LEGENDARY Letchworth designer, Tom Karen, has passed away. Tom was 96, and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on New Year’s Eve 2022.
Tom was Managing Director of Letchworth’s OGLE Design from 1962 until 1999. In this time, he oversaw the some of the UK’s most iconic designs. Most famously, the Raleigh Chopper, Bond Bug and childrens’ favourite Marble Run.
Tom was born in Vienna in 1926, and settled in England in 1942. He was appointed OBE in the 2019 New Year Honours.
A retrospective of Tom’s career – Tom Karen Creations – was curated and is currently open at the Museum at One Garden City in Letchworth. The exhibition was curated by town historian, Josh Tidy, who said: “Tom was a true great. I had the pleasure of meeting him several times over the last year or so, putting together the exhibition which celebrates his life and work, and runs until April 15th, (we will have a condolence book in situ, which we’ll pass on to his family) I’m very pleased in retrospect that we were able to do the exhibition last year - timely as it turned out, and as we feared. I know Tom was thrilled with it which makes me happy, at this sad time.”
The team at the Heritage Foundation sends their deepest condolences to Tom’s family, and would like to offer their thanks for all of the support in mounting the exhibition. You can find more about the exhibition here.