Desmond Hampton who has died at the age of 74 was one of the leading rural practice Chartered Surveyors of his generation. He was educated at Winchester College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he graduated with a degree in Land Economy.
He joined Cluttons in London in 1962 before qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor and became an Equity Partner of the firm in 1968. He was Managing Partner of Cluttons from 1987 to 1990 and retired as a Partner in 2001 whereupon he became a Consultant. In 2007 the rural department of Cluttons merged with Smiths Gore and he spent the last seven years of his life very happily based in Smiths Gore’s London office in Old Bond Street. He often ruminated that the two firms should have merged earlier as they had such a similar history and had worked closely together with so many mutual clients.
Desmond was highly respected for his advisory work with many of the old institutional and charity landowners including the Church Commissioners for England, the Crown Estate Commissioners, many educational and medical charities most notably the Kings Fund and Guys and St Thomas’s Hospital and also the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster where he provided the independent valuations of their estates for many years.
Perhaps his most exciting work was with the new financial city based institutional landowners in the 1970’s and 1980’s when they started to invest in land. He had a strong following not only for his professional advice but for also his uncompromising but steadfast views. He regretted that these new institutions took such a short term view when they started to disinvest a short ten to fifteen years later. In later years he became a doyen for expert witness work on rural property valuation and gave evidence before Tribunals, Arbitrators, Courts more generally and indeed only a few weeks before his death in the High Court.
He was an accomplished member of the London Rowing Club, an enthusiastic and competitive ocean sailor and was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron. In later years when he had to give up rowing he became an enthusiastic member of the Serpentine Running Club. Desmond will be missed by his many friends in his personal and business life but especially by his family to whom he was utterly devoted. He was twice married and leaves two daughters and three grandchildren from his first marriage, a widow Sue and a third daughter from his second.