College since 2010. He is also Chairman of the Wootton Conservation Trust and a director of a not-for-profit guest house in the Lake District. He served four years as Chair of the Oxford Colleges’ Estates Bursars Committee. Philip previously led the finance and administration functions for a range of charities, as Finance Director or as Treasurer, including Green Alliance, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and YWCA. Philip lives near Woodstock.

Cllr Susanna Pressel

Cllr Susanna Pressel has been a city councillor since 1996 and a county councillor since 2009, representing part of the city centre, Jericho and the Botley Road area. She studied French and German at Somerville College and enjoyed a long career as a teacher, mainly in Blackbird Leys.

She has been an active member of the OPT (and the Civic Society) since first becoming a councillor. She lives in the North Oxford conservation area for more than 40 years and have taken a close interest in the City Council's work on conservation.

City Councillor for Osney and St Thomas Ward and County Councillor for Jericho and Osney Division


Cllr Roz Smith

Roz has lived and worked in Oxfordshire for most of her life.  With a passion for protecting the environment she was first elected to the Vale of White Horse District Council in 1991, becoming Chair of the Environmental Committee in 1995 and then later the Audit Cabinet Member.  First elected to the County Council in 2005, she continues to represent the Headington & Quarry division with the City which includes two conservation areas, Old Headington and Quarry.  After taking early retirement from Oxford Brookes University, where she worked for the Sustainable Vehicle  Centre, Roz has dedicated more time to local community projects and organisations

Carole Souter CBE (Chair - Planning Committee)

Carole was Master of St Cross College from September 2016 September 2022.  She was Chief Executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund from 2003-2016, overseeing the distribution of £400m a year to projects making a lasting difference to people and heritage across the UK. She began her career in the Civil Service and has worked in the Departments of Health, Social Security and the Cabinet Office.

She has always been active in the charitable sector and as well as being a Trustee of OPT, is currently Interim Chair of Trustees of Historic Royal Palaces; a Trustee of the Horniman Museum, and the London Emergencies Trust and Chairs the Sulgrave Manor Trust. She is also a Lay Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. She is an Honorary Fellow of Jesus and St  Cross Colleges, Oxford, and was awarded the CBE in 2011 for services to conservation.

David Streat
David Streat

Self-employed Chartered Surveyor.

Attended school in Oxford and returned to live in the city. Has been a permanent resident of Oxford for the last 40 years.

Interested both professionally and personally in buildings, land and associated matters.

Joseph Tah

Joe Tah is Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment at Oxford Brookes University and Professor of Project Management. His responsibilities include leadership of the Faculty and is the cross-University lead on major projects (including estates, infrastructure and digital transformation) as a member of the Vice Chancellor's Group, the most senior leadership staff group responsible for leading the University. Prior to his current role, he was the Associate Dean for Strategy and Development of the Faculty having previously been the Founding Head of School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB) and a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).


Geoffrey Tyack
Dr Geoffrey Tyack

Fellow emeritus of Kellogg College and former Director of the Stanford University Centre, Oxford. He read history at St John’s College and has taught and lectured on architectural history for many years at OUDCE and elsewhere in the University and beyond. He has written several books, including Oxford: an Architectural Guide (OUP 1998) and, most recently The Making of out Urban Landscape (OUP, 2022) and The Historic Heart of Oxford (Bodleian Library Pubishing) . He has also published numerous articles on a wide variety of architectural topics. He lives in south Oxford (and has one of the city’s boundary stones in his back garden).

Cllr Louise Upton

Dr Louise Upton was born in Shropshire, coming to Oxford in late 1980s to read Biochemistry at New College.  She spent several years in Paris before returning to Oxford in 1998 as a research scientist at the University, and now also teaches neuroscience at Christ Church.   She has been a member of OPT since 2010 living in the Old Marston Conservation Area, She was elected as a City Councillor in 2013 and has chaired the West Area Planning Committee since 2015.

Professor Heather Viles
Professor Heather Viles (Chair of the Heritage Committee)

Professor of Biogeomorphology and Heritage Conservation  and Associate Head (Research) Social Sciences Division, University of Oxford. She is Co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering for the Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA). Her research focuses on the breakdown of rocks in the natural environment and within cultural heritage. Recent projects include working with Historic England on developing soft wall capping methods for conserving ruins as well as investigating whether ivy on walls is a good or bad thing. Her recent research has been funded by EPSRC, the Leverhulme Trust, NASA, the Getty Trust and English Heritage. She is currently Honorary Professor, Institute for Sustainable Heritage, University College London and President of the British Society for Geomorphology.

Vice Presidents

Malcolm Airs
Professor Malcolm Airs OBE

Emeritus Professor of Conservation and the Historic Environment, University of Oxford. He is past president of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society. He has served as a Commissioner of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and on the advisory committees of English Heritage, Historic England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the National Trust. He is a trustee of the Landmark Trust. He has published extensively on both historic conservation and architectural history.

John Ashdown
John Ashdown

John Ashdown MBE, Hon MA (Oxon), FSA IHBC with a diploma in Conservation of Historical Monuments.

Worked in a London architectural practice before transferring to the Greater London Council's Historic Buildings division in 1964.

Oxford City Council Conservation Officer 1972-2000. John has a deep knowledge of Oxford and became an OPT Trustee on his retirement in 2000 -14.

Edith Gollnast

Edith studied art and design at Banbury School of Art and architectural conservation at Bristol University. For 35 years she worked with historic buildings and areas at Oxford City Council, as Assistant Conservation Officer. Edith lives in Oxford, and continues freelance illustration. The Oxford Heritage Walks book series includes her immaculate line drawings

Dr Malcolm Graham

Malcolm came to Oxford in 1970 as the City’s first full-time local history librarian, taking the same role for the County. He was Head of Oxfordshire Studies with Oxfordshire County Council, and has published extensively on local history – his first On Foot in Oxford town trail appeared in 1973. He is the author of the Oxford Heritage Walks book series, published by OPT. Awarded a PhD by Leicester University for a study of the development of Oxford’s Victorian suburbs. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Tom Hassall

Tom Hassall OBE, MA, FSA, Hon. MCIfA.

Tom Hassall served as an elected OPT Trustee from 1973-2021. As a Trustee he was Chairman of both the Environmental Awards Panel and the Flood Alleviation Scheme Group. He was a member of the Castle Committee and lead Trustee for the Rewley Road Swing Bridge Restoration Project.

He directed the excavations on the site of the original Westgate Centre and in 1973 he was appointed the founding director of the Oxfordshire Archaeological Unit (now called Oxford Archaeology). From 1986 to 1999 he was the Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. He is now an archaeological consultant and an adviser to the International Council on Monuments and Sites, providing guidance to UNESCO on the management of World Heritage sites.

Nationally he served as President of both the Council for British Archaeology and the International Council on Monuments and Sites-UK (ICOMOS-UK). He was Chairman of the UK’s Advisory Committee on Historic Wreck Sites. Locally he was President of the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society and Chairman of both the Victoria History of Oxfordshire Trust and the Society of Antiquaries of London’s Kelmscott Manor Management Committee.

He is an Emeritus Fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford.   


Lucy Hughes
Lucy Hughes

Lucy has lived in Old Marston all her life, the daughter of the local farmer who looked after the OPT land.  Her mother was a member, then secretary of the local OPT Marston Commitree in the 1950s, something that Lucy followed on in 1980, later becoming an OPT Trustee.  She was elected Vice President in 2016.

Dr Ian Scargill
Dr Ian Scargill

Studied at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. Departmental Demonstrator in Geography, University of Oxford 1959-64 and University Lecturer in Geography in 1964- 2000. A Fellow of St Edmund Hall from 1962, he was made Emeritus Fellow in 2000.

The author of books and articles on France and Urban Geography. Outside of work he was an Oxford City Magistrate from 1977 to 2005, and is an Elder and Associate Church Secretary at the Summertown United Reformed Church. Chairman of Oxford Green Belt Network. Dr. Scargill lives in Summertown.